As they might say in Yorkshire! From the road this appears a quaint 18th C building in character with the area in which it is located. Driving into the large car park, though, you are confronted by an ugly motel development and a (probably) 1970's building described as a 'country club.' It is in fact a shabby function room the peeling paintwork of which does nothing for the equally unkempt garden it overlooks. Tatty outdoor furniture, unmown lawns, unattended flower beds and cigarette ends everywhere did not tempt us to linger there despite the warm sunshine.
The interior of the main building was equally disappointing. Whatever possessed someone to reconstruct the public rooms in the rough plaster work and brick arch style so popular when people first went on cheap package holidays to Spain is totally beyond comprehension. Unfortunately the deficiencies in the fabric of the place was not made up for by the staff. We approached the area of the bar marked reception where we were greeted pleasantly enough by a young person who said she was not able to book in guests. She called to an older man who was sat at a table playing games on a mobile phone. He grudgingly came to the counter and checked us in, volunteered none of the usual information such as where the room was, what time meals were served, and answered questions about this in truncated, sulky sentences. The motel style room was clean and comfortable and the facilities in it were good. Watering the hanging baskets (the only evidence of grounds maintenance we saw) outside each room just as guests were going to breakfast was not the best idea. Having dryed ourselves off we sat in the dining room amidst dirty crockery and cutlery whilst bemused and untrained staff wondered about conducting 'auctions' of plates of food. Only one of the self service toasters worked and, being only a domestic size machine, was very slow. The tea and coffee points were in the same small area and so there was much squeezing and pushing with a high risk of scalds and burns.
So given all this why have we said our stay was average and not poor? Well the bar meal we had on the Sunday evening was good value for money and the staff on duty then were extremely pleasant. There was a middle aged woman in charge who clearly knew what she was doing and how to get others to work effectively. The bedroom, although noisy because of the traffic, was good. The cost was reasonable enough.
An explanation for why the hotel was a disappointment, according to local people we met in nearby villages, might be that the owner has bought another hotel and gives this new venture a great deal of time and attention. The once good Ffolkes Arms has simply suffered from management neglect. It must also be said that operating in the economic climate that currently exists in rural Norfolk cannot be easy. But sharp action is needed if things are not going to get worse for the Ffolkes Arms.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Ffolkes has been lovingly refitted and refurbished with a £2m investment. Think Poldark, think pewter, copper, Hessian, leather, soft velvet, and rustic wood. We have taken down barriers and let in the light to create a comfortable open space with nooks and crannies to suit even the most discerning of travellers. We currently have 6 double bedrooms available to book, with a further 18 bedrooms due late July 2017. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Ffolkes Hotel UK/Norfolk