The Alma Inn and Dining Rooms in Harwich, Essex has been announced as the winner of the B&B and Guest House of the Year award, sponsored by Tiptree, at the East of England Tourism Awards 2021-2022.

The Alma Inn and Dining Rooms has been a staple in the community since the 1850s, serving locals, sailors and soldiers alike. The building itself dates back to the 16th century and even has links to the Mayflower.

Owner Nick May purchased the Alma 11 years ago and turned the closed down pub into one of the busiest in Harwich; serving locals (who feel more like family to the team), visitors to the historic town and even sailors arriving at the quay.

Visitors can enjoy bar service and locally-sourced food seven days a week and the building also has five comfortable guest bedrooms with luxury linens, flat-screen TVs, Nespresso machines and more.

The judges said that they could not fault the friendliness and service provided at the Alma Inn and Dining Rooms. Staff are always smiling and are happy to chat to guests.

Nick May, owner of The Alma Inn and Dining Rooms, said of winning the award: “It’s amazing, I’m astounded. A big thank you to the team and the hard work they’ve put in over the last few years; there were tricky times, but we are now the finest in the East of England.”

About the sponsor

The Wilkin family has been farming at Tiptree, Essex, since 1757 and making quality preserves there since 1885. Tiptree grows a wide range of traditional English fruits and uses them to make conserves, condiments, and other treats in its nut-free factory by the farm.

Tiptree received its first Royal Warrant from George V in 1911, and remains Royal Warrant holders to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Every member of staff is part of an Employee Benefit Trust, giving each a keen interest in the future of the business.

The finalists

Argyll House Bed & Breakfast – Highly Commended

Argyll House in Westleton, Suffolk dates from 1749 and went through a total renovation before opening its doors in May 2021.
The judges said that the owners, Kate and Oliver Trethewey, were extremely welcoming and true advocates of the local area.

Suenos Guesthouse – Highly Commended

The only five-star rated guest accommodation in Southend-on-sea, Essex, Suenos Guesthouse aims to bring a luxury, adult-only offering to the area.

The judges praised the guest house’s great seafront views, along with the warm welcome offered by owners Teresa and Neil Jones.

Downham Hall

Originally purchased in 2017, Downham Hall in Essex has been converted into a high-end B&B by Andrew and Christina Metcalfe, and offers a good night sleep and excellent food in a peaceful setting.

The judges said that the staff’s ‘nothing is too much trouble’ attitude contributed in a big way to creating a positive experience.