The best Suffolk hotels for boutique and cool seaside stays

Aldeburgh pebble beach, near The Brudenell (The Brudenell)

With some of Britain’s most beautiful scenery – an elemental coastline, wild beaches, moorland and woodland where birds, otters and deer roam, lazily meandering rivers, maritime outposts and towns and villages Ridiculously pretty nestled in gently rolling countryside, these are my picks for a stay in Suffolk. With some of the driest weather in the country, it’s time to escape to this eastern county for the summer.

Some of the best hotels in Suffolk are:

What better way to enjoy Suffolk than sleeping in a sea-facing suite?  (The Swan)

What better way to enjoy Suffolk than sleeping in a sea-facing suite? (The Swan)

Best for seaside cool: The Swan

Location: Southwold

The makeover, warm service and excellent cuisine make the Swan at Southwold one of the best hotels on the Suffolk coast. Pops of color – the emerald green velvet sofas in the living room and the four pink spiked posters in the bedrooms are so inviting it’s tempting to pass up the golden sands (a 2022 Blue Flag beach), quirky pier and the indy shops of Southwold! The market view rooms are gorgeous and the dog-friendly garden rooms are a godsend, but the main attraction of this Adnams-owned hotel is the delicious, expertly served food: the most tender pork belly in Blythburgh and the refreshing coconut panna cotta with lychee sorbet. The Still Room restaurant has two AA rosettes, but it deserves better.

Price: Doubles from £245 B&B

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Exposed beams give The Swan a cozy cottage vibe (The Swan at Lavenham)

Exposed beams give The Swan a cozy cottage vibe (The Swan at Lavenham)

Location: Lavenham

Not to be confused with The Swan at Southwold, this elegant bird is set in a town famous for its twisting timber-framed buildings. It’s a delightful medieval maze of rooms with exposed beams and wobbly floors that spread out over several old buildings. One of these is the Wool Hall, once the heart of the Guild of Our Lady, a medieval guild that controlled the cloth industry in Lavenham, the source of the town’s past wealth. Book the Churchyard Suite with its exposed beams, vaulted ceiling and beautiful fireplace for the full Tudor experience. Relax in the vitality pool at the Weavers’ House spa or in the exceptionally pretty garden – all lavender beds and cream parasols. The dishes in the Gallery restaurant are also exceptional.

Price: Doubles from £150 B&B

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Sample fantastic cuisine at Tuddenham Restaurant (Tuddenham Mill)

Sample fantastic cuisine at Tuddenham Restaurant (Tuddenham Mill)

Location: Tudenham

It’s summer! Take a seat at the unique table between the old watermill and the miller’s house, order your favorite drink and soak up the impressionist scene before you – a dreamy weeping willow hanging over a stream, all green of life and reeds. Top room choices are the Cozy Corners overlooking water meadows with whirlpool tubs, or the Loft Suites with their oval tubs and soothing Scandi-Italian vibe. You’ll also come for the award-winning cuisine (the only hotel in Suffolk with four AA rosettes). Patron chef Lee Bye’s menus are rooted in local produce. The Tipi on the Stream, lit by candles and fairy lights, is strong on sharing plates while the beaming Upstairs at the Mill favors East Anglian meats and fish dishes with a 6-course tasting menu or à la carte. The delicate desserts are exquisite.

Price: Doubles from £165 B&B

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The Hog has been recently renovated (The Hog Hotel)

The Hog has been recently renovated (The Hog Hotel)

Location: Lowestoft

The Hog is a Suffolk secret. It is a five minute walk from the shingle beach of Pakefield and just 10 minutes from the soft golden sands of South Beach in Lowestoft. You couldn’t really ask for more. But you get more. Owned by a local family, the 16-room Hog, built in the 1890s, has undergone a super lockdown makeover and it’s all soft carpets underfoot and lush rooms with contemporary touches plus the cute “Do Not Disturb” sign that says “Hibernate”. The restaurant’s dishes celebrate East Anglian cuisine: find Suffolk asparagus, glasswort, Cromer crab and North Sea fish on the menu. The towering strawberry pavlova is a winner. With few boutique stays in the area, the award-winning Hog also attracts TV crews. The cast of The Crown stayed recently. Near Somerleyton Hall, a Jacobean mansion, whose gardens are open to the public, doubles as the Queen’s beloved Sandringham on the hit Netflix show.

