* Prices may differ from that shown
It seems that these days all I ever write about are hotels!! So, another trip away and another hotel. I have to say, in many ways this hotel has now become my all time favorite
Sadly as it is located in Ipswich it is unlikely I can find too many reasons to head back there, but maybe if I try hard enough, I might well manage it!
A little bit about Ipswich
Well, this was my first trip to Ipswich, before that I had only ever heard that it is a strange place, and after visiting I have to say I agree. Strange probably not in the way you may now be thinking! Strange due to its buildings, they are literally from every era! Not only that but all mixed in together, along any one street you can quite easily see a Tudor building, next to a Georgian building, next to a Victorian. Very unlike any other town I have been to, where rows of certain eras are more the norm. Its a town that seems to be going through some additional 21st C changes, with a lovely new marina development. Ipswich is well worth a visit if you are passing through that part of Suffolk, although if you want to see inside the shops, dont choose a Sunday!
The other side of Ipswich is the marina, which is currently under going a huge redevelopment with lots of new plush apartments being built.
I always find that with these reviews it is best to get the bare facts out before progressing too far, and the most important bare fact has to be price! The Salthouse Harbor Hotel is a 4* hotel and located in the UK you would expect to pay well over £100 per night to stay there and yes it is possible to pay over that for a night. As it is pitching itself for the business clientele a standard twin room with bed and breakfast as £145 per night Monday Thursday, with a reduced rate of £135 for one person staying in the room. They then have a prestige room at a rate of £160 per night and penthouse suite at £200. Weekend rates (that run from Friday night to Sunday night) are slightly lowered. One person on their own will pay £100 per night, where as a standard twin is £130. Interestingly the price for a prestige room remains the same at £160 per night and the penthouse suite rises to £230 per night. My guess is that although it pitches itself for mid week business clientele, its other top end aim is for wedding functions that invariably are at the weekend and are most likely to want to book the best rooms for the occasion.
Sounds expensive? Well that is the great thing about this hotel, it is possible to lower the weekend rate considerably through their special deal. If you opt to eat in their restaurant and stay at the hotel between Friday and Sunday and spend more than £50 eating, the room rate is reduced to £60 per night. Not at all bad value for the standard you will be staying in!
So anyone who has been to Ipswich will know it is a pretty small town and where ever you are in Ipswich is never very far from somewhere else you may wish to walk to. This hotel as the name may suggest is located on the harbor and forms part of the refurbished marina area of Ipswich. From the hotel there are fantastic views out over the marina and it really is the most idealic of locations for a relaxing break. From the hotel it is an easy walk into town if you wish to look at the local shops and can break yourself away from eyeing up the impressive amount of yachts!
Facilities & Service
The hotel was converted from its previous warehouse use in 2003 and has managed to keep the brick charm of the warehouse and compliment it with modern art and a fresh contemporary décor.
As you may expect from a converted building, it does not have facilities such as saunas and swimming pools, but faced with a marina and the beauty of the building you really will still manage to get that relaxing feeling!
The hotel has been split into 43 rooms on 5 floors and the penthouse above that. I didnt stay in the penthouse so I cant comment on that but judging by the style and standard of the rest of the hotel I am sure anyone who does will not be disappointed! Our rooms were on the 5th floor and as much as I hate to give this away incase I do return, but these are amongst the best rooms and if I were to book again I would probably request one on this floor. The reason is that although they are located side on to the marina, these all have balconies and with the height and this location you get a fantastic view out over the marina in one direction and the roofltops of the town to the other. Truly fantastic view day or night! The rooms are all spacious, bright and luxurious with huge beds. All have En-suite facilities containing both a bath and a separate shower, which personally I prefer as a shower person I never really take to the shower over bath options most hotels seem to opt for, so it was nice to see a spacious shower tucked away. The En-suites contain all of the usual shower gels etc, and in the main bedroom tea, coffee and biscuits are left out for you to consume. All rooms also have dressing gowns, writing bureaus with paper and pens and a copy of the latest Suffolk magazine for a quick flick through.
Other than the rooms, there is also a lounge area, again beautifully and tastefully presented, which is intended as a relaxing place to sit and chat or to ponder over a drink from the bar and it fits that purpose brilliantly. We also used it as a meeting place to gather the 6 of us before heading elsewhere. If you are visiting in order to host a meeting, there is a separate meeting room available, again decked out in fresh décor and plenty of eye catching art to stop you drifting off!
On the ground floor the bar/restaurant is located, which is open to residents and non-residents and is the location for breakfast. With its high vaulted ceilings and large windows it is a pleasure to sit and relax in. On a warm day there is also the option of sitting outside the restaurant with a coffee or wine and just taking in the view. If this were a restaurant without the hotel, it would still be an absolute find! We ate in there twice during our stay, and I have to say the menu beat some of the top restaurants I have visited before. All of the food is simple ingredients but cooked in a way that I am sure would suit any tastebud. The menu is varied everyday and if you want to have a look at a typical menu there is one located on their website at http://www.salthouseharbour.co.uk/default.asp?MIS=94 Typical prices are £5ish for a starter, £15ish for a main course and £5ish again for a desert. There seemed to be something for everyone on the menu and a couple of options for vegetarians. The food was served piping hot and cooked just the right amount (without veg being overcooked!). Six of us ate there and all 6 were happy with their choices. If I were to pick complete hole the only place I could is in saying that it is not somewhere to go if you are starving hungry. Although portion sizes are the right size, as I suspect the food is all cooked fresh it does take a little bit of time for it to arrive at your table. Service was perfect and without any feeling of robot in site! We probably stayed in the restaurant for 2 or 3 hours and did not once feel hurried by staff to grab our table.
Breakfast as I said earlier is served in the main restaurant and in keeping with the level of delivery of the evening meals is served to you at your table from a choice of options. As always there is the option of a full English breakfast served with tea or coffee, but besides this there are other options, from memory there were things like smoked salmon on there somewhere.
Would I recommend the hotel?
I am sure this will come as no surprise but yes I would most certainly recommend the hotel and am scratching my mind for an occasion to go back there myself! Everything about the hotel is perfect, the staff are all polite and capable without giving the machine feeling to everything they do! The location is excellent, the rooms stunning, the restaurant and food inspirational. As an independently owned hotel I really wish it the best of luck, it certainly deserves to succeed.
Link to the site
Salthouse Harbour Hotel
Neptune Quay, Ipswich, Suffolk IP4 1AX
t 01473 226789, f 01473 226927