This time it was for our wedding anniversary and we pushed out several incredibly leaky boats to book ourselves a couple of nights in the super glamorous Hintlesham Hall in Suffolk. Our kitchen and bathroom have been building sites for months, so we felt we deserved a touch of luxury!
The Hall is very old, having been entirely rebuilt in the 1570s and with a current facade dating to the 18th Century. It is, like many English stately homes, a mish mash of rebuilding and add ons over the centuries. I was there, however, not for a history lesson, but in it’s capacity as fancy pants hotel and restaurant. A function it has been fulfilling since 1972, when according to an old framed advert on the wall you could buy lunch for around £2.
I can promise you that lunch at Hintlesham Hall will set you back considerably more than £2 these days (what doesn’t?) but it certainly earns it’s money.
The fear in posh hotels is that the staff will instantly mark you out as a dirty commoner who doesn’t know why on earth you need a special knife to eat fish and look upon you with disdain if you order red wine with chicken. At Hintlesham Hall nothing could be further from the truth. For the entire visit I couldn’t get visions of Downton Abbey out of my head as the staff were attentive, but unobtrusive, and did things like carry your drinks through from the bar to the restaurant for you on a little tray, offer you coffee by the fire in the lounge, and bring you a marzipan anniversary card and petit fours when they found out it was your anniversary.
It was pure luxury, and if you don’t put the Do Not Disturb sign on the door you’ll return to your room after dinner to find the curtains drawn, decorative cushions removed from the bed, bins emptied, towels folded and dirty coffee cups removed so the room is nice and fresh, you don’t get that at a Premier Inn. Our room was a special rate that included a guaranteed upgrade, so I can’t speak for the regular rooms, but ours was gorgeous. Huge soft bed, heavy curtains, a sofa, dining table, and lots of cupboards so you don’t have to sit and look at your luggage for 2 days.
The Hall is located just outside Ipswich, and there’s lots of lovely villages in the area. However, for the full “pretending you’re a guest at Downton Abbey” experience I recommend spending the morning wandering the grounds and admiring the herb garden and maybe the afternoon in front of the fire with a book in the lounge. Like it’s your house.
We skipped the book by the fire option in favour of going for a run and then spending the afternoon lounging in our rooms sunken bath and rain shower. We ran down to a little church at Chattisham, about 2.5 miles away, where we stopped and had a look around.
Whilst “rehydrating” with a pint of beer in a pub on the way back, we noticed a picture on the wall of the Red Cross nurses outside the hall during the second world war.
In fact, this room “The Long Gallery, where I chose to prance about for a few pre dinner photos, was a hospital ward in WWII.
❤ Dress – Stop Staring ❤ Shoes – Stylist Pick ❤ Clutch – Vintage ❤
My outfit for dinner on our anniversary didn’t work out as planned, but I had my trusty Stop Staring Raileen dress with me, so I ended up in that again, at least it’s nice and stretchy so I didn’t have to worry about a 3 course dinner with canapes and petit fours busting me out of my frock!
Sadly today I am back to reality where I have to carry my own coffee from room to room and draw my own curtains for the evening. But I did enjoy spending 2 days pretending I might be a guest of Lord & Lady Grantham.