Ickworth Hotel, Suffolk

Pros: Beautiful house, great rooms, lovely food, separate older kids space

Cons: Cold pool, limited public space

We arrived at Ickworth on a crisp, cold morning after a heavy snowfall. The place looked absolutely stunning, with a soft white blanket covering the lawn and heavy icicles hanging from the lobby windows. After checking in we were taken to our family large room, which was well appointed and boasted a panoramic view of the stately gardens. Our daughter slept on a fold-out sofa bed and the hotel provided a z-bed for our son. I’m happy to say they were both comfortable. The bathroom however was disappointingly small, and I wouldn’t have relished the thought of changing or bathing a baby in there.

The crèche was adequate and although the kids were happy enough to go in and said they had fun, the staff were a little indifferent when we dropped them off. At the time we were there the maximum daily stay in the crèche was two hours. It’s worth noting that the many other hotels within the Luxury Family Hotel group allow a return visit during the same day. The children did crafts, but be aware that one day we returned to find them watching TV. We were happy as long as kids were, but this might not suit all.  It’s worth noting that there was a separate playroom for older kids (7-plus) complete with table-tennis table and board games.

To get to the pool we had to leave the hotel, and gain access to a separate building around 50 yards away. I’m sure this is no problem during the summer months, but during the dead of winter it quickly became a production involving coats, scarves, gloves and wellies! Upon entering the swimming block we were greeted by two family-sized changing cubicles. It was cold, but given the harsh weather that was to be expected. Unfortunately when we went through to the lovely looking pool, we found the water cold as well. Swimmable if you kept moving, but not ideal for little ones.

Ickworth boasts impressive spa facilities. We didn’t use them this time, however the treatment list looked good and there was definitely availability during our stay.

The food was excellent. The kids supper was served the impressive conservatory. Our two were happy with the selection on offer and the staff accommodating. We arranged a babysitter through the hotel who was lovely (although a baby listening service is possible), and had an adult meal. Fredricks Restaurant is a formal dining experience, set in a wonderful spacious and impeccably decorated dining room. The menu boasted the best in modern European cuisine and we were not surprised to learn that Fredricks has been awarded two rosettes. I’m sure it is as popular with local Suffolk diners as it seemed to be with our fellow hotel guests.

We enjoyed the downstairs bar, which seemed to revel in it’s adult feel, although the drinks seemed expensive, mirroring prices one would find in London.

Overall one we would return, it was expensive, but was very stylish.

Holidaymummy rating 3.5/5