12th June 2017
Matt Tyler from heads to Suffolk to experience the new, unique accommodation at the historic Tuddenham Mill.
Set in the beautiful Suffolk countryside, just outside Newmarket, within its own well-kept grounds, the award-winning boutique hotel and restaurant, Tuddenham Mill, has always had a first class reputation for fine food and accommodation. However its latest addition is more off-menu, offering an overnight stay that is rather different to the norm and which has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.
With 15 luxurious bedrooms and a highly-acclaimed restaurant in the main mill building, Tuddenham Mill has recently added a wholly original and unique concept by introducing five new stand-alone bedrooms to its accommodation offering. These distinctive and quirky external rooms are called “Nooks” and are set in the meadow by the mill stream providing individual, romantic and highly indulgent self-contained, cabin-style bedrooms.
Each Nook comes complete with a cosy, contemporary interior which, thanks to muted colour tones, adds to the feeling of complete restfulness and tranquillity.
Each Nook comes complete with a cosy, contemporary interior
As general manager Malcolm Wyse, explained: “The Nooks provide us with a feeling of natural growth and have brought an exciting new concept of accommodation for our guests to enjoy. The rooms are a little cosier in comparison to our existing bedrooms. However, due to their meadow positioning and countryside vista, they offer an overriding feeling of space and well-being; they also give another accommodation option for our guests, many of whom return again and again and, being very affordable, they’re yet another reason to stay.”
At first glance and from a distance the quirky rooms resemble a neat row of upturned wooden boats. Each has its own gravel path and a good expanse of decking nicely secluded by willow screening and all are fresh and squeaky clean. Once inside, the boating similarity ends sharply with maximum use being made of a relatively small space. Each Nook is packed full of the latest high-tech fittings to provide guests with everything they’d expect and more.
We stayed a few weeks ago in ‘Damsel’, a whiter-than-white room which had the deepest pile carpet, a king-sized bed, superb bedding with feather pillows and a super comfy mattress, a smart TV, WiFi, and a well-designed, compact en-suite bathroom with underfloor heating and an almost knock-you-off-your-feet power shower.
Attention to detail is evident throughout, with the housekeeping team having turned the DAB radio on before we arrived so we were greeted by soothing jazz music as we entered the room. Add in a good selection of artisan teas and coffees, accompanied by a jug of ice cold milk, the freshest, just-squeezed orange juice and made at the Mill, melt-in-the-mouth chocolate brownies plus a mini decanter of superb sloe gin and the feeling of being spoilt was well and truly complete!
My partner was very impressed with the quality of the fine cotton bed linen and the extensive array of ESPA toiletries (these things matter when you plan a break based on pampering and relaxation). Plus the luxury bathrobes were by high-end designer Missoni, the perfect chill-out attire for relaxing in a room which proved really hard to leave even if only to head to the main hotel for dinner, a short stroll back across the meadow.
Our pre-dinner drinks were taken in the early evening sun on the candle-lit decking overlooking the mill stream; two glasses of a light, crisp Sauvignon Blanc accompanied by the most amazing popcorn crackling and glorious Dingley Dell pork belly bites.
The bar, like the first floor beamed restaurant above, is open to non-residents and is clearly popular, with a good number of people enjoying a drink there on our Sunday night visit as well as an almost full complement of diners.
One feature of the stylishly cool bar was the mill’s vast water wheel, which stopped turning long ago and which is now preserved behind glass. It provides a focal point as well as a link to the past life of the building which last functioned as a working mill in the mid-50s and was converted into a restaurant in the early 70s.
Fine dining has always been a hallmark of Tuddenham Mill and award-winning head chef Lee Bye has produced a contemporary, uncomplicated à la carte menu offering a select choice of dishes for each course.
To start, I chose a rustic bowl of cauliflower soup which came with crisp shards of artichoke, apples and chives and was hearty enough to be considered a main meal in itself; this was accompanied by the softest artisan bread whilst my partner enjoyed a light and delicate chalk stream trout salad with nasturtium leaves and pickled cucumber spears, dotted with smoked black cod roe.
These two highly flavoursome and well-presented dishes were followed by the most deliciously sweet, roast glazed guinea fowl with pig cheek croquette, honeyed carrots, a puddle of nero barley and soft monk’s beard (Agretti) for me and local Suffolk lamb served pink for my partner. Again, both were stunning in terms of taste, composition and overall presentation.
Dining at Tuddenham Mill
The beef skirt and steaming dish of locally-caught mussels being served to fellow diners seriously tempted us, but our own choices proved to be good ones and definitely didn’t disappoint.
Sadly, there was no room for dessert but the options included pineapple gelato, Yorkshire garden rhubarb with Italian meringue and a board of various East Anglian cheeses and accompaniments, which would have been our choice.
Throughout our stay, the smart, well-trained and professional staff impressed with their friendly, courteous and attentive service which added to the overall enjoyable experience.
Suitably refreshed, we needed little persuasion to walk back through the meadow to our Nook and, with a table and chairs on the decking, the willow screen for privacy and seclusion, unspoilt views of the beautiful Suffolk countryside around us and star-filled skies above, we enjoyed a last glass of something chilled before heading inside and cosying down for a peaceful night’s sleep.
One Nook even has its own private, wood-fired hot tub which, I’m told, is, unsurprisingly, proving very popular.
Nook with its own private, wood-fired hot tub
The next morning we headed to the Mill’s restaurant for a superb breakfast featuring a comprehensive selection for all tastes and dietary needs. There were cereals, fruit and fruit juices, croissants, home-made muesli, yoghurt, granolas and smoothies as well as brioche, French toast with maple syrup, roast kippers, scrambled egg and salmon and more.
There was certainly no shortage of choice, however, anyone who knows me well will know that I find it hard to resist a Full English, especially one where the elements are of such high quality. My partner, who usually has much more will power than I do, found it hard to resist too and so chose the same.
Breakfast over, packing done and reluctantly heading off, we agreed that for those looking for the ultimate in relaxation, this is the place to visit.
There is also the option of including a range of treatments during your stay, with head massages, facials, manicures and pedicures soon to be available in the newly-built bespoke mini spa “Treatment Nook” or in the guest’s own bedroom.
There is plenty to tempt people here and with Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket just short drives away, the Nooks are ideally situated for anyone planning a visit to the lovely Suffolk towns and villages in the area.