When you plan a luxury weekend getaway, Ipswich might not be the first destination that comes to mind, but you might be surprised what this town has to offer. A spectacular marina with magnificent yachts, abundance of fresh, locally produced food and a luxury hotel in the centre of it all that impresses on every level. The Salthouse Harbour Hotel is located right at the town’s waterfront and offers the best view of the Ipswich Marina.
Ipswich is considered to be the oldest town in England, but despite its age and rich history, it has a surprisingly modern look. The town’s former industrial dock was turned into a residential and commercial centre and a perfect location for a dinner and a drink. The Ipswich Marina reminded me slightly of the French Riviera, although it’s not as glamorous of course and it has its own English charm.
The Salthouse Harbour Hotel
One of the buildings that was preserved, despite the waterfront’s modernisation is the 1800 redbrick building that is now the Salthouse Harbour Hotel. A more modern building was built later on next to it, expanding the hotel with 27 rooms.
As soon as we entered the reception area of the hotel, we knew we are at a place that has an appreciation of art and design. Elegance, chic and modern art by local and worldwide famous artists like Damien Hirst, as well as lots of bold colours and a variation of furniture pieces.
All rooms offer a unique, ultra-comfortable stay and the love of art is obvious throughout the rooms as well, where you can see different artistic pieces.
During our time at the Salthouse Harbour Hotel we stayed at one of the hotel’s Sail Loft Marina rooms that had a magnificent copper bath in the room itself, with a view of the Ipswich Marina. We had to pinch ourselves.
I didn’t wait long before getting into the bath. I made a huge bubble bath, using the provided luxury spa toiletries. After a relaxing soak, we headed downstairs for dinner.
If I had to classify my food, pescatarian is probably the best term to use, although I don’t like to label my diet. So when I travel, I love trying local fresh seafood, where available. The Eaterie restaurant at the Salthouse Harbour Hotel is definitely a place where you have to try some spectacular seafood dishes. They source all of their fish from a local supplier, just 20 mins away from the hotel so it’s all super fresh and never frozen. Besides the fish, the restaurant also aims to source lots of other local produce for their interesting and unique menu.
We had the ultimate seafood dinner experience, from our starters to our main. We started with the flavourful pan fried scallops with butternut squash chips and the grilled octopus, covered in delicious broad bean salsa and aioli. Both were simply exquisite and so tender and fresh.
For our main we ordered the restaurant’s signature dish and although we were warned about its size, we were still surprised when this massive seafood platter arrived at our table that had a variety of fresh seafood. The star of it all was half a lobster and beside it there were some delicious garlic butter crevettes, local smoked salmon, oysters and a whole crab. All of this comes with a few sauces, different types of potatoes and a salad.
We were literally speechless as we didn’t say much over the next half hour while we indulged with some of the most delicious seafood we have ever tried. The freshness of it all is what made this platter epic.
I was seriously surprised and slightly worried that somehow we had space for a dessert. The finale of this amazing dinner was a soft, warm pistachio cake with apricot sorbet on the side. It was simply an amazing food experience and we enjoyed all of it while admiring the gorgeous views of the Ipswich Marina.
After an evening walk around the marina we returned to our room and took another bubble bath (we had to make the most of it!) before going into a deep, comfortable sleep. In the morning I woke up and the first thing I saw was of course the Ipswich Marina, still looking beautiful and for some reason I didn’t feel like we were in the UK, but we were actually just over an hour away from London.
After a very filling breakfast at the Eaterie, we visited Suffolk Food Hall, which is not far from the hotel and there we tried even more delicious local food. If you are keen on exploring other parts of Suffolk, you might want to visit the charming town Bury St Edmunds, where you will find the sister hotel of Salthouse Harbour – The Angel, offering the same level of exceptional comfort and food.
Eventually our romantic Ipswich Marina getaway had to come to an end and we made our way back to the busy London.
*My stay at the Salthouse Harbour Hotel was complimentary. All opinions are my own.