“ Blakeney / Nr. Holt / Norfolk / NR25 7NE / Tel: +44 (0)1263 740797 / Fax: +44 (0)1263 740795. „
It's strange how we are all creatures of habit, year after year when considering a short trip to somewhere in the UK I have opted for either the far north or the far south and rarely considered anything in the middle. This year the habit was broken, and faced with a map of the UK, I decided that rather than use the middle bit as a route through, I would spend the time exploring there. So coast was a must and after a bit of deliberation Norfolk was chosen, a recommendation from a friend led us to Blakeney, Norfolk and the Blakeney Hotel and I have to say if you don't mind spending the money saved on a flight (or less petrol in our case) the Blakeney Hotel is money well spent!. A little bit about Blakeney If you are looking for a little rest and relaxation in a beautiful location, then Blakeney is probably going to interest you. Located on the North Norfolk Coast, Blakeney forms part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so is without a doubt centred in an area of breath taking scenery. Between Blakeney and the sea are deep salt marshes intertwined with salt water leaking from the sea. From Blakeney you can also either take boat trips to see seals in there natural habitat or indeed if you are feeling sprightly walk the two miles through the marshes, which I would really recommend. The village itself is tiny, as you might expect with two hotels, a very friendly local pub, a couple of convenience stores and a few houses scattered around. A few miles either side of Blakeney and you will find equally beautiful villages and some very nice desolate windy beaches! A perfect get hideaway for anyone needing a real break, looking for somewhere to take beautiful walks, those seeking nature or even those looking for a place to play golf!. Price Hhhhm, well this is the bit that you may not like and finding the price as with most hotels is quite a complex process! Even in low season (Jan-April), the Blakeney Hotel is not cheap, but I have to say in this case you really do get what you pay for! As with most hotels the price varies according to which part of the season you visit, January till the start of April is the cheapes, April till the end of July the middle ground, peaking at the end of July till the middle of October (when the hotel closes down for winter). The rooms also have four categories, category C is the cheapest, A* the most expensive. There is also an additional charge of £10 for rooms, which look onto the estuary that is well worth the money (but before you panic and pay the additional cost, read on). The tariff also alters according to how many nights you stay, stay one night and the price per night is at its highest and includes breakfast only, if you stay 2 or more nights then dinner is thrown in (but to reduce the bill you can ask for just bed and breakfast). And the final complication is if you stay only 2 nights, try to cram them in between Sunday and Thursday when the cost is lower. Ok, so as you can see there are a lot of variations, but to give you a rough idea of the range prices the cheapest price for one night per person for a room is £77 per night (between January and April), the dearest £89 per person . But as I said there is then an additional charge for a view over the estuary. BUT, my tip is if it isn't during school holidays or a Saturday night, take the risk and turn up at the hotel the day you want to be there, which is exactly what we did in the middle of June. By doing that we managed to get the best room in the hotel, which was complete with a balcony looking onto the estuary (only 4 rooms have this and out of those 4 there are only 2 that have the large balcony!) for the base price of £85 per person. This room would have been £115 per person if we had booked, with the additional £10 per person for the view. So, its worth taking the risk. Our room is on the website, so if you have a look you will see exactly what I mean! http://www.blakeney-hotel.co.uk/accommodation-gallery.html If you want the full breakdown, take a look at http://www.blakeney-hotel.co.uk/tariffs.html but I warn you, although they have laid it out as simply as they can, do keep a pen and paper handy! Location Well I've probably already covered this earlier, the location can not be faulted. Sat directly on the estuary the hotel oozes tranquillity. You really can't go wrong on the location! Facilities & Service The hotel is a privately run independent hotel, but don't let this conjure up a Faulty Towers image, the hotel is ran to complete perfection, with a full range of very professional and polite staff (complete with concierge), none of which could be faulted. There are 60 rooms in total, although not all are located in the main hotel, which include family rooms and single rooms so something to suit everyone. To complement this is ample parking that we didn't ever see full to capacity. In addition, if you fancy staying inside the hotel, there is a huge sun lounge, which overlooks the estuary, a lounge on the ground floor, a cocktail bar (that surprisingly didn't charge huge amounts for the drinks!), two saunas, an indoor swimming pool, a mini gym, a Jacuzzi and a games room in the basement, so plenty of things to do indoors. If the weather is nice, then there is also a small external terrace that you can take drinks and snacks out onto. The main restaurant doubles up as the morning breakfast room (breakfast is inclusive for all residents). Of course this room also makes the most of the view and as the hours of breakfast are long, at pretty much any time it is possible to get a seat by the window. For no additional charge, you can ask for breakfast to be served in your room, not something we personally did, but it did seem to be quite popular with our neighbouring rooms. The breakfast is a mixture of help yourself and cooked breakfast, and the selection to choose from is huge, yoghurts, fresh fruit, bread, rolls, pastries, etc that you can help yourself to and then a choice of a cooked breakfast, fish etc to be served at your table. We found that the breakfast was more than large enough to keep us going till late afternoon. If you do stay more than one night and therefore have dinner inclusive or you opt to have dinner (a set meal of three courses is £22.00) then you wont be disappointed. The style is very much English food, cooked beautifully with a varied menu. The hotel can also cater for conferences, but as we were there for pleasure I haven't seen the facilities. A standard room consists of a TV, En-suite with bath and very powerful power shower, which I personally couldn't resist being in for at least an hour at a time! If you are like me and love to take the shampoo's etc home with you, each bathroom more than ample supply of little bottles of shampoo, shower gel and soap that is refilled every day (of course only if you use them or pack them into your case as we did!). In the room a complementary pair of slippers and bathrobe is left, which as with the towels if you want them to be replaced then leave them on the floor for the cleaners, if not hang them up. As I mentioned our room was one of the best, so I cant really comment for the standard room, but I can tell you that our room was huge, complete with a queen sized bed (that we both slept like babies on!), and a bathroom far bigger than my main bathroom at home with a power shower and full sized bath. Would I recommend the hotel? Well if you haven't guessed from the glowing review, yes I most certainly would. It's not cheap but I really couldn't fault the hotel, the staff or its location. It's a 3* hotel, so I did expect it to be quite good quality, but it did out do my expectations in most areas. Personally, I don't think it is the place to take children, unless they are very well behaved. Most of the guests do appear to be in retirement, but that could also be the time of year we visited, so children would stand out a bit. So if you are visiting Norfolk, its worth looking in, and if the hotel is too expensive, then there is no harm in heading to Blakeney anyway if only to see the seals.