History of the Hotel

The Craiglands

A trip down memory lane...

Hotel • Spa • Hydrotherapy

“The pure, clear and sparkling liquid that gushes from Ilkley Hills is not less exhilarating and is much more wholesome, than manufactured champagne…” Capt. J.K. Lukis, ‘Common Sense of the Water Cure’, 1857.


A Discovery

Hydropathy was discovered by a Silesian peasant called Priessnitz who believed that by immersing the body in cold water or applying wet compresses to affected parts of the body, “morbid matters” were driven out.

It was believed that the colder the water the greater the effect.

The Craiglands

Built in 1859

The Craiglands was built in 1859 and was one of the largest and most finely situated purpose-built hydropathic establishments in the country. The first proprietors were the Dobson Brothers, one of the brothers being Dr Henry Dobson, a physician, who supervised all the treatments, offered to patients.

These included mustard pads, massage, and all the latest Turkish, Russian and Electro-Chemical baths. The systems, coupled with the “tonic” air from the moors had the effect of enhancing the popularity of this splendid hydro.

Over the Years

Changing times

The beautiful grounds were laid out with special attention to the requirements of invalids during the summer season and included croquet, lawn tennis and a bowling alley. There was also a large recreational hall for indoor sports, public concerts and theatrical performances.

Towards the end of the century the popularity of the hydro’s began to wane and after the First World War the emphasis turned more towards Ilkley as a holiday resort.

A hotel with History


One recent visitor recalled her visit to the hotel as a child during the Second World War and described her delight at being offered a fresh orange. She also noted that at that time the Craiglands still boasted a Turkish Bath.

Today the complete package of guest care continues and everyone can still enjoy the six acres of beautiful grounds, breathtaking views and excellent food and service.

A Memorable Stay

At The Craiglands Hotel

A beautiful hotel steeped in history that continues to surprise and delight guests almost 200 years later! Back in 1859, The Craiglands Hotel was built at the peak of the hydrotherapy movement, when waters from the streams were widely considered to have healing properties. Today, the hotel continues in that tradition recapturing its days as a place for wellbeing with a spa and fitness centre that offers five treatment rooms, a hydro pool, mud chamber, sauna and steam room, as well as a 25-piece gym. The Craiglands Hotel is still a place to visit for health, happiness and rejuvenation.