I’d wanted to visit Suffolk for a few years, but this time struggled to find availability in hotels, or places that were near enough to towns or plenty of options for eating out in the evenings. It seems that most places are out in the sticks, whereas we prefer to be able walk out to a restaurant in the evening. In the end we decided on staying at The Hatfield Hotel, Lowestoft, on of the Best Western hotel group.
The big sellers were family rooms which were huge, free parking off road, and right on the sea front. I also got the best deal booking direct and signing up to their Best Western newsletter etc. Nobrainer especially as I was booking within a few weeks of travelling.
We found the hotel easily enough, and it’s handy that there’s private parking just across from the hotel. You just enter your registration number on the screens in reception to get your permit for your stay. There was one day we came back mid afternoon and the car park was full, luckily as we were driving out to find somewhere else to park, I spotted someone else leaving.
The receptionist was really friendly, and helpful as she provided us with a map I requested, and pointed out places to eat and walking distances.
Like many Best Westerns, The Hatfield Hotel could do with a lick of paint to spruce it up in particular outside. The bonus is that it’s right on the esplanade and we were lucky to get a family room overlooking the sea. The downside, we were right above the restaurant and bar terrace. We could hear the talking and chatter, but it wasn’t too bad. No loud music, and there was more noise from people clumping up the stairs near our room, or creaking floorboards from next door.
We had a family room, with a double and 2 single beds. And it was huge with loads of empty space. There were 2 chairs, although no table, just a dressing table/desk, open wardrobe and usual coffee tray (no hot chocolate although we didn’t need it with the heat). There was also a fan supplied thank god, as the room was a sauna. Unfortunately there’s no air conditioning in rooms (the restaurant, bar and downstairs was much more pleasant). Our windows only opened a small amount, presumably due to overlooking the roof, so we just couldn’t get any air in.
My bed was fairly firm which was good, and there were plenty of pillows. N didn’t complain about either of the single beds, although there were no bedside lights in that part of the room.
The bathroom was fine, with a shower over the bath. The shower was really powerful though which was nice. We did report the seriously wonky toilet seat on leaving.
Good things were the (wonky) suitcase stand, full length mirror, fan and large tv on the wall which you could angle easily. Downsides were only 4 plug sockets, one which was permanently on with the fan. It took us a while to find the second set of two, while I was panicking what we would charge when with only two!
Breakfast in hotels still don’t seem to be back to buffet, so it’s a bit sad. So far, it’s also meant for us, less choice (we like to see what we’re choosing), and more waste (because if we see it before putting it on our plate, we’d avoid anything we didn’t like the look at, or could portion control for what we wanted to eat). It was a bit disappointing.
The local sausage was delicious, and we’d both happily have eaten more. The bacon was ok if a bit overcooked and tough. But the scrambled egg was way too salty so neither of us could eat much of it. The next day I fed that back, and was told they could make non seasoned scrambled egg, but I thought it was just too much hassle to ask them for a bit of pepper and no salt. Instead I asked for poached egg – I ended up with 2, both yolks were solid. It wasn’t a good egg. Third morning I had fried egg which was ok. Their hashbrowns were tasty.
There was a good choice of juices, but no jug of water on the first day, so we asked for a glass of tap water. None appeared. There was water put out the second day
We chose our continental breakfast and the waitress had said she’d come back to get our hot order. But that took ages, until we were finished our pastries. So we then had a long wait for our hot breakfast. I couldn’t understand why it was so long, because others arriving later got theirs really fast. We weren’t the first in the restaurant either, so it couldn’t have been because they weren’t ready for us. The second morning was much better as our order was taken earlier, but it still took a long time.
Breakfast is in the restaurant, but the hot breakfast menu to choose from was like a cheap cafe menu. In our rooms it advertises a totally different choice of breakfasts including smashed avocado etc, but none of those seem to be on offer in the restaurant. Bizarre.
All the staff at breakfast have been nice and friendly though.
Tips if you’re looking for somewhere different to eat out in Lowestoft
As well as the free parking, there’s also free wifi in rooms. My phone didn’t like it much, it kept dropping out, but on my laptop it was fine.
The restaurant and bar LT1 was a nice place to be able to sit and enjoy the sea view. There’s the inside restaurant area where your order is taken at the table; if you eat in the bar area you order at the bar. There’s a nice terrace, and lower terrace area – helpful for esplanade access if you’re going to the beach.
We ate in the restaurant the first night to make things easy. Menus were a bit confusing because there was a menu in the bar – I think it might have been for room service. But then the online menu didn’t match that or the smaller menus in the restaurant itself. Meals were pub menus type, but not that much choice.
N chose a beef steak burger (amusingly he was confused thinking it was going to be an actual steak in the bun!), I chose a halloumi burger. I asked for chips for his, but then changed it to fries when I ordered mine with fries. But despite the person taking orders changing it, he still got chips. Didn’t matter that much, although his burger was cremated. He didn’t want to have to wait for a replacement while I ate mine, so I had to chop off the top part which was inedible. My halloumi burger was ok, not as flavoursome as I’d expected, but fine for the price.
Overall verdict of The Hatfield Hotel
If you’re not fussy about your English breakfast, and aren’t looking for luxury, then The Hatfield Hotel does the job. You can’t beat the location being right next to the beach, and having free parking is great when you’ve got children with all their stuff.
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