The Crown and Castle, Orford has been named this year's winner of the Small Hotel of the Year award, sponsored by John Doe Carpets and Furniture, at the East of England Tourism Awards 2022-2023.

Located next to the 12th century Orford Castle in Suffolk, The Crown and Castle is a 21-bedroom hotel with charming views and a peaceful atmosphere.

It was purchased by The Hotel Folk in 2016, becoming the sixth hotel to join the group’s portfolio of unique Suffolk properties.

Since then, the group has worked to put their stamp on the property by bringing in a new chef in 2019 and carrying out works to emphasise the best features of the restaurant and rooms.

Included in the hotel’s 21 bedrooms are 10 detached garden rooms, of which five are dog friendly. Guests will find unexpected splashes of colour and interesting artwork throughout the hotel, which add to its unique charm.

Appealing to the more active holidaymakers, The Crown and Castle has introduced a bike store for guests bringing their bikes as well as four electric bikes for rent.

The judges praised the “impressive” attention to detail at The Crown and Castle and said that the hotel had a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere that made it feel like “visiting an ‘old friend”.

Team members were said to be “chatty and friendly” whilst also being “highly professional” and the judges felt that the small touches provided were “lovely”.

When it comes to the food, the judges said that the “emphasis on locally sourced food was particularly impressive”, with much of the produce sourced from Orford itself, and this “together with the enthusiastic and knowledgeable team members made it a truly memorable experience”.

When asked how it felt to win the award, owner David Scott said: “It’s an amazing achievement for our wonderful team. The last few years haven’t been without challenge, but we have kept pushing forwards and continued with our philosophy of offering fantastic hospitality to our guests in this wonderful part of the county.”

He added that the hotel will “continue to aim to be the best in our category” moving forward.

The finalists

Silver - The Grove Cromer

The Grove in Cromer, Norfolk has been owned by the Gravelings family since 1936.

The hotel offers 16 bedrooms, six self-catering cottages and glamping yurts and guests can also enjoy the Massage Hut therapy studio, swimming pool, a two-AA Rosette restaurant and the new seasonal Sundown restaurant, which serves Norfolk tapas and pizzas.

The judges praised the “lovely ambience” and “immaculate” rooms at The Grove and said that the staff “couldn’t do enough for us”.

They added that “the quality and presentation of the meals was superb”.

Bronze - The Bildeston Crown

Located in Bildeston, Suffolk, the Bildeston Crown is a 15th century former coaching inn owned by the family-run Nedging Hall Estate. It has three AA Rosettes and offers 12 en suite double and twin rooms and a locally sourced food offering.

The judges said The Crown has “characteristic charm” and there is “attention to detail” throughout.

The judges also praised the “helpful” team and they felt that the food “was of an excellent standard” with an “ample selection of dishes to chose from”.


About the sponsor

John Doe Carpets and Furniture’s 45,000 square foot superstore offers the best in quality flooring and furniture across Norfolk and Suffolk.

From carpets, lighting and sofas to curtains, dining sets and beds, it truly houses all your home needs under one roof.

Although the store has grown over the years, the business has been careful to keep its unique family, high-street shop feel that customers have come to know and love.

Every member of the team is expertly trained to assist you with no pressure, and each takes tremendous pride in providing the premium John Doe service that the business’ reputation has been built upon since 1983.