A few years ago Jamie and I began our own tradition. Each new year, we take time out in the form of a one-night-staycation in order to mentally refresh. A Center Parcs Spa Suite is usually our destination of choice, but this year we headed to Congham Hall early instead. On check-in we switched off from the outside world in the best way possible, embracing a cosy atmosphere, great food, and even better company.
Congham Hall is a Georgian Manor turned hotel, in rural Norfolk. Set within its own grounds and boasting a number of rooms, various lounge areas, a bar, restaurant, spa, and gardens. I’ve visited plenty of times for dinners and spa days, so I knew to expect an impeccable standard.
One of their main strengths is undeniable attention to detail. The staff are attentive yet unobtrusive and the many cosy communal rooms host umbrellas, Dubarry boots, and plenty of books, which are all readily available for guests to borrow. These touches encourage a home away from home feeling, with the added benefit of hotel luxury.
We booked a package. A one night stay inclusive of a crumpet tea on arrival, a three-course a la carte dinner in their restaurant, and breakfast. Any stay is also inclusive of access to their Garden Spa. It was an opportunity for a much needed break before the hectic Christmas period.
The various communal living areas are large, yet simultaneously cosy and charming. All boast sofas and comfy chairs that turn in to each other, ensuring a little more privacy and a comfortable separation from other guests.
There are rooms within the manor house as well as standalone, bungalow-style rooms which are situated outside. These ones are slightly closer to the gardens and the spa. We chose the ‘better garden view’ room type which I believe is the middle tier available. This was perfect for us as it was on the outer part of the hotel, nearer to the gardens and spa and away from the noise of the restaurant. A benefit to being within the hotel at this time of year was that we only had to dress for indoors. We didn’t have to don sensible shoes or coats as we didn’t have to brave the outside.
Our room had a large wardrobe and a fridge with complimentary refreshments. Its en suite boasted a large vanity, a shower, and, my personal favourite feature, a gorgeous standalone bath. The bed was massive and looked incredibly comfy, but if I had one complaint it’s that neither the pillows or mattress were anywhere near as comfortable as those on my own bed.
THE BAR & RESTAURANT
We’ve been to the Congham Hall restaurant plenty, most frequently for Norfolk Restaurant Week. The food on their a la carte menu, whilst limited, is always to the highest standard. A small bar area is available for drinks pre or post-dinner, and the communal lounges are great places to enjoy post-dinner coffees.
THE GARDEN SPA
Congham Hall’s spa doesn’t compare well to Center Parc’s Aqua Sana, but then again, where does? That’s not to say that we didn’t enjoy a relaxing morning, dipping in and out of the pool, outdoor hot tub, and saunas, in turn. Oh, and there’s the financial consideration too, our stay at Congham Hotel & Spa was half of the cost of a stay in the Aqua Sana Spa suite, give or take. Although the Garden Spa is quite small, it’s been quite quiet each time I’ve been. For that reason, I’ve never found its size to be an issue.
Various treatments are available, but as there were no two times together we chose not to indulge. However, they offer reasonably priced Leighton Denny nail treatments and I’ve had a wonderful facial there in the past. In hindsight, we should have booked ahead, but we weren’t too bothered that treatments weren’t on the cards this time. The rest of the stay was enough for us to leave feeling rejuvenated.
If you’re local to Congham Hall then their restaurant is well worth a trip (but booking ahead is advisable). I’d also recommend their spa for simple and affordable treatments and relaxation. Despite it being close to home, and even closer to Jamie’s work, its private and secluded location secures a ‘we could be anywhere’ kind of feeling. A one night stay was perfect, and just what we needed for some pre-Christmas relaxation.