Derwent House Apartments – Luxury By The Sea

Monday 18th Apr 2022 |

Scarborough is having a moment…

The term luxury means different things to different folk. It’s an inherently subjective concept, but I think we’re all comfortable recognising when something feels luxurious to us as individuals.

What do you picture when you see those endless adverts for ‘luxury breaks’ ‘luxury holidays’ and ‘luxury retreats’? Living in the UK, I imagine that some of us tend to crave pristine white sand beaches, turquoise sea and cocktails at sunset, I certainly do anyway…

Regardless, a visit to Scarborough certainly wouldn’t be top of my list when asked to envisage a luxury staycation. Well I’ve recently experienced one, and in all truthfulness it caused me to adjust my preconceptions and expectations of one of England’s most famous seaside resort towns. I paid a last-minute visit to Derwent House Apartments – a collection of five luxury apartments on Scarborough’s iconic South Cliff. The five-storey terraced building which houses these apartments is steeped in history, built during the long-forgotten but no less important golden age of coastal architecture.

Derwent House ApartmentsPreviously a privately owned hotel in need of more than a little TLC; it was given a last- minute reprieve by the current owners who have undertaken and completed a project that would probably render Grand Designs’ Kevin McCloud paralysed with fear and anxiety from the outset. I don’t want to use the term ‘sympathetically restored’ because let’s be honest that’s just flaky and conveys very little information in terms of end result. These apartments have been meticulously renovated, with the provenance and heritage of the building and local area respected throughout what I imagine was a ferociously expensive, pain-staking, arduous and unbelievably rewarding process.

The five apartments are individually named after local beauty spots along the course of the River Derwent and I was booked in to the Broxa, their first-floor two double bed apartment. The main attraction here is the generously proportioned open plan living/dining area. For me, the décor is seaside-chic (That’s definitely not a real thing but I’m sticking with it). There’s no tacky nautical trappings in sight though; think warm pebble-coloured walls and curtains, driftwood-esque parquet flooring and splashes of deep navy blue throughout the kitchen area. It’s elegant and contemporary without being gaudy or cold. I’m a big fan, and it’s a really nice place to be. The bedrooms are equally tasteful, warm and inviting. Plus there’s a sneaky outdoor terrace to enjoy a bit of sun too.

Derwent House ApartmentsI stay in quite a few different hotels and apartments and in doing so, tend to notice when somewhere has been designed thoughtfully. It’s about the little things that are easily overlooked – the premium pillows and bedsheets, artisanal reed diffusers and bath products, the fool-proof thermostat and the perfectly curated wine list catering for all palates and budgets. There’s no scrambling around looking behind bedside tables for plug sockets here; everything is accessible and intuitive. In my opinion it’s when all these little things add up at the rate that they seem to in Derwent House Apartments when ‘real’ luxury comes in to play.

It’s not the finishing touches that express the luxury on offer here, you can’t sprinkle white truffle flakes onto an ASDA cottage pie and call it a luxury dish. The luxury here is baked in to the design from bottom to top – literally. I imagine that it didn’t really make financial sense to have a traditional Victorian tile floor installed throughout the hallways, put in a lift shaft to make the apartments as accessible as possible to all guests, or have original pieces from local artists hanging in each apartment, but they did all that anyway.

If you book in, expect a warm welcome of local sweet treats and a cold bottle of champagne waiting for you, plus a locally-sourced breakfast hamper to start the next morning the right way. For some context, I’m a 32 year old guy and this is the kind of place I’d love to spend a romantic weekend away with my other half exploring the coast, or perhaps a small group of my friends who like to get together for long walks, decent food and even better wine. I spent a large proportion of my time in Scarborough simply enjoying the accommodation, but I did manage to venture out for a walk around the town and along South Bay Beach to Scarborough Castle.

Derwent House ApartmentsBritish seaside towns probably won’t ever have the draw of the Mediterranean as places to spend a week in the sun, but I for one believe that places like Scarborough are only going to grow in popularity for short breaks. I’d stop short of claiming that the town was becoming gentrified (it isn’t, and I don’t necessarily believe gentrification is a positive thing) but I left with the feeling that I wanted to return, and that this quirky and perhaps often misunderstood town had a lot more to offer than I could pack in to 24 hours.

I’ll be back sooner rather than later, and not purely because of that wine list…

Words by Tom Bradley


Derwent House Apartments, 15 Esplanade Gardens, Scarborough,
North Yorkshire,
YO11 2AW
For bookings:   Tel: 01723 372289