Yorkshire's Independent Restaurant Guide

Raithwaite Hall

The PR machine is beginning to bang the drum for Yorkshire’s next ‘exclusive’ luxury hotel, Raithwaite Hall at Sandsend. The former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan is ‘ambassador’ for the £30 million project. It’s calling itself a 5-star resort before any stars have been awarded but we know what they mean. No bargain breakaway weekends.

We’ve been watching the diggers trundling up the winding, private drive between Whitby and Sandsend for some time now. Sandsend for anyone who doesn’t know it is a charming little seaside resort, straight out of the 1950s. Buy your bucket and spade at the beach hut and eat your Marmite sandwiches behind a windbreak with views to Whitby Abbey. It’s the English seaside at its simplest and most delightful. No slot machines, no fish and chips, nothing but a long, sandy beach, a couple of cute tea rooms, a pub, a restaurant, an art gallery and a row of picture book cottages. And the real estate probably rivals Runswick Bay as the priciest on the Yorkshire coast.

Top of the heap is the Marquis of Normanby, the big landowner of these parts whose Mulgrave Castle is hidden away behind trees and fences, and let out on a long lease to the billionaire financier Arky Buson who comes up for the shooting. So perhaps a hotel that talks about country pursuits and boasts penthouse suites, fine dining, a spa, a pool and 80 acres of grounds is not so far off the mark.

That fine dining will of course be important to Raithwaite if it is going to get the five star rating they hope for and they’ve just announced the appointment of executive chef Darren Idden. He comes to little Sandsend from the glamorous Capella Hotel in Singapore and the luxurious Lough Eske Castle hotel in Donegal. He’s talking about ‘great local produce’ (don’t they all?) but at least his Irish menus bear out that promise.  The hotel opens in October, rather strangely as the seaside season closes. We’ll keep you posted.

And just in case the Raithwaite prices prove to be a little stiff we can still heartily recommend the beach hut cafe Sandside, Witz End café and the chic bistro deli/eatery