A TOP York hotel, which received one-star for food hygiene, has got its 5-stars back.

The Grays Court Hotel scored the ‘Major Improvement Necessary’ rating following a visit by City of York food hygiene inspectors on October 27.

The inspector's report from that month noted matters including risks of cross-contamination from incidents like a bag of raw beef fillet touching a bag of caviar in the fridge and a lack of handwashing between dirty and clean tasks.

There were also items like chilli jam past their use by date and a 2kg tub of hummus with no such date on.


Some utensils needed better cleaning and there were dirty fridge seals and touch points.

The report noted "a lack of staff awareness of food safety systems" with marking sheets not complete.

"The chef was not clear when asked what he was ticking for," it said. 

York Press: Helen Heraty

Grays Court owner Helen Heraty told the Press this was the first time in the hotel’s 15-year history  it had not gained 5-stars.

The hotelier said she felt ‘personally responsible’ for the rating, and she was ‘taken aback’ by it.

“We carried out a review and a comprehensive investigation.  Affirmative actions have been taken where necessary, with all our systems and procedures are firmly in place to ensure that we meet and maintain the highest standards,” she told the Press afterwards.

A re-visit was ordered, which took place on Thursday January 18.

The Food Standards Agency website now reports five-star ratings across the board, meaning ‘very good’. This top rating was given for the categories of hygienic food handling, cleanliness and condition of facilities and building, plus management of food safety.

A City of York Council report noted no contraventions were found during the latest visit.

York Press: The Grays Court Hotel

A summary said: “Previous report all attended to thank you.

Good standards seen in food safety, hygiene and management.”

Helen Heraty told the Press she was ‘very happy’ after the latest report, feeling “a spot of relief.”

“Everything was spot on, the kitchen, the paperwork. He (the inspector) was here for nearly two hours.”

Helen says some customers have raised the matter of the rating with her, but she has been able to reassure them.

“We are back. It’s good, it’s good,” she added.

Since opening in 2011, Grays Court has progressed to become one of York’s top hotels. Visit England made it the Best Small Hotel in 2020. The Bow Room Restaurant earned a Michelin Plate in 2021. Last month, it made the Harden’s Guide.

Based on 746 reviews, TripAdvisor gives the hotel 4.5 stars, ranking it tenth out of 52 York hotels. The review website awarded Grays Court a Travellers Choice Award for 2023.

The restaurant receives 5-stars from TripAdvisor, with it ranked 122nd out of 571 restaurants, based on 143 reviews. It also has a Travellers Choice Award for 2023.