If you want to be in a good hotel, right within walking distance of every major attraction in York, then Dean Court would be near the top of your list. And if you want the added bonus of friendly staff, good sized family rooms and convenient valet parking then it's hard to think of anywhere better than it for a stay in the city. The hotel is directly opposite the main entrance to York Minster, and right on Petergate, the route into the centre of the old city. The building isn't quite as old as much of York (only around 1865) but it's quite impressive nonetheless and occupies a commanding corner spot. Inside it's actually very new and modern but not without character.
The big impression that the hotel made on us was the friendliness of the staff. They really were exceptional and made for a very pleasant stay with our three children. We certainly felt valued as customers & guests. This was especially true on our first night when we arrived exhausted and late after a journey that had taken four hours instead of two due to accidents on the M62. What we needed was a warm welcome, help getting everything to our room and a quiet meal with our hungry family, and this was exactly what we got.
The hotel does have some proper family rooms, as opposed to big rooms with a few extra fold-up beds. We had (what we think) is the biggest of these which has a king size double, a separate room for the children with a single and bunk beds, and a decent sized bathroom. It didn't have a view of the minster but we were happy with it. There were two (!) TVs in the children's room and a playstation could be rented although we didn't on this occasion. There was also a chalkboard for drawing on which filled most of one wall. The cleaning staff took the trouble to put the children's teddies neatly waiting in their beds when we got back on our second day which was a nice touch.
There are two options for dining in – The Court, or the D.C.H. Restaurant. The Court is a cafe/bar area and has a limited choice of snacks and a couple of options for large meals. D.C.H. Is the main restaurant and has a wonderful view across to the Minster opposite. There is a children's menu which was quite good. If you book a dinner B&B rate you get £25 towards the cost of a meal in either Court or D.C.H. for the adults but be aware that it doesn't include the children's meals. Also, in D.C.H. you'll probably want to order some side dishes with the main meal.
Cars are pointless for getting around in York so if that's how you're getting to the hotel, make use of the valet parking which means you can stop right by the front door, unload and then have your car driven to a secure parking place a short distance away. It costs £18.50 a night but it's well worth it. You can get a £5 discount on this if you book direct with the hotel (i.e. not through a travel website).
Why not a 5/5? Well, comparing this to the one place we have stayed that we gave a 5/5 to (Brooklands in Penrith which is exceptional) the room wasn't quite as well maintained or decorated even though it was clean, and it wasn't that warm. There's also the fact that although you can book a dinner B&B rate, it doesn't actually include the children's dinner. But we'd give it a 4.5/5 if we could. We enjoyed our stay and are already thinking about when we can go back. less