There are times in life when we all yearn to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and retreat to a countryside haven where we can eat homemade pies and take hearty walks through quaint historic villages.
The newly refurbished Swan in the medieval Suffolk village of Lavenham is one of these rare escapist gems – a true home away from home.
I visited in the spring with a city-dwelling friend in need of relaxation and pampering. We were instantly in awe of the black and white timber beams of the building and slightly intrigued by the scent of homestyle food wafting towards us from the hotel restaurant.
Our bedroom was cozy and traditional, yet with essential modern touches such as free wifi and a flatscreen TV, along with a sumptuous king sized bed, luxury Temple Spa branded toiletries, iron complete with board and pair of fabulously fluffy white bathrobes – essential hotel room items in my opinion.
After lengthly showers in the chic bathroom we slipped into our dinner dresses before making our way down to The Swan’s glam yet understated Gallery Restaurant – a popular culinary marvel in the local area.
Starters of smooth chicken liver parfait and brown crab rillette adorned with coriander and caviar teased our fussy palates before our mains arrived majestically at the table.
I devoured a hefty fillet steak accompanied with king oyster mushrooms and caramelised onions whilst my food-loving chum merrily worked her way though the perfectly cooked duck – served alongside a pile of emerald green pak-choi, ginger and tangy rhubarb, which perfectly cut through the warm oriental flavours.
Puddings were gleefully enjoyed in our room and consisted of a shamelessly large cheese board and a moist (don’t you just love that word) banana cake served with candied walnuts and a ludicrously creamy whipped custard.
After a food-filled slumber we woke the next day just in time for breakfast (again served in the Gallery restaurant) and were pleasantly surprised by the bountiful vegetarian option on offer. Eggs (served any style) were nestled on a warm plate next to slivers of creamy avocado, seasoned mushrooms, grilled tomato and lashings of both white and brown toast.
Our last moments at The Swan were spent galavanting around the spa – a dreamy cavern of inviting relaxation areas complete with aromatic herbal teas, plush treatment rooms and a pretty garden featuring a bubbling jacuzzi – gloriously heated to bathtub temperatures all year round.
We opted for a joint body treatment during our stay, which involved being blissfuly exfoliated and massaged with natural oils in the same room by two expert therapists. The high end, natural spa products used by the therapists smelt like floral country meadows and evoked a forgotten ability to relax deep within our London-hailing, weary selves.
We will most certainly return…
The Swan at Lavenham Hotel and Spa, High Street, Lavenham, Suffolk, CO10 9QA