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“Very dog friendly, but quality of human food inconsistent”

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Ivy House Country Hotel
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Lowestoft
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 26, 2012

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.

Room Tip: Be aware that the garden rooms don't open out directly onto the gardens. Also that guests can...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank MsAlliance
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 27, 2012

We had a good overnight stay in the Cherry room over the Bank Holiday. The hotel is a collection of well appointed buildings, with the crooked barn at the centre, set in very pleasant countryside surroundings in the edge of Lowestoft. So benefits from being quiet and rural but close to the town too.

Our room was large and well appointed and clean. As was the bathroom. There was room to lounge and the flat screen TV was a reasonable size, especially as it was some way from the bed. The shower could have been more powerful. There were sufficient tea, coffee, hot chocolate, uht for self-serve drinks.

Breakfast in the crooked barn was relaxed. Our cooked breakfasts were cooked well, tasty and served within a reasonable time. Fresh orange juice, mixed toast, tea, coffee, fruit and yoghurts were also available.

Staff were very friendly and helpful.

We enjoyed our stay and would recommend the hotel.

Stayed: August 2012
Thank Englishgent55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2012

We have just got home from this really wonderfully well run Hotel and cannot praise it more highly.the staff are outstanding, kind and helpful and unfailingly cheerful too!
The setting is truly beautiful and if peace and relaxation are needed please give this Hotel your custom.
If only all Hotels were as good as this and so accomodating of our needs (we travelled with our disabled son)and at short notice too!
We thought the food was good quality and with excellent service.
we will return soon.
Our thanks to all at Ivy House.
Siobhan and Karl Lyell.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Siobhan L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2012

I have stayed at this hotel four times now, all on business. Wach time the quality of the accomodation and service have been first class. The rooms are very comfortable, and well stocked with tea and coffee. The service is second to none, with the highlight always being the 'performance' of Mr Clifford, the Maitre D' in the Crooked Barn Restaurant. He treats every guest as if they were the first and only guest; he is cheeky but respectful, with the ability to pitch it just right whether you're a businessman or elderly lady being taken out for her birthday.

Unfortunately, the foos at the restaurant is not so consistent. I've had some decent meals there, but some awful meals too - a particularly tasteless smoked haddock was the lowlight. As is often the case in Suffolk and Norfolk, cooked breakfasts often take and age to appear although when they do, they're pretty good.

In short, fantastic for bed and a leisurely breakfast. The restaurant is worth going to for the service alone, just be careful about what you choose and let them know if you don't think it's up to scratch.

Stayed: March 2012, traveled on business
1  Thank SpecialAdviser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 11, 2012

12 of us booked for a special cream tea and presumed we would be in the Crooked Barn as advised, but we were crammed into the pre dinner reception room. We had to eat from coffee tables and of our laps which was not easy. They produced the scones & tea with cream & jam before we had all arrived. We did not have enough crockery or cutlery and had to go to reception to get additional. There were 2 girls on reception, apparently doing nothing, but they did not come and ask if 'we were alright', but did ask when we left when they were told then 'it was a bit late'. The Crooked Barn is a lovely building and when we looked in afterwards, there was nobody in there. Two of us sent emails to complain, but neither had to reply

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with friends
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7  Thank tootsie999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 29, 2012

We returned to this beautiful hotel at short notice, the weather did make the stay more relaxing.
We were really looking forward to some well cooked meals, and we were not disappointed, in fact the food was better than last year.
The hotel staff are always willing to assist in anything you require, and the dog also gets a doggy box with goodies in for themselves.

Room Tip: The only downside was that the bathroom extractor fan would go on for 15-20mins after being in the r...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Susanne S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 28, 2012

Myself and my partner had dinner at the crooked barn restaurant on site at this hotel in January 2012 and everything about the experience was shocking. the place from the outside looks nice but the restaurant is plain, empty, dated and has absolutely no atmosphere or ambience other than a ghost town. the hotel/restaurant is owned by a husband and wife team. the husband is the host at the restaurant and when we were greeted he looked down his nose at us both and proved to be obnoxious and arrogant, his wife (who quite frankly does nothing) is equally as rude if not worse and swans arouns like shes lady muck.
More importantly, the food: Well the menu appeared to be lovely and we were really looking forward to it despite being pricey for the area. Sad to say but all the food was bland, tasteless, small and way over priced, i was expecting good things as they claim to use local produce throughout the menu but they obviously just dont know what to do with the ingredients. i had homemade burger for my main and the bun was just over toasted and had no relish, cheese or salad, just plain. and in it sat a measly little burger pattie which was just mince moulded into shape, i couldnt taste any seasoning or flavour, just mincedmeat. very boring. the chips were obviously done in a deep fat fryer and tasted greasy and there was nothing other than a little side salad on the plate. my other half had mackeral and he said the same thing about his, very bland and tasteless. neither of us smoke so we know our taste buds are still in tact! even dessert was disappointing, some how they even managed to make zesty lemon pancakes and homemade orange icecream tast of absolutely nothing! we also had to ask several times for our drinks and bread basket. Staff, food and atmosphere and prices all absolutely rubbish. i would even bother attempting a quick drink.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank sally g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ivy House Country Hotel

Address: Ivy House Farm Ivy Lane | Oulton Broad, Lowestoft NR33 8HY, England
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > East Anglia > Suffolk > Lowestoft
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Lowestoft
#1 Family Hotel in Lowestoft
#1 Business Hotel in Lowestoft
Price Range: $174 - $340 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Ivy House Country Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 19
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Ivy Hotel Country
Ivy House Country Hotel Lowestoft, Suffolk

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