Open an unassuming wooden door in one of York’s smallest streets, and you cross the portal into an extraordinary world.
For this door leads you into Hocus Pocus, York’s first ‘tiny hotel’ – a place where every odd nook and curious cranny is filled with magic and stories.
What makes this all the more extraordinary is that until recently, the building housed… a sandwich shop.
YorkMix revealed in February that the former home of Krusties on Patrick Pool was being transformed into one of the city’s – and the country’s – most magical places to stay.
With five individually crafted, time-travelling rooms, each with its own enchanting story of history and mystery, it is a hotel like no other.
Hocus Pocus is about to welcome its first guests. Before they arrive tomorrow (Thursday), we were lucky enough to be given a tour. And the place is quite simply breathtaking.
Two people have created Hocus Pocus. Camelia Andrei, who used to run Krusties, is a Harry Potter superfan who created her own AirBnB room dedicated to the boy wizard.
She combined her expertise in the hotel industry with her love of all things magical, which comes from her original homeland, the Transylvania region of Romania.
Vincent Roberts is the man whose property developing expertise and love of history was first brought to bear co-creating another unique venue – the Valhalla Viking bar, next door to Hocus Pocus.
Camelia and Vincent, alongside a dedicated team of craftspeople, have been working night and day to bring a very complex construction project to its successful conclusion.
Along the way they have uncovered historic fireplaces and alcoves in the Grade II listed building, which dates back to the 1600s.
They’ve scoured reclamation yards, antiques shops and eBay to find historic fittings and fixtures for the hotel. Other items have been handcrafted for the project.
And so you have a place with ruined castles and railway carriages, spell books and chandeliers – as well as superb views over the medieval St Sampson’s Church and Tudor Pivni Bar.
“It’s a dream coming true because I always dreamed about something like this,” Camelia said.
“I don’t know of anywhere which is quite like this,” Vincent said. “All five suites are based on completely different concepts, all built around the black magic theme.”
Bookings for Hocus Pocus are already very strong. Most people who have booked are from the UK, but some are travelling far further…
“We have bookings now from the United States, from Canada, from Australia. We have bookings from Brazil – from all over the world,” Camelia said.
Principium Magicae – “It’s the start of our story. It’s like a ruined castle, with crumbling walls,” Camelia said. And all mod cons of course!
Itinerandum – This is like staying in a luxurious Victorian railway carriage, complete with double bed in one room, bunk beds in the other and a station waiting room in between. It was created from what was an “open backyard full of pigeons”…
Sorceryum – Where the Mother Witch would practise her spells, it comes complete with genuine Transylvanian broomsticks, books of spells an altar and moon water.
Libraryum – Book lovers and storytellers will adore this family room, adorned with books and complete with a newly uncovered and restored Tudor wall.
Apothecary – At the top of the hotel, amid the ancient rafters and potions, are beds and spaces on different levels, and surprises even in the floor. An extraordinary room with a view to match.