people and places3 min read

All aboard for No.1 by GuestHouse, York: a look inside this stunning art-filled hotel

WordsMegan Lambert


York has seen travellers and traders come and go for thousands of years. From Roman settlers to Viking invaders, the famed York Castle was built by none other than William the Conqueror. It played a key role in the rich tapestry of England’s history, from a medieval trading hub—still visible as you wind your way along the narrow, cobbled streets of The Shambles​​—to a cornerstone of England’s railway network. But today, the York in which we lay our scene (and our heads), plays a more contemporary tune. Enter, No.1 by Guesthouse, York. We caught up with Martin, of Martin Hulbert Design, the man behind the interiors of York’s hottest ticket in town.

Filled with antiques, local paraphernalia, statement art, and curated gallery walls, Martin explains how the process of sourcing the artwork ended up being quite organic. “We often buy things and don’t know where they’re going to go,” he explains. “Otherwise it can feel contrived. This way it has soul and feels lived in. There’s a spontaneity to it”. The aim was to make it feel like a home and in that, Martin has succeeded. Behind that double-fronted Georgian facade, there’s a warm and welcoming retreat. It feels smaller than its 39 rooms⁠—guests chat over coffee or cocktails.

A yellow-based, neutral backdrop creates a feeling of friendliness, whilst allowing the art to do the talking. Eye-catching geometric works, commissioned by a local artist, are a contemporary take on the Medieval encaustic floor tiles in York Minster. Whilst in the bar, two steam train oil paintings (not to mention a miniature train set, which sets off on a course around the room every half hour) is yet another nod to the past and York’s rich history. If it's all too folksy it can end up feeling a bit pastiche”, Martin explains.