Simon Wittenberg pays a visit to the historic Bedford Lodge Hotel And Spa in the heart of Newmarket.
Bedford Lodge Hotel and Spa was originally built for the sixth Duke of Bedford back in 1820, and the former Georgian hunting lodge was then converted into a hotel in the 1940s. It has been extensively refurbished since then, and today, it welcomes guests with a mix of modern and old architecture.
Conveniently located for those who wish to enjoy everything that is horseracing, it’s also well situated for visitors who want to venture into Newmarket’s small town centre (it’s about a 10 minute stroll), or hit the A-roads to explore more that the East of England has to offer.
We stayed in one of the 49 King Rooms, and ours on the tranquil second floor overlooked the carefully manicured central courtyard. The subtly decorated and cosy bedroom came with a writing desk, flatscreen TV and king bed dressed with soft white linen, which sat alongside a mini-bar complete with complementary mineral water and milk, the necessary implements to make freshly brewed coffee and tea, and a small selection of addictive butter biscuits.
The simple ensuite bathroom was furnished with an array of scented toiletries from Molton Brown, fluffy towels and bathrobes embroidered with the hotel’s motif. The evening turndown service sees the duvet folded back with some carefully selected lighting – a welcomed touch.
The Spa at Bedford Lodge, which is located in a separate building near to the main entrance, boasts a coveted five-bubble rating from the Good Spa Guide, the only one in East Anglia to fall into this category. We didn’t sample any treatments whilst we were there, but the other jewel in the crown of this property is the Edge Health & Fitness Club.
It houses a gym, a warm 15-metre swimming pool, a steam room, sauna and hot tub which we made good use of on a cold Saturday afternoon and for a swift morning refresh before sitting down to breakfast.
Continuing on the subject of eating, the hotel’s two AA Rosette, 54-seater Squires restaurant prides itself on its “charismatic ambiance”, and is the main eatery at Bedford Lodge. It takes its name from George Baird, a horse trainer and previous owner of this property who was apparently known as “The Squire”.
The décor is elegant, with dark leather and velvet-clad chairs and wooden tables with individual candle-lit lamps, making for a relatively informal setting.
Many of the ingredients used by the kitchen are sourced from local suppliers, reducing the food miles from farm to mouth. The à la carte menu is comprehensive with plenty of dishes and sharing platters to choose from (including the 2lb 6oz Tomahawk rib eye steak for £65), and the attentive staff are also very happy for you to pick anything from the restaurant and bar menu if there is something that you want that is not on the à la carte.
Furthermore, there’s a sizeable wine and spirits list to match with quite a few pages to flick through, a dream tome for a connoisseur.