Price: Doubles from £140 B&B

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This trendy spot is perfect for a weekend of art and culture (Salthouse Harbor Hotel)

This trendy spot is perfect for a weekend of art and culture (Salthouse Harbor Hotel)

Location: Ipswich

The Salthouse Harbor Hotel, once a warehouse storing salt and other goods on the quayside at Ipswich, is now in the heart of the bustling seafront, a short walk from the winding streets of cafes and independent shops of Saints, and the historic heart of the city. . Book a Marina Room with a copper tub for a soak with a view of the twinkling marina lights through the wide windows. By day, grab a table on the sidewalk for a drink while listening to the tinkle of rigging and watching sleek white boats and historic fishing boats come and go. Don’t miss the hotel’s eclectic collection of contemporary art, including a Damian Hirst, and quirky collectibles: a Russian flight helmet, anyone?

Price: Doubles from £135 B&B

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Try the hydrotherapy pool or admire Suffolk from the outdoor hot tub (Bedford Lodge)

Try the hydrotherapy pool or admire Suffolk from the outdoor hot tub (Bedford Lodge)

Location: Newmarket

The Handsome Bedford Lodge, built as a Georgian hunting lodge for the Duke of Bedford in the 19th century, is set in well-tended, flower-filled gardens on the outskirts of Newmarket. It is close to the National Horse Racing Museum, Warren Hill, Galloping Ground with a long history and racetracks. The elegant rooms overlook the stables and paddocks or the gardens. Horseback riding enthusiasts or not, you’ll love the spa with its light-flooded hydrotherapy pool, outdoor hot tub, and pampering treatments. Not here to relax? Discover the 15 m swimming pool. Also come for afternoon tea, said to have first been created by the wife of the 7th Duke of Bedford, and stay for dinner at Squires where halibut topped with grilled red prawns, smoked mash and gravy caviar is recommended, as is the real heat of service.

Price: Doubles from £165 B&B

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Curl up with a book in The Angel lounge or sample his famous pie (The Angel)

Curl up with a book in The Angel lounge or sample his famous pie (The Angel)

Location: Lavenham

Charles Dickens was perhaps the Angel’s most famous guest in the 1800s, but this century’s Hollywood stars Pierce Brosnan and Angelina Jolie were welcomed to the star-studded hotel in Bury St Edmund. The impressive, ivy-covered Angel faces Angel Hill in the heart of the city and overlooks Abbey Gate, a 14th-century carved stone gatehouse. You’ll definitely want rooms with those views: huge boudoirs with Georgian sash windows, king-size beds, neat lighting, contemporary fabrics, and copper soaking tubs that overlook the gatehouse. After cocktails in the lively bar, dine in the Eaterie under delicate ceramic feathers suspended. Don’t miss the ‘Pickwick Pie’ – a wonderful steak, red wine and pastry dish. Angel’s best kept secret? Its sold-out supper clubs are held in the vaults of the 15th-century hotel.

Price: Doubles from £125 B&B

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Hintelsham Hall at dusk is really something (Hintelsham Hall)

Hintelsham Hall at dusk is really something (Hintelsham Hall)

Location: Ipswich

If dozens of painted portraits could talk! The origins of Grade I listed Hintelsham Hall date back to the 1400s, but much of what you will see today dates from the 16th and 17th centuries – rebuilt by the Timperley family who worked for the Dukes of Norfolk and lived on the domain for nearly 300 years. Hintelsham Hall, just five miles from Ipswich Maritime, is a blend of conviviality with touches of antique luxury: the library with an ornately worked stucco ceiling and some of the bedrooms. You’ll want the Rosette Room with a four-poster bed facing a carved stone fireplace and an oil painting of the hall from a bygone era with sash windows overlooking the leafy garden. Or the lovely cozier rooms with exposed beams in the eaves, once the servants’ quarters, with a Downton Abbey-style hallway. Dine like a duke in the Grand Dining Room (awarded two AA rosettes) on venison and fish dishes and the prettiest little strawberry pavlova. Do not miss a walk in the summer vegetable garden.

Price: Doubles from £140 B&B

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In Brudenell, you wake up to the sound of the sea (Hotel Brudenell)

In Brudenell, you wake up to the sound of the sea (Hotel Brudenell)

Location: Aldeburgh

Aldeburgh inspired Benjamin Britten, Maggi Hambling and Ruth Rendell. Follow in their footsteps and breathe in the fresh, salty air at one of Suffolk’s most popular seaside locations. The Brudenell Hotel sits right on the pebble beach at the southern end of the upscale town. The Georgian building, converted into a hotel in Victorian times, enjoys incredible views of the Suffolk sky and sea. The elegant and renovated rooms 100 and 101 enjoy a panoramic view of the sea, the birds and the pebbles. My advice ? Room 317: A secret place with a telescope to spy on passing boats on the waves and a room with a view of the River Alde winding through the meadows. Book a leisurely lunch at the Seafood & Grill where four daily seafood specialties draw diners. Think lemon sole bathed in a butter, lemon and caper sauce served with Suffolk glasswort and herb mash.

Price: Doubles from £150 B&B

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