Salthouse Harbour Hotel, Ipswich
Ipswich for the weekend? It’s not something you hear often, but the fact is the town has plenty to see (the country’s largest collection of Constable paintings outside London) and a number of compelling attactions nearby, plus the Salthouse Harbour Hotel, at the heart of Ipswich’s resurgent Waterfront district. Housed in an imaginatively converted warehouse, this is Ipswich at its boutique best, with 70 large, sharply designed rooms, the topmost of which have floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over the marina and free-standing baths from which to enjoy the views. Squint, and on a sunny day you could be in Antibes.
The public areas are classy but never dull, with eccentrically modern furniture and splashes of colour that soften the stark lines, including lots of edgy contemporary art, while the rooms blend the building's maritime legacy with a quirky, modern sensibility. Bathrooms are large and well-appointed, with power showers, and rooms have wif-fi, cafetieres and nice coffee, high-end toiletries and flatscreen TVs, and some have their own balconies.
Finally the ground-floor Eaterie is one of the best places to eat in town, serving good-value set menus and light dishes at lunchtime, and more ambitious fare in the evening – if you're here just for one night, you'd be mad not to try it, although there are plenty of other good options nearby. We also love the hotel’s ever-so-slightly more traditional older sister, the Angel, in nearby Bury St Edmunds.
Martin Dunford is Publisher of Cool Places, a new website from the creators of Rough Guides and Cool Camping, suggesting the best places to stay, eat, drink and shop in Britain (coolplaces.co.uk)
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