Woodbridge: Historic Seckford Hall hotel now under new management

THE new man behind the helm of one of Suffolk’s leading hotels has spoken of his vision to continue its family ethos and build on its impressive reputation.

Michael and Christina Bunn left four-star Seckford Hall, near Woodbridge, on Friday.

The couple’s long term home has now been bought by a family in London, who wish to remain anonymous.

Mark Suddes, of Stratford St Mary, near Ipswich, has been installed as the new operations director for the 32-bedroom hotel and is in charge of its day to day operation.

Yesterday the 37-year-old, who has three young children, said he was excited by the challenge ahead and was full of praise for the way Mr and Mrs Bunn had established the business.

“It will still be very much a family run hotel,” Mr Suddes said. “That’s central to it all. Michael and Christina’s family grew up here - their children and grandchildren - and people are used to seeing them about.

“That is something we are very keen to continue. My family were here during the weekend and they were chatting with guests and my children were playing with people in the swimming pool. That’s very important.

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“We will still be a family run business in a hugely competitive national industry. That’s key.”

Mr Suddes has a lot of experience in the hospitality industry having previously worked at Belstead Brook in Ipswich as well as other hotels in Marks Tey and most recently Hereford. However he was becoming tired on the long commute and the hours spent away from his family.

He said guests to Seckford Hall would see no immediate changes as they were keen to build on the foundations that were laid by Mr and Mrs Bunn,

“Michael and Christina have done a fantastic job and from that point of view it’s business as usual,” he said. “They were hugely respected by the team and were given a great send off.”

However Mr Suddes confirmed certain projects were in the pipeline to ensure Seckford Hall can move into the 21st century.

These include a re-configuration of some of the bedrooms and redecoration of some areas of the hotel.

Mr Suddes said they would also be sourcing as many of the ingredients used in the hotel restaurant as locally as possible - promoting and supporting local producers and retailers.

“There are very few luxury four star hotels in Suffolk,” he continued. “The new owners don’t have any experience within the hotel industry - [buying] it was very much a lifestyle decision and an investment. That’s why I’ve been brought in. It’s a fantastic business that has an opportunity to grow and we’re all looking forward to the challenge.”