It’s two years this spring since Jamie Oliver came to Holdsworth House and cooked his amazing lamb shank dish right here on the steps to our Gazebo.
2013: HOLDSWORTH HOUSE MAKES IT INTO THE MICHELIN GUIDE
Halifax’s top hotel is now the only property from the area to make it into the prestigious 2013 Michelin Guide, which lists the top 1700 hotels and restaurants in the UK. Independently assessed by Michelin inspectors, appearance in the guide is by invitation only following recommendations to Michelin by previous guests.
Operations Manager at the hotel said Phil Lockwood said: ‘To be recommended by Michelin is a real achievement for any hotel, so we’re thrilled the hard work of our chef, restaurant team and hotel staff has been recognised and we’re excited to tell the brides and grooms whose weddings we’re hosting in 2013.’
This prestigious award, which places Holdsworth House in the top-performing 10% of all businesses worldwide on TripAdvisor, is given to businesses that consistently earn high ratings from TripAdvisor travellers.
Holdsworth House was shortlisted for the Small Hotel category in the 2012 Welcome to Yorkshire White Rose Awards. These are the top annual awards for the region.
Gail Moss at the hotel said, “We’re absolutely thrilled to be in the final for these prestigious awards. The team works so hard to achieve the high standards of customer service and also help grow the hotel’s reputation across Yorkshire and beyond.”
The staff at the hotel were recently presented with a commemorative thank you gift from the hotel’s owners in appreciation of their efforts in helping achieve four stars in the 50th year of private ownership.
HOLDSWORTH HOUSE GAINS FOUR STARS
Halifax can now officially boast its first four star hotel after an AA inspector stayed unannounced at Holdsworth House Hotel & Restaurant.
Front of House Manager Kay Heliwell said: ‘We’re absolutely thrilled. The core team of thirty-plus team had already won the top AA merit score of any 3 star hotel in West Yorkshire so there wasn’t really much room for manoeuvre. We will continue to offer exceptional value and feel the four star rating finally reflects the outstanding customer service, professionalism and quality.’
Our historic Jacobean property becomes the only official AA inspected four-star hotel in the area. The hotel’s new 75% AA merit score (a measure that judges hotels within each star rating category) puts Holdsworth House up with the best in the country.
Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire tourism agency, added: “This is fantastic news and testament to the dedication of the team at Holdsworth House. They have worked hard to keep on raising the bar and secured some much deserved national recognition.”
Halifax hotel Holdsworth House was thrilled when TV superchef Jamie Oliver’s visited to film for his book and Channel 4 series ‘Jamie’s Great Britain’. Culinary King Jamie spent five nights at West Yorkshire’s leading hotel in 2011 and happily the sun shone all week long, showing Yorkshire at its beautiful best. Jamie Oliver and his 22 strong crew chose the Bronte Country hotel as the backdrop for filming some of his northern dishes. He is picture here with Gail Moss, co-owner of the hotel.
Using a number of areas, including the hotel’s historical Gazebo steps in the Parterre Garden, plus the family Wainstalls home of Holdsworth House co-owner Kim Wynn (Gail’s sister), Jamie cooked up mouth-watering dishes of Yorkshire Puddings, lamb shank, and Eccles cakes. With the Bronte Country backdrop, Jamie certainly did the region proud.
IT may be almost half a century since the Fab Four checked in at a Calderdale country house hotel but the event remains just as memorable today as back then.
Between 1963 and 1965, The Beatles undertook six amazing UK tours and along the way met many fans whose memories of these encounters tell the real story of what actually happened when John, Paul, George and Ringo hit the road. It was as loud, chaotic and as exciting as anything Britain had ever seen. It was Beatlemania.
Among the fans was Gail Moss, who along with sister Kim Wynn, owns Holdsworth House. The day the Beatles came to stay is an occasion that Gail and Kim will never forget. The beautiful old house at Holmfield on the outskirts of Halifax was owned in the ’60s by the girls’ late parents Freddie and Rita Pearson and was formerly known as The Cavalier Country Club. The Pearsons’ good family friend just happened to be Stanley Corbett, the Beatles’ road manager.
“They had been playing at the Gaumont Theatre in Bradford and they needed a place to stay,” recalls Gail, who was 14 at the time – and very much a fan. “My father told me a couple of days before they arrived that they were coming and I think it was probably the hardest secret I have ever had to keep. I didn’t tell anyone though, not a soul and I remember when it had all happened and I went back to school, hardly anyone was talking to me,” she laughs.
The night in question was Friday, October 9, 1964 – John Lennon’s 24th birthday – and Gail recalls how it was around 11pm when the four Liverpool lads arrived after a bit of a diversion and the help of a police escort to keep their destination a secret – a plan that worked.
The original restaurant bill reveals that they tucked into prawn cocktail, melon, smoked trout and turtle soup, followed by steaks and duckling. Including the chauffeur’s dinner, the entire bill came to £17 6s (£17.30) – more than a week’s wages at the time. The bar bill, including whiskies, stouts and pints of Whitbread, came to £2 15s (£2.75) but it was only Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr who unwound in the bar until 1am – John Lennon had a toothache and went to bed early.
Because the business was just a country club and not a hotel, the Pearsons had to find beds for their visitors. “They actually ended up using ours. Can you imagine that?” says Gail. “John and Ringo slept in what was mine and my sister’s room (room 20, now an office) and Paul and George slept in my parents’ bedroom. They borrowed twin beds especially. “I remember we had set up for them to have breakfast the following morning and they didn’t come down. I was walking up and down the corridor waiting. Eventually my mother grabbed me by the hand, knocked on the bedroom door where Paul and George were sleeping and thrust me inside. ‘My daughter has been waiting all morning to see you’ she said and left me there. I don’t know how she dared.”
Gail adds that George offered her a cigarette “which I refused” and asked if the old house was haunted. We’d been to Ibiza on holiday and I was chatting to Paul about that.
Kim, just eight at the time, admits the visit was “a little over my head”. “I was very shy and remember not wanting to meet them so I hid in the ladies’ cloakroom under a dressing table. All of a sudden this hand came through the curtains, a hand with rings on practically every finger. It was Ringo and he just said ‘come out and meet the lads’.”
The girls had their photos taken each sitting on McCartney’s knee. “Kim’s came out but unfortunately mine didn’t,” says Gail.
Because it had been Lennon’s birthday the girls gave him a Cavalier Country Club tie. “I don’t know if he ever wore it but he did remember the visit because he sent us a copy of his book In His Own Write.
Once news of the visit became public, the Pearson family was inundated with requests for souvenirs. “We still have the brass bedsteads which were on the beds they slept in and at one time the little gold knobs on the top used to disappear from time to time,” says Gail.
“Guests at Holdsworth House today are still intrigued by the visit. We’ve had lots of famous people and celebrities stay with us over the years but The Beatles – well they were huge weren’t they?”