I love going away. Home is great, but I much prefer getting out and about. And feeling like you’ve really had a good break. Even more so now we have N, because if we stay at home, holidays would be spent with him going out on the farm. Our latest break was a last minute choice (as usual) to Norfolk.
When it’s just N and myself going on holiday we tend to stay in hotels rather than cottages or B&Bs. Cottages are usually too big and/or too expensive. With a hotel you usually get parking, sometimes a a pool and less of a feeling of not being able to come and go as you please in the day. This time I’d booked Dunston Hall just outside Norwich. The theory was that there was a pool and if it was wet, being in the city would mean more indoor activity options.
Dunston Hall turned out to be a great choice. It was a little further out than I’d expected, but it was fine for eating out – we ate out both in nearby pubs and driving into Norwich itself. The only thing is that Norwich is very expensive to park in so being able to walk to places would have been better.
Dunston Hall is a 4 star hotel and includes spa facilities, leisure and a golf club. The staff are all really friendly and helpful with most of them also talking directly to N. It’s a family friendly hotel, although we were there outside Norfolk’s school holidays, so we didn’t get any of the specific benefits. We did spot the children’s holiday activity board and it included golf, splashtime, games room, crafts, make your own pizza and more. So there’s plenty to do if you’re a family there in holiday time, who wants the children to be entertained while you enjoy the spa or golf.
There’s several areas of the hotel where the rooms are. We were in the central area, with our own room a double. There was plenty of room to be comfortable whether moving around or sitting down working. It had the biggest desk/dressing table I’ve ever seen.
The room was quite hot, as hotels so often are, although there was a fan and the window opened which I always like. The bed was comfy and basic tea/coffee and biscuits were provided. No hot chocolate though which was a shame as I don’t drink tea or coffee. The hotel does have signs up saying’kids sleeping, please keep noise to a minimum after 9pm’. However the people next to use were obviously deaf, because each night between 9.50 to 11.20 their television was on loud for the news.
The bathroom was nice – I’d quite like a bathroom decorated the same way. The only downside was the lack of power in the showers. We were on the 2nd floor so I don’t know if being on a lower floor would make a difference. Poor showers in hotels are something you usually just have to live with.
The aim has been to go swimming every day because I wanted to get N swimming on his back. What I liked was there’s no restriction when children can use the pool. It didn’t quite work like that because N was ill while we were away. We only used the pool once. It didget busy but there was a lane set up for serious swimming, deck chairs, plus sauna, steam room and jacuzzi as well as the rest of the pool. It was also handy that the lockers were electric (although I did forget to check which number locker we had used!), and you could borrow towels from the leisure club.
Apart from breakfast we didn’t eat in the hotel. There is the restaurant and a bar serving meals, but the choices weren’t my type of thing and were very expensive as expected.
Breakfast however, was very good. There was a choice of cereals, yoghurts/fruits, continental meats and cheese, pastries and muffins, full english breakfast, pancakes and waffles. You can also order other options including superfoods for an a la carte premium. It was hard to choose each morning. But everything we ate was delicious. Except the orange juice which tasted like water with a bit of juice in. Not good, so we stuck to apple juice. I always opt for bed & breakfast when going away. Adding it onto our booking only cost about £5 more for the week, compared with paying £8.50 each per day!
We didn’t make use of the bar, but there was a lovely view over the grounds, and there’s also the golf club bar as an option. Never once did the hotel feel crowded, even though there was a coachload of old people staying over the same time as us (I presume we were next to one of them given the tv volume).
The reception staff were helpful in trying to answer our questions about where the nearest park was. And the leisure centre staff explained how everything worked too. It seemed like the hotel really did run well, and the staff loved being around the people staying there.
As a blogger, it was really handy having good wifi. I only needed to login once the first time, and there was no usage limit. The hotel had a lot of company meetings and events on, so there’s a lot of business people around. We didn’t find it a clash being a family amongst the elderly and the business workers. The first couple of days there were some families with babies staying and there were plenty of high chairs available in the restaurant, then some families with older children were staying later in the week. So they obviously cater well for all ages.
It was certainly a more luxurious and comfortable stay than the childhood caravan stays we used to do in Norfolk.
Have you visited Norfolk? What sort of places do you look to stay in?
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