The Grand, York: Cheers to our Busiest Festive Season Yet!
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The Grand, York: Cheers to our Busiest Festive Season Yet!

The bumper trade comes as other hoteliers also report ‘huge success’ over the holidays, with regular attractions and festivals set to keep occupancy high.

The Grand, York, told The Press the festive season had been its best ever.

A spokesperson said: “It was a record December and a record New Year’s Eve!”

In the six weeks leading up to January, it welcomed more than 16,000 guests, who enjoyed its 35 Christmas Trees, 26,500 baubles and over half a mile of garland.

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They also enjoyed 18,000 glasses of mulled wine and 1,000 festive cocktails, with the Grand’s iconic Champagne Snowball being the favourite.

New Year’s Eve was also a ‘roaring success’, with guests able to enjoy the sounds of bagpipes throughout the hotel to bring in the New Year, the spokesperson said.

And already York’s only five-star hotel has begun planning for next Yuletide.

Simon Mahon, general manager, said: At the Grand we are ecstatic to have welcomed so many lovely guests during Christmas and New year. Overall, it was our busiest month ever.

“The hotel was alive with energy and Christmas spirit throughout December, not only with overnight hotel guests but a large number of diners in both our restaurants and for our special Christmas afternoon tea, as well as cocktail enthusiasts coming in for the now infamous Champagne Snowball.

“Also, huge congratulations to the three wonderful couples who tied the knot here over Christmas – and the further four proposals! With such an amazing reaction to The Grand Christmas, we look forward to welcoming guests and visitors to the Grand for Christmas 2024.”

John Wallace, general manger of the Churchill Hotel, reported a ‘great’ Christmas.

“The Christmas Markets were a huge draw for the city and benefited our business hugely. For the period that the markets were on we achieved just over 99 per cent occupancy.

“2022 was also very busy over the same period but we managed to increase our revenue by five per cent, admittedly not keeping pace with inflation but a figure that we’re very happy with amidst the economic woes that faced the country in 2023,” he said.

John says it is early days to predict 2024, and he fears the national media’s ‘sensationalist’ coverage of the recent floods won’t help.

“The flooding will naturally have been traumatic for those directly affected and I feel very sorry for them but the impression given in the news was that the whole city was underwater whereas almost all of York was very much open for business,” he added.

Chris Bateson, operations director of Tokyo Industries, who own the Impossible Motel, which opened in St Helen’s Square in December 2022, says trade at the motel was ‘great’ over Christmas and New Year with “pretty much 100 per cent occupancy.”

Business has now slowed down, as expected, “although January sales this year are stronger than last year,” he added.

Helen Heraty, owner of the Grays Court Hotel says December was “a busy month” and January and February “are on track to meet normal predictions”.

York BID has yet to publish its figures for Christmas 2023, but in the third quarter of 2023, hotel occupancy was 4.3 per cent up on the same period in 2022. September 2023 had an occupancy rate of 91 per cent compared with 84 per cent the year before, the business group reports.

The Hospitality Association York confirms December was a ‘huge success’ across the city’s hotels and accommodation providers, with many reporting occupancy levels above pre pandemic and an increase in average rates.

Chairman Adam Wardale told The Press: “The popularity and good reputation of York Christmas Markets is certainly a major factor in supporting the hospitality industry.

“The new market layout seems to have been taken positively by visitors and with Thor’s moving to Museum Gardens the spread of people was better, although certainly some very busy days on Parliament Street. December is always a key time for smaller businesses in particular to build reserves to see them through the quieter period of January/February.”

He added: “The positive end to the year leads us to think positively about the year ahead and certainly early figures of occupancy levels and pace show that Spring and Summer will show positive uplift.

“There are lots of upcoming events to look forward to kicking off the New Year with the Residents’ Festival, Ice Trail and the new Snook Trail are some of those that will assist business levels across the city.”