The Swan Hotel & Spa

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November, 2021

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Having won £250 of Pride of Britain vouchers, we chose to spend them in “The Swan Hotel”: at Lavenham, Suffolk. Whilst they wouldn’t go far towards the bill in the height of the season, at the end of November/early December before the Christmas festivities started in earnest, it paid for two nights with £50 left towards our dinner bill.

We had heard lots about Lavenham from friends who were impressed we were staying at The Swan.

As check in wasn’t until 3pm, on arrival before lunch, we completed the relevant paperwork and left our bags and went out to explore the iconic town. On collecting our bags later, we were asked for the vouchers and were told that it was complicated to process them. Having handed them over, I had to insist on a receipt as the receptionist couldn’t understand why I wanted one.

Our room (“Cygnet”: type) was the most basic but was relatively spacious. All the rooms have names and numbers and ours was 35 and called the Chelsworth Room. It was right at the top of the main stairs and as it was above one of the lounge areas, it was slightly noisy both with voices from below and creaking floorboards as people passed by. The building is timbered framed, dating back like many in the town to the 15th century, so consequently our room had lots of beams and sloping creaky floors. There was a step down into the room, which despite the warning sign we invariably missed, with another step up into the bathroom which had a 5-foot-high door, so required ducking. Fortunately, like all the other low doors around, it had plenty of padding in the right place.

The bed was extremely comfortable with great pillows and the room was well equipped with iron and board, safe, tea and coffee making facilities (fresh milk was available on request) and flat-screen TV. Lighting was good and there were plenty of non-medieval plug points in the right places, including one for the hairdryer which was in front of the mirror. The wardrobe was built in, and we had bedside tables and lamps and then two comfortable chairs for reading. Two bottles of water (still and sparkling) were complimentary.

The bathroom was long and relatively narrow and because of the positioning of the bath, toilet and the opening of the shower door over the deep, thin bath, getting in and out of the shower was a little precarious but the water was hot and the pressure ok. It was good to see environmentally friendly full-size bottles of toiletries from their spa. White towelling robes and slippers were provided which could be used for visiting their spa.

All the rooms are different and if you have any special needs, it would be best to discuss them with the hotel before arrival. Chatting to another couple, they had two large and uneven steps into their bathroom.

Breakfast, available from 7am to 10am, in the splendid Gallery restaurant was excellent. Having been advised to try and avoid the popular slot of 9am to 9.30am, we chose an early breakfast at 8am and had the room to ourselves. The whole breakfast was served, with a choice of juices, tea, coffee and toast, followed by a ‘starter’ of yoghurt and fruit, muesli or cereals followed by a ‘main’. During our two days, we tried the full English (bacon, sausage, tomato, field mushroom and egg of choice with optional baked beans), smoked salmon with scrambled egg and avocado, feta and chilli on sour dough topped with a poached egg. All were delicious and beautifully presented.

The Airmen’s Bar is dedicated to the memory of all service personnel who were based at RAF Lavenham during World War ll including the American 487th Bombardment Group. 233 Americans lost their lives and survivors held a reunion on the 60th anniversary of VE day and signatures are written on the walls.

With our booking we received a complimentary hour in the in-house “Weavers’ House Spa”: We didn’t really have time to make use of it, but I did treat myself to an hour’s relax-ology massage. I’ve never ever had a massage whilst laid on a warm waterbed before, but it was stunning and I don’t know how I managed to stay awake, especially as we’d just got back from walking to and from Long Melford (17km). The spa shop was full of lovely things, and I bought a few Christmas presents which hopefully my friends will enjoy.

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