There is much to like about Beck Hall. The building has charm and character and the setting next to Malham Beck is positively idyllic - even in March! In the Summer it must be even better - though somewhat busier too I'd guess. The car park is about 30 metres or so up the road though there is a 'drop off' area closer but whichever of these you use you'll approach Beck Hall over a relatively narrow footbridge. This does have a handrail though and is permanently lit at night so unless you've gone very OTT on the beer whilst out you should be OK! The guest lounge is a superb wood-panelled room which had a nice open fire burning each night and also a very reasonably priced 'honesty bar'. The cooked breakfast is one of the best we've ever had for quality. The sausages and bacon in particular were so flavoursome and so well cooked.
So "Why not 5 stars?" I hear you say.
Well firstly the 2 rooms which we occupied (one very briefly) were a bit on the small side. They'd be perfectly fine for a week-end break but if, like us, you were staying a bit longer there wasn't a lot of room to stow your clothes and luggage and absolutely nowhere to put wet or muddy gear (which in the Dales you are likely to have). I'm sure some of the other rooms are bigger than those we saw so might be worth asking if that matters to you.
The other minor bugbear was the service at breakfast. Ironically we had the best service on the busiest day (Sunday morning) as presumably they were geared up for it but on other occasions we found that we had to go and ask for a top up of coffee because no-one was keeping an eye out even though there was often only us and another couple present. On one morning we were offered a mug of coffee instead of a cup and this worked much better though having the pot available for self top-ups would be best of all.
I hesitate whether to mention this last point because so much of this is personal preference but I didn't find the staff especially engaging. They certainly weren't unfriendly but rather somewhat neutral. Given that we were there for 6 days there was never a 'what did you do yesterday?' or 'what have you got planned for today?' etc. Now some people would be quite happy to be left alone but when we're in an area we don't know that well a bit of local knowledge is more than welcome.
Anyway the above are all very minor points and I would certainly recommend Beck Hall as an excellent base for exploring this lovely area (and indeed already have to friends and family).
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