I’d had my eye on this place for some time, so when I was invited to stay at the Salthouse Harbour in Ipswich, I was a tad excited. It’s sultry, boutique style was right up my street.
As I pulled into the car park, only to find there wasn’t a space, my heart sank. In this situation, what would be the best outcome – apart from a space opening up to fit me in? An approachable man donning a Salthouse Harbour jacket appeared and asked us to leave the keys at reception so that he could move the car once a space became available, and then he proceeded to carry our luggage inside. I loved this place already.
Inside, the staff were equally as friendly, and it was possibly the most inviting reception area I have seen. Comfy armchairs and a lime green Chesterfield sat in front of floor to ceiling windows overlooking the marina at Neptune Quay. Contemporary artwork and chunky tables also dressed the space. Before we had even ventured further into the hotel, there were so many fascinating eccentricities to digest. There was an underlying resonance of industrial urbanity that immediately charmed me.
I’m pretty sure I stopped breathing for several minutes when I entered our room. There were so many show-stopping features to take in, my eyes must have darted around my head several times before they settled down. Even through the rain, the view was something else, with yacht masts reaching for the horizon. The wallpaper was striking and had an unusual mosaic effect, which I was drawn to touch, and an oversized bed with quirky lamps that resembled poodles either side of it. But the real centrepiece of the room was the large copper bath, deliberately placed overlooking the marina. The ensuite bathroom had a walk in, rain head shower and luxurious Temple Spa products. Everything about our room was sleek, swanky and extremely cool.
With just enough time to freshen up and make the place feel like our own (by emptying the contents of my bag onto the bed), we strutted down to the Eaterie for afternoon tea.
Centred around the bar, industrial pillars, waltzer style seating areas and exposed red brick walls created a laid back atmosphere for dining and socialising. Only once I was seated did I notice the heads of a bear, rhino and unicorn with long plaited mane hung from the wall.
Afternoon tea was divine, with three tiers of sandwiches, cakes, cheese scones and scones with clotted cream and jam, we were suitably satiated and, needless to say, we didn’t succeed in devouring everything on the stand. Thankfully there was no awkward moment of having to ask for a doggy bag, as the staff had pre-empted our request and offered a much more desirable sounding ‘Goody Box’.
With not much space left for anything other than a Baileys and some peppered cashew nuts in the evening, I retreated to the comfort of our room and sunk into the copper bath whilst enjoying the meditative views. I slept like a baby and awoke with a child’s enthusiasm on Christmas morning when I remembered where I was and the views that awaited me.
By breakfast time, my stomach had made enough room for a full Suffolk Grill, which was delicious, with not a smattering of grease in sight. A perfect end to a perfect stay.