We went as a half term weekend break and our first ever weekend away with our large, excitable dog.
The staff were unfailingly friendly and the hotel seems well laid out and managed. We were even presented with a "dog box," that consisted of a dog blanket, map of grounds, dog bowl and torch. We feed our dog raw food and the staff very kindly accommodated our food cartons in their refrigerator, as our room had no mini bar. I had booked an executive garden room for the space and the possibility of being able to take our dog out quickly for a wee, but it turned out that the rooms don't open out directly onto the garden. This was barely an inconvenience, however.
The room we booked was large, very clean and the bed was very comfortable.There was, however, a rather strange half citrus/half body odour smell in the room. If this is air freshener, it really was not to m y taste but once it has been sprayed, there is little one can do.
As I have often found in 3 star hotels, however, the room was let down by its dingy bathroom and poor quality finishings. Beige is never a successful colour for a hotel bathroom without a window, I find, and I can only assume that the person making the bathroom design decisions does not take a shower every morning. Not only was the shower cubicle rather small but the shower pressure was dismaI. I don't want to be too scathing, but there are few things more depressing than a trickle of shower water. I know that the hotel subscribes to a "green" policy, but the towels, whilst clean and warm, were rather old and scratchy.
Be aware, however, that sound-proofing of the rooms is quite poor. We were about to leave our dog in the room while we went to breakfast with a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door, just in case the cleaners might be frightened. Said cleaners could clearly be heard outside wondering en passant what we were "up to in there with the sign on the door!" The lack of soundproofing caused a few other problems for our dog, who barked at the sound of the slightest sneeze or mouse fart from the neighbouring room. This eased after the first night as he became used to not being in a detached house, but it is as well to warn potential guests of this. Thankfully no-one complained about his short but loud barks punctuating the first night at regular intervals, but we were kept awake most of the night shushing him as people came and went.
Now, some of the food was excellent, particularly the "Norfolk mussels" we consumed on our first night, which were perfectly cooked. By the Monday, however, the same dish was overcooked with a cloyingly creamy, unbalanced sauce. My guinea fowl on the first night was nicely cooked, but my husband had to send back his halibut steak, which was overcooked and dry. The replacement halibut was not really much better. I'm not a restaurateur but I think one must be very careful serving frozen fish to restaurant guests. I'd rather have a smaller choice of fresh ingredients.
The cream tea we had on the Monday afternoon was excellent, however, with freshly baked wholemeal scones and real clotted cream. Well done for this.
The Hotel gardens back onto Oulton Broad, a great place for dog walks. I'd be happy to go back but I'm not so keen on the quality of the food as it stands.
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- Also Known As:
- Ivy Hotel Country
- Ivy House Country Hotel Lowestoft, Suffolk