Well, what a gorgeous place Caistor Hall is. Tucked away in a pretty, unspoilt part of the county – yet just a few miles from the heart of Norwich – the hotel has that one vital ingredient that money just can’t buy: charm.
Dating back to the 18th century, the hotel is looking forward to a bright future. With a new management team in place and a return to its original name after a brief flirtation as the Boudicca, there is a definite buzz about the place.
And why not? It is an elegant spot, lovingly restored, with masses of space for whatever you fancy – whether it is a stylish afternoon tea, Sunday lunch with the family, a wedding reception or an office party.
There is very much a country house feel to the place. Original features such as high ceilings, sash windows, marble fireplaces, wooden floors and decorative coving remain but there are contemporary light fittings, furniture, and art work. Heritage paint colours complement the Hall’s natural Georgian elegance.
You enter into the light and airy Palm Court, home to a huge chandelier, where you might have a pre-dinner drink or morning coffee and where wedding ceremonies are often held. A large bar, all shiny copper, is now at the heart of the hotel. Norfolk Raider cider is on sale and the drinks offering is under review. Let’s hope to see local gins, beers and more available – and it must be the place for a challenging cocktail list!
The former ballroom is an elegant restaurant, with a simply enormous ornate mirror throwing out wonderful reflections. Head chef Olly Rigden is creating both an a la carte menu and a bar menu, each featuring local suppliers, and aiming for a modern British, seasonal feel. Expect everything from classic fish and chips to Norfolk lobster and ribeye steak.
The English Whisky Library is the place for quiet contemplation and maybe a wee dram nightcap, while the soft pink Rose Room, a very ‘girlie’ spot, is just right for afternoon tea.
There are two other rooms which can be used for various purposes, including functions and conferences, so there are lots of options available.
The large adjoining coach house, which many will know as a great entertaining venue, is mid-renovation, with hopes running high that it will be ready for Christmas high jinx.
Up a dramatic curved staircase are 21 bedrooms, including two suites which are individually decorated, and several have room for children, too.
The hotel is set in 32 acres of mature grounds, where plenty of outdoor tables and chairs give you the chance to soak up some late summer sunshine – and where children can let off a bit of steam.
Caistor Hall is the perfect choice for wedding celebrations. It holds all necessary licences, and there is a large marquee in the garden for bigger celebrations. Exclusivity is guaranteed and Gemma Poole is the very friendly wedding supremo so you’ll have her reassuring help and advice. ‘Bridal parties tend to take over the whole hotel – it works really well for them as it is just like a lovely house party,’ she says.
As you’d expect, all is being done to comply with current Covid requirements, and there is an air of calm, so very needed at present! Staff are attentive but not overpowering and the hall itself wraps you in its very warm embrace.
Plans are underway for parties, meals, festive packages and more. Watch this space for full details.