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Newmarket hotel is a clear winner

PUBLISHED: 10:26 11 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:19 20 February 2013

Newmarket hotel is a clear winner

Newmarket hotel is a clear winner

Helen Atkinson Wood offers a surefire tip for an idyllic break in the heart of racing country

Newmarket Hotel is a clear winner


Helen Atkinson Wood offers a surefire tip for an idyllic break in the heart of racing country


It goes without saying that The National Horse Racing Museum, the Racecourse, Tattersalls Sales, where racehorses change hands for thousands of pounds, and the National Stud are just some of the reasons that attract visitors to swing in off the M11 at Junction 9 and head north east. But a white mansion house with its own pool and running champagne is reason enough for me to be here in Newmarket.
Originally a Georgian hunting lodge built for the Duke of Bedford in the late 18th Century, the Bedford Lodge Hotel is surrounded by three acres of secluded gardens. It was converted into a hotel in the mid 1940s and has retained all the characteristics of an aristocratic country house. But despite the traditionally impressive sense of arrival crunching up the gravel drive past a deep rhododendron glade, manicured lawns (with just a hint of the winners enclosure) and sprightly rose beds the hotel welcomes you into a surprisingly contemporary world.
No smell of horse scurf or wet dogs here: instead, a simple and stylish arrangement of huge oriental lilies perfume the coolly efficient reception. You could be checking in for a first class international flight, as dark suited professionals stand behind console desks, poised to attend to your every need.
The hotel has an undoubted international appeal Egyptian cotton bed linen, a state-of-the-art gym, conference and banqueting rooms, Toasted muffin with poached duck egg for breakfast to keep transatlantic visitors happy. Its just the business for the business traveller, but Id come to savour its quintessentially elegant English luxury just for the sheer pleasure of it.
Our cosy guestroom retained a country feel with views overlooking the gardens and prestigious stables beyond the hotel is flanked by the Godolphin and Bedford House stables (did I mention were staying in the home of British horseracing). But for now Im too busy enjoying the plump pillows, pristine bathroom, fluffy white towels and fresh gowns. This is the sort of room you feel you are the first to visit.
A canter on the running machine in a gym full of cardiovascular equipment, a swim in the 15-metre heated indoor pool apparently trainers exercise racehorses in swimming pools here in Newmarket, but I digress a plunge in the spa bath, steam room and sauna, and Im red faced and ready for dinner. Appropriately enough, I could eat a horse.
And so to the cocktail lounge with a glass of Perrier Jouet champagne in one hand and the sort of award-winning menu that I could happily graze off for a fortnight in the other. I already feel as if Ive been here for days. Thats quite something to pull off from a town hotel, although here at the Bedford Lodge youre tricked into thinking youre in the depths of the country. It might be the close proximity of the horse world that gives you that impression.
In the elegant Orangery restaurant I was soon sitting down to my favourite sort of dinner, where starters win all the rosettes. Dont get me wrong, the main course menu is packed full of local produce to create an exceptional range of dishes, but choosing between Asparagus Three Ways, or Seared Scallops with Cauliflower Puree and Truffle Leeks is the sort of dilemma Id be happy to face any time. For comedy value alone though I opted for Sun Blushed Tomato & Wobbly Bottom Cheese Tart with Rocket Salad. And thats all before finding room for the Final Furlong Desserts (Malteser and Horlicks ice-cream if youre asking) followed by the inevitable good nights sleep.
As dawn broke over Newmarket I could hear the distant clip-clop of a string of 50 racehorses on their way to the open Warren Hill gallops. What did I care as I burrowed back into bed? Id already picked my winner. The Bedford Lodge Hotel.


Bedford Lodge Hotel, Bury Road, Newmarket Tel: 01638 663175
email:
info@bedfordlodgehotel.co.uk
www.bedfordlodgehotel.co.uk
60 for a standard double room

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