Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa
If you've ever bought a bottle of Copella apple juice from the supermarket, then you will have contributed to the four-star Stoke-by-Nayland resort hotel on the Suffolk-Essex border. It was founded just under two decades ago by the Peake family, who created the popular juice brand, and whose orchards surround the hotel's grounds and still provide the fruit for Copella juices.
The Peakes' original dream was to have their own golf course, and the hotel to some extent revolves its around two championship courses that still host top PGA events. But golf doesn't dominate by any means and the hotel is packed full of facilities, with plenty for non-golfers to enjoy. Above all it enjoys a lovely location at the heart of Dedham Vale AONB and within a stone's through of the delights of Constable Country; plus it is still owned and run by the second generation of the Peake family, and is all the better for still being a proper family business, with high levels of service throughout.
The buildings make the most of the hotel's beautiful surroundings, with large terraces and floor-to-ceiling windows that really invite the outside in. The public spaces have been updated with taste and style, and the guest rooms are spacious and comfy, with a slightly retro feel to the furnishings. They all have satellite TVs, coffee-and tea-making facilities and wifi; the majority have a/c, and the deluxe rooms have mineral water, robes and slippers – and most importantly great vistas over one of the hotel’s four lakes and golf courses. They have also added a number of beautiful self-catering lodges deep in the grounds.
The hotel is the perfect spot for an indolent weekend break in the country. Along with the two golf courses, it has a state-of-the-art gym, a spa with lovely indoor pool and hot tub and a range of blissful treatments on offer, and a well-equipped shop selling food and drink, clothes and gifts. The hotel also boasts arguably some of the biggest and best wedding facilities in the county.
The bar has a busy vibe, and is a cosy spot with an open log fire that leads through to the next-door restaurant. This serves high-end food at moderate prices and has a large terrace overlooking the golf course which you can enjoy on balmy summer evenings. The bar also does burgers and lots of other well-cooked but comforting fare if you want something more hearty.
Finally, the hotel has won several green awards and is virtually self-sufficient in energy, with an off-site anaerobic digester, two bio-mass boilers, solar panels and other gadgetry – something not many hotels of this size can claim.
Double rooms £100–£160 a night – although basic rates don't include breakfast, there are often deals available.
Open all year.
80 rooms in total, ranging from standard ‘Club’ doubles (no views) to deluxe double or twin rooms and junior suites (with views). They have plenty of rooms large enough for a young family – the deluxe twins have two large beds, there’s one triple, while the junior suites have sofa beds. Plus there are 10 self-catering lodges a short walk or shuttle ride away from the main building.
Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa, Keepers Lane Leavenheath Suffolk CO6 4PZ
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