'The Benedict Cumberbatch of hotels' - Suffolk inn scoops prestigious award
PUBLISHED: 00:01 13 October 2019 | UPDATED: 06:51 13 October 2019
Staff at a picturesque Suffolk hotel are celebrating after being crowned the eastern winner in the Sunday Times Best Places to Stay list.
The Black Lion in Long Melford has scooped top spot for the east in the paper's comprehensive guide to the top 100 hotels in the country.
The 15th-century inn, which overlooks the village's charming green, was refurbished in 2017 after being acquired by the Chestnut Group - who have ten pubs and restaurants across Suffolk and Essex.
Describing the appeal of the Black Lion in its guide, published today, The Times said the venue was "a tricky-to-achieve blend of traditional and cool - the Benedict Cumberbatch of hotels".
Matt Coll, duty manager at the Black Lion, said: "We are thrilled to receive this award, we take pride in what we do here, we're passionate about Long Melford and Suffolk and we do everything we can to ensure our guests have a comfortable and memorable stay.
"A lot of tourists come here, it's a popular tourist destination, especially with Lavenham nearby. It's always a pleasure to receive anyone from all over the country and we have a few returning international guests, and you'd call them regulars.
"Speaking as a member of the community, personally I'm thrilled to be involved in the institution which is the Black Lion because it's always been here.
"To have this little bow wrapped on top of it is a thrill."
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Speaking about the Sunday Times award, head chef Steve Angier said: "It's absolutely amazing, I'm buzzing with it. We've had some good reviews lately and we've got a strong, young team in place.
"In many ways, we've simplified but we've also made the food a lot better. We've improved our Sunday lunch offering, which has been huge for us.
"We now offer a family roast which is going through the roof with bookings, so it's good times for us at the moment."
Philip Turner, founder and managing director of the Chestnut Group, said: "The Black Lion is at the geographical heart of Chestnut's ambition to celebrate all that is great about our region.
"I am so happy for our team, many of whom have grown up within cycling distance of the property. They are so proud of the building's heritage, striving to produce a quality product that can be offered without formality to our local community and guests from further afar.
"This recognition is for them and their hard work."