Hotel Review: The Swan Hotel, Southwold in Suffolk
Southwold is one of the Suffolk coast’s much-loved seaside getaways. Perched on the east coast of England, this charming town welcomes visitors with its own working lighthouse, a sandy beach and not forgetting the ever so ‘modest’ beach huts, including one that’s up for grabs for an impressive £150,000.
After a multimillion-pound refurb, the striking Georgian facade of The Swan Hotel remains a highlight of the town. Lovingly restored by the owners of the Suffolk Brewery, Adnams, the hotel presides over Southwold’s marketplace and is now one of the most exciting places to stay in the region.
With creative help from Shoreditch design studio, Project Orange, the hotel has pitched itself well beyond the ordinary. The 35 bedrooms are divided into three different categories: Outstanding, Excellent and Fabulous.
They showcase a combination of contemporary and industrial elements, through sumptuous velvet sofas, appealing geometric wallpapers and a vibrant colour palette.
We arrive at reception slightly early but with good reason. Who needs to eat out for lunch when you can have your very own Adnams themed picnic waiting for you?
The traditional hamper is full of fresh sandwiches, healthy salads, blueberry tarts, sweet and savoury scones and chocolate brownies… not forgetting the Adnams G&T’s in a can, just to wash everything down with.
Admittedly, the weather isn’t good, but regardless, we stroll on down to the promenade under a large umbrella and take shelter in one of the lollipop-coloured beach huts. It’s quintessentially Suffolk.
Back at the hotel, my ‘outstanding’ bedroom for the night is room number 15, as mentioned it’s a dreary day but frankly, who cares when you have a room like this. Views overlook the hustle and bustle of the market; you can even glimpse the North Sea.
The walls are stylishly painted in ‘Down Pipe’ from Farrow & Ball, with accents of lime green, fuchsia pink and baby blue thrown in to lift the mood.
My husband and I sit by the window watching the world go by, playing a game of chequers and sipping on a complimentary bottle of the multi-award winning Adnams Copperhouse Gin, kindly left for us to enjoy by the team.
It’s getting darker and the rain now hammers against the tall sash windows adorned in neutral linen fabrics. Despite the dark coloured walls it’s still warm and cosy – my eyes fixate to the glow from the demijohn glass lamps either side of the four-poster bed.
This emperor king size bed is no doubt the focal point of the room topped with a double-sprung mattress, a goose-and duck-down duvet and no less than ten pillows! My kind of bed!
We prepare for dinner at The Still Room. The restaurant is another world away from the crisp white tablecloths and dark red walls it once wore.
It takes its name from the small-batch distillery situated just a few meters away from the hotel which has influenced the design with features such as the stunning copper-topped cocktail bar showcasing their award-winning spirits, along with a line of crates and green bottles hanging from the ceiling in an elaborate design for pendant lighting.
The menu is a little nod to its coastal surroundings, from scallop starters to fresh fish dishes including seared Yellowfin Tuna or Scorched Mackerel.
More informal dishes, like the Battered Monkfish and Triple Cooked Chips, are available from the Tap Room menu along with Adnams’ own beers and gin.
After dinner we retire to the drawing room, a great area to sit and contemplate. We sit by the fireplace on impressive emerald green velvet sofas; surrounded by bold blue and white wallpaper.
We head back up to room 15, for what I could only class as ‘the best night’s sleep I’d had in ages’, it could have been the sound of the rain on the window, too much sea air, or the fact I was being hugged all night by a gigantic feather filled duvet.
The Swan has always been beloved by residents and summer visitors alike.
Would you like to know a secret? I am one of those locals. So surely that makes me the perfect critic?
I spent most weekends of my childhood waltzing around the amusement arcade, still found at the pier, armed with a Mr Whippy, gambling away 2p coins my grandparents had been collecting for me to spend during the week.
But whether you are a local or visitor, there is always something nostalgic about a return to Southwold. Perhaps it’s the wafts of the early morning hops or the freshness of the sea air, or maybe it’s just a timeless little town that somehow steals a place in your heart.
Rooms at The Swan start from £200 onwards on a bed and breakfast basis.
Address: Market Place, Southwold IP18 6EG
Phone: 01502 722186