Suffolk’s Retreat East is Sunday Times’ most romantic hotel

A Suffolk hotel that is regularly visited by celebrities has been recognised as the best place for a romantic getaway in the UK.

Retreat East, found in Hemingstone near Ipswich, was named as the romantic hotel of the year by The Times and The Sunday Times.

It comes as part of the newspapers’ Best Places to Stay 2023 guide, which was published on Friday.

The national newspapers chose Retreat East based on four categories: rooms and suites, food and drink, nearby amenities and location.

It scored an eight out of ten in all categories apart from rooms and suites, which was given a score of nine.

Describing the rooms, the newspapers said: “The accommodation ranges from en suite doubles to two-bedroom barns with living room-kitchens and a four-bedroom, 16th-century farmhouse.

Ipswich Star: One of the unique rooms at Retreat EastOne of the unique rooms at Retreat East (Image: Retreat East)

“The interiors are variations on the same cosy, comfy, country-chic theme, but features vary: the two-bed Cow House has an in-room bath and a wood-burning stove, for instance.

Ipswich Star: Accommodation at Retreat EastAccommodation at Retreat East (Image: Retreat East)

“The newest options are the six (soon to be eight) glamorous Elements Spa Barns, which have cocktail cabinets, four-poster beds, wood-burners and outdoor baths strung with festoon lighting.”

Also in Suffolk, The Angel Inn in Stoke-By-Nayland was named as the best place to stay in the East of England.

Giving Retreat East an overall score of eight, enough to name it the ‘Romantic Hotel of the Year’, the article read: “Dominic Richards, a graduate of the Prince of Wales’s Institute of Architecture, is to thank for this luxury escape outside Coddenham.

Ipswich Star: Retreat East, which has been named Romantic Hotel of the Year by The Times and Sunday TimesRetreat East, which has been named Romantic Hotel of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times (Image: Retreat East)

“Spotting the restorative potential in a derelict dairy farm on 35 acres of Suffolk countryside, he originally launched it in 2017 as a private members’ club.

“Since Covid, however, it has reopened as a hotel, and new-build barns with silvered larch walls and zinc roofs have been added to the original repurposed farm buildings.

“The ethos is admirably sustainable, extending from the on-site borehole and sewage plant to chef Adam Spicer’s fantastic kitchen.

“Youthful staff ensure a sociable atmosphere in the Great Barn, which spills out onto a sun terrace.

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