|The Norfolk Mead Hotel - Norfolk
Cotishall, Norwich, Norfolk NR12 7DN
Review by Catherine Cooper
Not every hotel offers a rowing boat moored on their own stretch of river for guests’ use but then Norfolk Mead isn’t just any hotel. Owners Jill and Don Fleming describe it in their brochure as “the perfect antidote to real life” and as we head up the long drive to the secluded Georgian Country House, I can see exactly what they mean.
Norfolk Mead is set amongst the Norfolk Broads and is close to miles of huge, uncrowded sandy beaches. It has 13 rooms including two cottages - each room is different but there are common themes – gorgeous-smelling fresh lavender from the garden left in containers in each one, soft, waffle robes and a Norfolk Mead teddy bear. As we have the children with us we are staying in Mead Court Cottage which has two bedrooms, kitchen, a nautical-themed bathroom stuffed with Neal’s Yard toiletries, a downstairs living room and its only little private yard.
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Rooms in the main part of the hotel rooms include a four-poster suite, the Jacuzzi Suite which has, yes, a jacuzzi but also a large private terrace and two smaller but very light and cheery rooms which were inspired by beach huts. The Garden Suite is very romantic with its own front door, a little downstairs sitting room and bathroom and little private terrace.
The eight-acre garden is fantastic – close to the hotel the gardens are beautifully kept. The walled garden has a huge, old-fashioned swimming pool, a pond with carp, flower and herb beds and tables for early evening drinks. As you approach the River Bure the garden becomes wilder but small paths have been cut through the wild flowers and meadow grass so by the time you reach the little rowing boat and the hotel’s private moorings, it all feels very Wind in the Willows.
The restaurant, (read our review here) overseen by Head Chef Mark Sayers serves mainly local, seasonal food and is excellent. Both dinner and breakfast were excellent – the children were especially delighted with their pancakes and maple syrup.
The hotel has a cosy, family feel – Jill tells me she wants her guests to feel as if they are staying at a friend’s country house and she is very hands-on – taking drinks orders in the evening and making sure champagne being sent up to honeymooners has a rose on the tray. You can’t help but feel welcome when you arrive and entirely relaxed when you leave.