“ Address: Keepers Lane / Leavenheath / Colchester / Essex CO6 4PZ „
In the Summer of last year , my family and I went down to Suffolk on a cycling holiday which involved cycling from hotel to hotel. One of the hotels which we stayed at was one called 'The Stoke-By-Nayland Club'. Although , we stayed at this hotel almost a year ago , I remember writing some notes on my experience for when I wrote this review (which has taken me nearly a year!) so the experience is still fairly fresh in my mind.
We arrived at the club after a five hour drive , all the way from Mid Wales. So as you can imagine , we were happy to finally reach our room. On arrival , my first impressions of the place was that it was very smart looking! It was a very classy place ; very business-like and provided leisures such as golf facilities for business people.
It was a really hot day , and with the palm trees everywhere , it felt as though we were in a hot country.
We went straight to reception where we were greeted by a nice lady receptionist. When checking in , we realised that my room (a single) was far away from the rest of the group , although we had requested the rooms to be next door to eachother. This was no trouble at all - the receptionist told us to come back in around twenty minutes. We returned to reception and the problem was solved very quickly , and so we were very happy. However , the one thing that stood out for me most was the fact that when we went back to reception to receive the keys to my room , the receptionist we had dealt with was just leaving (she had her coat and bags with her) and was nearly out of the door) , when she saw us , and although there was another receptionist avaialable , the receptionist we had originally dealt with , happily went back to her desk and checked us in (which took around ten minutes , including time for answering our questions). The staff at the hotel were very pleasant and professional , and nothing was too much trouble! Working in the hospitality industry , I find when I go to stay at another hotel , that it's the little things like that , that make your stay worthwhile.
Our rooms were located not too far from the reception and our walk to our rooms (which were on the ground floor -I don't think there were any 'upstairs rooms' , although I can't be 100% certain , I just can't remember seeing any) was made more interesting by the fact that along the corridors were pictures of signed football shirts in big frames from famous clubs.
My room was very large , considering it was single. There were a lot of things I like about my room ;the a massive (!!) bed which was very comfortable , and I had extra pillows. I had a huge window to the left of my bed , with the windows opening out fully. The room was very clean!
I had a lovely view from my room ; of the grounds (not far from the golf course) and it was such a lovely day! There was also a lot of wild rabbits which I could see running around on the grounds. It was so peaceful there. Although , one thing I didn't like was the it was ground level , and although there wasn't hardly anyone around , I still felt that it wasn't that private unless I closed the curtain , which of course I didn't want to when the sun was shining. Living in the middle of nowhere (just like this hotel) , I see this kind of view all the times ,and so perhaps don't appreciate the quiteness and peacefulness of it , as much as someone from the city would.
The bathroom was large with nice big towels. I also had a massive mirror which I loved as it meant I could see myself when drying my hair / sitting on the bed and by the window. As I payed as part of a package of staying at three hotels as well as hire of the bike , I am unsure as to how much I actually payed for my one night's stay , although having looked on the internet , I discovered that rooms are available for as little as £59 per night , which I think is great considering what was on offer!
We were only staying the one night and so decided to make the most of it. Not far from our room was the pool area , which was located downstairs (there was a strong smell of chlorine at the top of the stairs by reception). We went in the pool and then into the jacuzzi which was really relaxing.We got to use the pool and jacuzzi for free as we were residents. There was a Spa and a gym down there too , although we didn't use these facilities and so I cannot therefore comment. There was also a pool side cafe , which wasn't like normal 'cheap and tacky' cafes you get in leisure centres , it was quite classy.
Later that evening , we dined in the main restaurant.(There are one or two other places to eat , including a bistro) Although we were one of the firsts down for dinner , we didn't feel uncomfortable , and there was definetely a relaxing atmosphere. We had a three course meal. To begin with I had goats cheese , followed by a delicious cheesy pasta dish , finishing with a lovely chocolate desert. We all agreed that it was a great meal , and the service (provided by a few young ladies) was excellent. I found the high-quality meal to be of great value - around £25 a head). I know some people would consider this to be quite expensive , but working in a top restaurant myself that charges £40 per head ,it's not just the food that you're paying for ; there are other things which are included as part of the price , such as the breathtaking view , a professional service etc. The little touches mean so much more and add to making that little bit extra special.
I also liked the fact that where we sat in the restaurant , we were facing the windows/glass doors which were huge and you could go outside to sit if you wanted. There was also a fantastic view from here.
We finished our meal at around eight thirty , and so the night was still young and we weren't sure what to do. We then decided to take a walk , down the lane , just to see which way we were to go on our bikes the next day. It was a pleasant walk , in the cool summer night air , and was still a bit light.
The next morning we went to the same dining room which we had dined at the night before , for breakfast. In the centre of the room was a long table , filled to the brim with cereals , fruit , croissants etc. You had to help yourself to tea and coffee using the machines provides , and also make your own toast using the toaster on the buffet table. I myself prefer this idea of self-service as not only is it easier to just get up and get what you want , rather than wait for someone to take your order , then order , then wait for the waiter to bring it to you. Also if you want another piece of toast or more coffee or whatever , then you can just get it yourself , rather than bother the waiter. However , if you wanted a cooked breakfast then the waiter would come over and take your order. I myself was so fascinated by all that was to offer from the cold buffet , that I opted out of the choice of having a cooked breakfast , as I was too full from all the fruit salad , cereals and croissants.
I would definetely recommend this hotel especially to bussiness people and sports minded people! I felt that it was a bit like a high-class leisure centre with rooms! It's very sports orientated , although if you like that kind of thing , then it's an excellent place to stay. Even if you're not into sport ,then it's a great peaceful place , that will provide an excellent amount of relaxation.
I really liked the hotel itself ; everything about it was so professional. The grounds were great too ; plenty of space and little walks. Although my only criticism , although this is not concerning the hotel itself , is the fact that , as I mentioned earlier , coming from a place that's in the middle of nowhere , when I go on holiday I like to go to the city or somewhere busy , but there was nothing to do here (apart from loads of sport , and I'm not a sporty person , and I was on a cycling holiday , cycling around 20 miles a day and so didn't want any more sport! hehe).
I liked the hotel , just that there was no entertainment outside of the hotel , and so although the hotel itself is a fantastic location and the massive grounds are great , the actual surrounding area was a bit boring and so because of this , I don't think I would visit the hotel again.
However , I am glad that I have had the great experience of visiting the hotel and if it was located in a place that was little bit more livelier (not the actual hotel itself , as it's really nice , all the calmness and peace and quite , but a town that was just five minutes away , then I would prefer that a lot more. However , based on my experience , I would definetely recommend this hotel!
Thanks for reading!
April 12th 2010
xd-o-n-z-x (also posted on ciao under xdonzx)