Driving through the 150 acres of scenic parkland on the approach to Dunston Hall (part of the QHotels Group) it’s hard to believe that you are only 3 miles from the centre of Norwich with its theatres, bars and busy nightlife. Having recently undergone a £2million refurbishment, this Elizabethan-style mansion built in 1859 has been lovingly restored to all its former glory, offering guests a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The house itself wouldn’t be out of place in a period drama, you could almost hear the hooves of the horses as they pull the elegant carriage past the feature fountain to the imposing front door.
The reception area is light and airy, with comfy chairs and sofas, a mix of modern and traditional, and a feature fireplace that on a cold winters day roaring away, would be the perfect place to sit and read the newspapers.
Check in completed, we headed to the lounge bar for a light lunch before exploring our room and the rest of the hotel. The dark wood bar speaks of grandeur, as does the paintings that adjourn the walls. Walk down a couple of steps into the conservatory area and you are met with a complete contrast, exposed brickwork, light blues and greys, sunlight filtering in from every corner and gorgeous views over the extensive gardens, makes this room a great space for coffee, cake, lunch or drinks.
The hotel offers a selection of different room types, Classic, Deluxe and Suites. Deluxe rooms have larger seating areas than the Classic, with some having four-poster beds. Suites are the epitome of style and luxury with stunning views across the 150 acres of grounds and then there are some original attic rooms with low beams and period features. All rooms offer complimentary Wi-Fi and tea and coffee making facilities.
Time to make our way over to the leisure club and dip (literally) our feet in the pool, lounge on the day beds and indulge in the bubbling water of the Jacuzzi – Hubbie was a little more adventurous than me and he spent an hour or so in the fully equipped gym before joining me to relax and unwind in the steam room – And if you fancy a bit of footie during your stay (playing not watching) There’s always the full size football pitch that was created with the help of Head Groundsman at Norwich City Football Club, Gary Kemp.
All this relaxing had made us hungry, so we headed back to the main house to get ready for dinner – Dinner is served in the Brasserie Bar and Grill, an informal dining space with exposed brickwork, high ceilings, dark wood furniture and soft lighting.
We began our dining experience with a glass of wine and warm bread rolls, whilst pursuing the menu – Choices made we sat back and enjoyed the ambience of the room – Starters were prawn and crayfish salad and salted cod croquettes – the salad was light and fresh and the croquettes certainly didn’t disappoint. Steak was the choice for both of us for mains, and was cooked exactly as requested (medium – rare and medium – well done).
I decided to opt out of dessert and share hubbie’s cheese board (although I’m not sure he was happy with that!)
After a restful nights sleep, breakfast the next morning was buffet style and certainly filled us up ready for the day ahead – which for was a day of exploring the city of Norwich itself.
Dunston Hall is an oasis hidden away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With its on site golf course, leisure facilities, bars and restaurant you can do as much or as little a you like, making it the ideal choice for a leisure break in Norfolk.
Prices in September for 2 people in a Classic room including breakfast start from £123. Prices in September for 2 people in a Suite including breakfast start from £152.