A little taste of luxury
- Credit: IAN BURT
Norfolk has a marvellous reputation for stylish accommodation with an irresistible selection of places to head off to for a night or two away in luxury and seclusion. Some are long-established while others have reinvented themselves with a high-quality refurbishment to offer a higher level of accommodation. One of the most impressive makeovers has been carried out at The Pheasant Hotel at Kelling, which has been upgraded from a two-star to a four-star hotel with all the rooms modernised, the creation of comfortable bars and lounges and a restaurant and dining experience matched with an innovative menu.
The catalyst for the transformation was the acquisition of The Pheasant by the 1,700-acre Kelling Estate in December. It closed on January 2 and underwent a complete upgrade, reopening with a modern new look in mid-February. The Coast Road hotel has 30 rooms, with 24 on the ground floor and six upper deluxe rooms with names from the locality: Morston, Cley, Salthouse, Weybourne, Kelling and The Pheasant Suite.
Deputy manager Clare Wilson says: “The ethos of our hotel is to give people the best possible experience, whether they are staying with us or just calling in for lunch, afternoon tea or dinner. We were a two-star establishment and are delighted to have now been awarded four-star status.”
That upgrade has reached into the kitchens and dining, with extra chefs recruited under ambitious young head chef Andy Robinson.
“We use local produce as much as possible and local suppliers – the lamb and game, for example, come from the Kelling Estate – we have a choice of fresh fish and seafood,” adds Clare.
Expect to see Cromer crab and Norfolk asparagus featuring strongly when in season, and Norfolk cheeses on a menu of classic dishes.
And if you arrive early, make sure you enjoy that most English of pleasures and take traditional afternoon tea; sandwiches, scones, jams and clotted cream along with tantalising cakes and a traditional cup of tea are an experience to savour in the peaceful garden at The Pheasant . . . a real Norfolk treat.
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Refresh and relax Meanwhile, in the west of the county, one of Norfolk’s most luxurious retreats, Congham Hall Hotel and Spa, has undergone a year-long refurbishment with many of the rooms upgraded and the communal areas given a refreshing make-over, including the remodelling of the restaurant and the addition of a new bar.
First converted into a country house hotel in 1982, the Georgian manor was taken over by Nicholas Dickinson in March, 2012, and has since undergone a new look, underpinning a theme of classic meets contemporary in the beautiful country house hotel.
Major improvements have been made to the Secret Garden Spa with a £1.5 million investment that has included four treatment rooms, new equipment and the creation of a relaxation area. The spa, where facilities include a 12-metre swimming pool and a thermal suite, has recently announced its partnership with specialist product brand Elemental Herbology with a new menu of treatments, as well as launching day packages for non-residents.
Set in 30 acres of parkland six miles east of King’s Lynn, Congham Hall has 26 rooms including one suite and 11 garden rooms with private terraces. There is also a croquet lawn, putting green, tennis courts, orchard and a famous herb garden.
In Old Hunstanton, The Lodge is an establishment which blends the traditional with the contemporary to great effect, describing itself simply as a Norfolk pub with rooms, bar and restaurant.
Set a mere 500 yards from the beach and coastal walks, it has excellent dining with a sumptuous range of food and a specials blackboard – with an emphasis on fresh fish and locally-sourced produce – plus some great homely classic puddings. The bar is well stocked with wines, real ales, lagers and ciders plus a malt whisky selection.
And then there are the 16 rooms, all recently refurbished, with The Loft and The Attic offering sea views while the Courtyard rooms with names such as the Bottle Store and the Coal Bunker ooze individuality. All have been designed to complement their surroundings and sense of place in the setting of Old Hunstanton.
The Lodge, Congham Hall and The Pheasant Hotel are three gems, each with a new look, among the treasures of Norfolk’s varied hotel accommodation.