When I was a little girl my mother always told me that she could see I had an eye for luxury. I would flick through the pages of magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Elle and Home and Garden. I would tear out the pages covered in vintage handbags, shoes, modern art and Tudor mansions and proceed to stick them in my scrap-book. My mother would point out that I had managed to pick the most expensive and luxurious things, albeit unintentionally at my age.
As I started to grow up and become more independent I realised that I had acquired an unusual obsession for staying in hotels. I loved being able to pack my bag, get dressed up and leave all of my worries behind, even if it was for just one night. I think this stemmed from my cravings for beautiful things. Over many years I stayed in numerous hotel rooms, they were all very different and had their own sets of pros and cons but none of them had lived up to my expectations of luxury. Sometimes the room would be beautiful but the service and food were lacking, then sometimes the food would be a taste sensation but the room would feel like a cheap, American motel, but the worst recurring experience I seem to keep stumbling on is the “first impression phenomenon”. This unusual modern-day trend is when a hotel pushes all of their finance into the first parts of the hotel you see, so for instance the outside, the lobby/reception and the restaurant might be beautifully decorated but then the deeper you go the more disappointing it becomes. I feel this is a terrible mistake, the bedrooms are just as, if not more, a part of the hotel that should blow your guests away.
Luckily for me, one day I was scrolling through the numerous pages of Trip advisor and an image of a grand boutique hotel caught my eye.
This is Strattons.
It is an independent, family run boutique hotel situated in the lovely town of Swaffham in Norfolk. I had never heard of it before and after one night of staying there it broke my heart that I had wasted my time on any other hotel. The hotel is filled with the most unusual and exquisite art, everywhere you turn there is something to admire.
All the rooms are decorated in their own unique style and feel, to be honest each room is like experiencing a different boutique hotel every time you stay. The first night that my partner and I stayed there we were lucky enough to choose the Opium suit, I would highly recommend that any couples first night should be in this suit, I feel that it really sets the tone for the standards of the hotel. The opium suit is an external suit, it is located just across from the main building. The suit is split over two levels so it’s feels like a miniature holiday house, just without a kitchen. The whole suit just screams luxury when you first walk in, all the furnishings look and feel expensive, the bathroom downstairs has a minimalist modern feel to it and the bedroom……. well that is so hard to put into words. The headboard looks like something out of the Taj Mahal, there is a free-standing bath at the end of the bed overlooked by a beautiful vintage chandelier. It should be called the opulence suit in my opinion.
The second night we stayed at Strattons we chose The Stalls room, this too has its own private entrance situated across from the main building. This room has a very cosy yet sensual feel, it is all on one level but is still just as impressive. The living room area has a very pretty, chic design, wooden beams from floor to ceiling create a partition between the living room and the bedroom. The bedroom area has vintage industrial cage lockers as hanging space for your clothes with a large contrasting padded red headboard that covered the whole wall behind the bed. The bedside lamps were suspended bowler hats that contained a light bulb inside, these were my favourite design element. The bathroom door is an old stable door with frosted glass panels in between the iron bars that make the window. The bathroom itself feels like it comes out of a Turkish bath house, the bath deep and low sitting, a large wet room style shower in the corner. This room is probably my personal favourite.
Our most recent stay at Strattons was in The Red Room, this room is by far the grandest in the hotel. It is situated in the main hotel and has its own private outdoor courtyard. You can not and I repeat can not understand the full size of this room by any pictures you or anyone else could take, I had to use the panoramic feature on my phone to get it all in. The room is very Victorian mansion meets Jane Austen novel meets modern art exhibition. It’s quirky and historical at the same time. The four-poster bed is magnificent and is sitting on a raised platform. The walls and ceiling are painted in a deep brushed red effect and it suits the room well. There is a working open fire-place and thankfully it was just cold enough for us to use it! Can anyone name another hotel this indulgent where you can have an open fire in your bedroom? I think not! The bathroom door had been painted the same as the wall so it feels like you are entering a hidden room every time you go and use the facilities. The bathroom is very magical, the walls are a moss-green and are covered in the silhouette of tree branches, the ceiling is covered in a vintage style tenting which made it feel a bit like something out of Narnia. We must have spent the first two hours just oooohhing and aaaahing over the room. This is a definite recommendation if you are looking for something special.
Now this is important, because I know I have already got you gagging to stay here from just the pictures of the rooms, but guess what? The food….. is ………… amazing!
We have never been let down by the food at Strattons and let me tell you, we definitely indulge ourselves while we are there. We always have three courses and sometimes a sneaky third desert to share! I cannot describe how mouth wateringly good the food is! If you don’t like to stay away from your own bed then I would at least press you to go and have a meal there, you will not be disappointed. Here are some of the meals we have had. Chicken and courgette cakes starter
We have also had afternoon tea with Strattons. This is something not to be missed, fresh cakes and little sandwiches served with your choice of tea or coffee. The price is very good in terms of the quality of everything, the service and the wonderful experience.
Strattons has also moved their Cocoes Cafe into a new little building closer to the main hotel, breakfast is now served here too. The room is light and airy and is a very good place to show case the stunning home-made cakes on offer. I had some fresh mint tea and a slice of cake when we last went and if it wasn’t for the three course meal I was going to have I would have had another slice!
So as you can see for yourself the food is mouth-watering. My friends and family are probably so sick and tired of me talking about Strattons hotel but honestly I can’t help it, it’s become our home away from home and we will endeavour to stay at least once every few months. We love you Strattons and we will never stop talking about you or coming to stay in your lovely unique rooms. Keep up the great service.
*some pictures in this article are courtesy of the Strattons hotel website.