Thursday, 8 November 2012

Mum's gone to Kesgrave Hall, Suffolk


As I tore off the slip of paper from the pad on which we had written our food order, this message was revealed underneath: 'Help I'm stuck in a paper factory!'

Some wag having their meal at Kesgrave Hall on a previous occasion had written it on the pad hoping it would make someone laugh. It did. It was such a silly note but, oddly enough, it was very much in keeping with this hotel and its relaxed, informal but top quality restaurant.

We had chosen Kesgrave Hall, part of the Milsom group, mainly because it was a country house hotel which had the ever-elusive interconnecting rooms. We hadn't anticipated how superb the restaurant would be: a warm, friendly room with a show kitchen (the 'Engine Room' where you could watch the Head Chef manning the pass) and the novel idea of leaving diners with the menus, paper and a pencil, to write down their own order in their own time. What a great idea. No stress levels rising as you wait for someone to take your order; just appoint someone on the table 'chief scribbler' and have a race against the huge table of 12 who have just sat down: must get the slip in before they do.

I made sure Dougie didn't do the writing. All you have heard about doctors and their handwriting is completely true. Lord knows what we'd have ended up with if I'd left it to him. I took charge, made sure it was correct then handed the slip to son, Rory, who was the appointed runner. I was chastised by him one night for forgetting to write down our table number and neglecting to say how we wanted the steaks cooked,  but otherwise it worked like a dream.

And the food? Heavenly. Using fresh local ingredients the chefs created dishes such as scallops with bok choi, mango salsa and sweet potato; cauliflower and cumin risotto with red onion bhaji; beer-battered haddock with chunky chips. We had booked an all-inclusive room rate which included a three-course dinner so had to make room for pudding. I think my favourite of the week was strawberry arctic roll, elderflower and hibiscus jelly with toasted oat crumb: tiny wagon wheels of ice-cream taking me back to my favourite pud from the 1970s.

Our connecting rooms were just outside the main building, in the courtyard, and were huge. With the door open in between the two rooms you could run from one end to the other and build up a sweat. Both rooms had large squashy sofas at the foot of the bed, decent TVs with inbuilt DVD players, free Wi-Fi, cafetiere coffee available and the warmest, toastiest bathrooms, complete with underfloor heating. Only one thing I could have happily done without: a clock radio which noisily woke us with a loud beeping at silly o'clock in the morning. Cue much leaping out of bed and jabbing of buttons until we could turn the blasted thing off. We pulled the plug on it for the rest of our stay.

Breakfast the next morning was again relaxed yet attentive. Continental fare to start and then cooked breakfast to order including Lane Farm sausages which I may have to source and buy in bulk as they were so delicious. Before heading out for the day there was a chance to sit in the bright, airy lounge and read the papers. It's a wonder we actually did any sightseeing at all on this trip.

This was one of the best hotels we have stayed in and I would happily recommend it to other families. Children are made very welcome in the restaurant: there's a children's menu and, rather than colouring pencils, a loan of an etch-a-sketch is provided. How cool is that! Come in the summer and kids can run about on the lawn in front of the hotel, while parents can keep an eye on them from the outside patio area.

This was an upmarket hotel with a down-to-earth style. We absolutely loved it.

Kesgrave Hall, Ipswich, Suffolk


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13 comments:

  1. Sounds and looks really lovely! I love that the paper factory message was found by you! I can imagine someone else just chucking it out and not finding it funny at all! :)

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    1. It was one of those occasions where, for a second, you can't quite work out what it means....and then you just laugh. You're right, perfect for me. I bet the person who wrote the note had no idea it would end up on the internet!

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  2. Scallops with bok choy? That is a little slice of heaven. I also love how they have introduced some comfortable modernity in the furnishings which is always unexpected in an old house and really cool. Love how that bath is on a wooden thingy (sorry for the technical terms)

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    1. I too loved the wooden thingy. We have just ordered our new bathroom and I wished I'd visited here first as now wishing we had gone for something like this.

      Have made note of the spelling of bok choy. Hotel menu was incorrect, tut tut.

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  3. Kesgrave Hall surely is an awesome place to go. And one thing, The hotel menu sounds delicious. I always want to go there with my family. Well, maybe. I hope so. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Sounds like a fab hotel, with mouth-watering food! AND zebra print on the sofa (it is not only leopard print that I like...), my kind of place definitely! xx

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    1. Rory loved his zebra print sofa - he thought it was a very cool hotel. I can see you and your hubby here - the seats in the dining room and lounge were funky too.

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  5. Is it just an optical illusion or is there are bloody great big step to get into the hotel entrance in the bottom middle photo?

    (PS : looking forward to reading about your adventures out and about in Suffolk in due course).

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    1. Just the angle of the photo from the side. The proper steps up to the entrance are at the front which you can't see here.

      Yes, watch this space for the next installment. We had a great time.

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  6. The hotel and the restaurant sound wonderful, but the etch-a-sketch? a stroke of genius. I would have asked for one myself.
    I didn't know you were in the process of remodeling your bathroom - hope you'll be sharing photos on your blog!

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    1. Very family -friendly place. Yes, we should all have had an etch a sketch. Imagine trying to write your order on that! Now that would be fun.

      Bathroom is all ordered. Waiting for a start date and now getting in a panic about what we've chosen. I did that with the kitchen too!

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  7. I repeat what I said a while ago on my blog, which was please can I come on holiday with you?!

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    1. Would you need an interconnecting room too so I can keep my eye on you?

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