Why this Italian couple decided to turn a Victorian police station into a hotel

When Daniel Curro and his partner visited York for the first time nearly a decade ago they loved it so much they decided to stay.

The Italian couple had been living in London for three months but quickly decided to build a new life for themselves in the historic city.

Mr Curro, a chef who moved from Rome to England after meeting and falling in love with Moreno Carbone, only spoke a few words of English.

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He not only had to bring himself up to speed with the language but also the Yorkshire accent and a completely different culture to the one he’d left behind in Italy.

Daniel Curro (right) with his partner, Moreno Carbone outside The Vices Archive in York. Photo: Olivia Brabbs Photography

Eight years on and the couple are currently in the middle of their most exciting adventure to date: a multi-million pound project to turn a former Victorian police station in Fulford into a boutique hotel, restaurant and wine store.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Mr Curro said: “I was a chef in a restaurant in York and I realised that, although it was a big passion of mine, I didn’t have enough of a relationship with the customer.”

He added: “Wine was a big part of my life. I was always drinking good wine and collecting wine. After I did a few courses to become a sommelier, I decided that that was going to be the main job for me.”

When the former police station, latterly a guest house, came up for sale in 2018, he and Mr Carbone, a property developer, decided to buy and convert it to realise their dream.

Daniel Curro, founder of The Vices Archive in York. Photo: Olivia Brabbs Photography

The wine store - The Vices Archive - opened in September last year. They expect to launch The Vices Hotel, with three suites, a restaurant and bar, in the second half of this year after a series of Covid-related delays pushed back the completion date.

The store offers a collection of over 100 Italian wines, including limited editions that are otherwise hard to source in the UK.

The biggest selling points of the store are its personal and corporate wine tasting experiences, which aren’t possible at the moment. Instead, the entrepreneurs are investing in marketing the business through video and social media to reach a wider customer base for its online shop.

Mr Curro said: “It was not the best time to open but we wanted to give people an idea of what’s to come and what The Vices hotel is going to be about. We wanted to give something good at a time when it’s been quite challenging for everyone. We are adapting and changing in this ongoing situation.”

Stairs at The Vices in York. Photo: Olivia Brabbs Photography

The business buys its Italian wine through importers and is currently working its way through new Brexit-related red tape.

“We know that we are going to have something to deal with, but hopefully not an increase in prices,” Mr Curro said.

The hotel renovation was put back after work had to stop last year. It also suffered due to a shortage of materials.

The end is almost in sight with skimming and plastering work currently taking place. However, it’s the level of attention to detail which elevates this ambitious project.

Daniel Curro, founder of The Vices Archive in York. Photo: Olivia Brabbs Photography

No expense is spared with materials, including wood, ceramic and marble, all imported from Italy.

“The finishing touches are where the customers are going to really see the attention to detail that went into the renovation,” Mr Curro said.

“We want to bring the Italian way of living to the shop, the hotel and the restaurant. We have a phrase in Italy called ‘la bella vita’, meaning the good life. It means you take things slowly and enjoy only the good things.”

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Exterior window at The Vices in York. Photo: Olivia Brabbs Photography

Thank you

James Mitchinson