I’ve just submitted a review to TripAdvisor about our stay earlier this week at Ruth Watson’s Crown & Castle Hotel in Orford, Suffolk. I’ll add a link to the published review when it appears on their website.
Reading between the lines of earlier [TripAdvisor] reviews, a pretty high bar was set for our stay. We were keen to find out about the IKEA furnishings and the apparent idiosyncracies of the hotel’s well-known co-proprietor. What transpired, however, was that many thoughtful touches really set this establishment apart from its contemporaries, and in combination provide an exceptional ‘visitor experience’ that I’ve yet to encounter elsewhere.
Yes, the IKEA furniture was present in our rooms, but it was for entirely practical reasons. There’s nothing worse than staying in an upmarket hotel with tired or frayed-at-the-edges furniture. The Crown & Castle solves this perennial issue by furnishing with highly functional, well-designed IKEA furniture that can so easily (and inexpensively) replaced as often as may be required to maintain an excellent standard of room decoration and contemporary appeal.
I had booked one of the pet-friendly garden rooms, and my companion was in the main house with a lovely view of Orford Ness. My room had a delightful personal note written for my dog about hotel facilities with a note at the top that it should be passed to me “to read also”. Nearby was a towel, a bat and ball for garden games and a doggy bedcover to save the duvet from damp paws. Molly said that the complimentary hand-made dog biscuits were very tasty.
We had pre-booked table 30 for dinner which meant that Molly was able to join us for our evening meal. She was pampered and fussed over by staff and customers alike, and enjoyed sitting on a chair next to the table where (tut tut) she politely accepted the odd titbit from our delicious meals.
Next morning Molly had a lie-in whilst we enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast in the restaurant with tasty local Suffolk cure bacon, awesome marmalade and fabulous bread.
What really sets this hotel apart from others is the no-nonsense approach to providing hotel facilities or information for customers. Ruth Watson’s TV persona shone through just about everywhere!
Whether it was the down-to-earth menu (we both heartily recommend the diet-defying delightfully named “Sod it!” hot chocolate mousse, the best either of us had ever tasted) or the breakfast menu that declared that the fresh squeezed orange juice was fresh squeezed in the ‘as in whole oranges freshly squeezed in our kitchen this morning’ but that the grapefruit juice was ‘freshly squeezed in the supermarket sense’!
Everything about this hotel just shrieks: ‘we want you to have a great time and feel like a valued customer.
Nothing was too much trouble for the staff who were very competent and highly professional yet friendly and unstuffy. We took our leave with much regret and a firm intention to return again in the future.