Have you visited the Council offices on Station Rise? Chance are you’ll have seen the imposing facade of the Grand and the person in the bowler hat greeting visitors. Or perhaps you have enjoyed an afternoon tea in the Rise restaurant, celebrated a special occasion at the Legacy or taken a cookery course at this five-star hotel.
The Grand has been welcoming visitors from all over the world since 2010. Olivia Odudu, Head of Marketing, says visitors give many reasons for coming to this city. “Our guests visit for its fascinating Viking history, picturesque river views, quaint streets such as the Shambles, and abundance of independent shops. York’s extensive food and beverage offering is also attracting more and more guests each year.”
Since 2022 there’s been a new attraction. The hotel began enabling staying guests to discover the joys of exploring the city on two wheels.
The Grand offers guests who are over 18 complimentary use of three cycles. This enables visitors to explore the city from a different perspective.
The hotel has a partnership with Velosophy Cycles. This is a Swedish bike and lifestyle brand (https://velosophy.cc/). The company supports schoolgirls in developing countries by donating a bicycle for every Velosophy bike sold. Olivia says giving a girl a bicycle can increase her presence in school by close to 30%. This helps break the cycle of poverty for that young person and improve her chances of having a brighter future.
The bikes are promoted by the Front of House and Concierge teams. Further because the Velosophy bikes are part of the corporate social responsibility policy guests can find out about them on the website and the bedroom TVs.
The Concierge team are able to provide maps and route suggestions. Helmets and bike locks are provided. The hotel can even collect guests who experience a mechanical failure.
Olivia says: “The hotel is committed to doing what it can to ensure a more sustainable future for generations to come. With this in mind, along with the focus on being an experiential hotel and showcasing the very best of York, offering complimentary cycle use was a natural fit.”
York was chosen for rolling out cycle use because it has been voted as one of the most bike-friendly cities in England. It offers also a range of cycle routes through the city and beyond. Olivia explains that because it is only three miles from the outer ring road to the centre getting around is fast and easy. Plus the off-road cycle paths and on-road cycle lanes offer safe access into and around the city.
Olivia says guests can go off the beaten track to areas in the city they may otherwise not see on a walking or bus tour. They can travel around safely at their own leisurely pace using cycle paths and designated lanes.
She says there are benefits for York residents too… The environmentally friendly cycles mean fewer cars on the road and less congestion.
There may be more cycle-based initiatives to come. Olivia says the hotel is “always looking for ways to increase our experiential offering to our guests, so it is likely we will expand our cycle programme in the future.” In the mean time look out for the smart branded cycles and perhaps ask the riders how they are enjoying their visit to this city.
York YO1 6GD