5th November 2017
By the Sea at the Brudenell Hotel in Aldeburgh, Suffolk
There are not many places where you can luxuriate in a hot bath while listening to the waves ebbing and flowing on the beach below. Or breakfast in your room watching the sun rise over the sea beyond your window. At the Brudenell Hotel in Aldeburgh, Suffolk I discovered I could do both. My room was lovely and had everything I needed. It overlooked the beach and, with the bathroom window slightly open, I could hear the splash of waves and the crunch of people walking on the pebbles from the bedroom.
I could have relaxed in my room for hours listening to the sounds of the sea and sipping peppermint tea but the friendly receptionist had recommended the short walk to the Martello Tower along the promenade and I decided to go and explore. It was early evening and as I made my way back to the Brudenell I paused to watch the sun setting over the River Alde. I could also see that the hotel had a double aspect and some of the rooms overlooked the river.
That evening I dined in the cosy hotel restaurant which is an extension of the bar. Set on two levels it is possible to find a quiet table for dinner. The restaurant serves a good variety of fresh sea food. Prawn cocktail was my choice as my starter – a nostalgic choice but a good one as it was fresh and tasty. I followed my starter with grilled fresh sea bream and indulged with caramelised pear and salted caramel ice cream to finish.
I was lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves below. As the bathroom was next to the bedroom I could leave the window open all night without creating a draught in the bedroom. I did order room service for my breakfast and watched a spectacular sun rise from the comfortable couch in my room. But I did not linger long as the Brudenell, situated at the southern end of the town’s long promenade, is ideally placed for an early morning walk. It occupies a lovely Victorian building that was once the seaside residence of James Brudenell, Lord Cardigan and the seventh earl of the Brudenell family. It is perfect for families who can take their children onto the beach to burn off some energy before tackling a substantial breakfast in the hotel restaurant.
The Brudenell is part of the TA hotel collection which includes another hotel further along the sea front – the White Lion Hotel. All the properties in this collection are based in Suffolk and the company prides itself on supporting the county and promoting local produce. During my stay I had dinner at the Sea Spice restaurant, one of two restaurants in the White Lion Hotel. This small atmospheric restaurant serves authentic Indian cuisine using local produce. It was buzzing when I arrived and I could see why it was the favourite restaurant of the night receptionist at the Brudenell.
I had a delicious starter of spicy hand-dived scallops – the waiter’s recommendation. I chose a free range butter chicken with boiled rice and nan bread. Both courses were excellent. The butter chicken, a favourite dish of mine was as good as any I have eaten in India. And believe me, I have tried many versions, particularly in Delhi where this Indian curry. first achieved renown. I was not surprised when I met the manager, Anupam Seth, to discover that he comes from Shimla. We shared some memories over my dessert, Indian ice-cream or kulfi, as it is a place I have visited several times.
On the morning I left I could not resist a final stroll early morning stroll along the beach before breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Once I was packed and ready to go I was enticed into the hotel’s snug lounge for a coffee and a final view of the sea. I thoroughly enjoyed an excellent cappuccino accompanied by some buttery shortbread while watching the comings and goings outside. It was too chilly to sit on the lovely terrace in front of the hotel but I was warmed by an autumnal sun creeping through the window.
The hotel had achieved its objective and had delivered a great experience and one I would remember for a long time.