Having decided to stay in Suffolk for an extra day, Georgina and I hit up LateRooms on the iPad and managed to bag the last available room at a promising-looking country house hotel in Yoxford called Satis House – a two AA rosette award winning restaurant being the main feature to catch our eye.
It was a blazingly hot day and our arrival was soothed by cool, York stone paving in the entrance hall. Unfortunately the last room in the hotel was the attic. We clambered up what seemed to be six hundred or so sheer, treacherous steps and when we finally arrived, sweating and wheezing at the top of the house, the temperature in the attic room was probably hovering somewhere around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat rippled the air like hot currents rising above the sand in the Sahara. I banged my head twice on the low beams in the room, and thumped it painfully again on the way back down the stairs.
“I could upgrade you to a big room on the ground floor,” suggested the manager.
Georgina and I thought about it for about a half a second and said we’d take the upgrade. We couldn’t help wondering whether this was a tried and tested routine. Land the guest with a low cost “last room”, show them how bloody inconvenient that room is, then offer an upgrade. Or perhaps we’re just being cynical. They probably genuinely didn’t want us to suffocate in the heat of the attic room and die. If Fawlty Towers has taught us nothing else, it’s that it’s extremely inconvenient to call out the coroner on a Friday night.
“The attic room is lovely in the winter,” said the manager as she arranged the upgrade for us and swiped our debit card.
Set in three acres of parkland, this 18th Century Grade II listed country house is hidden away in a quiet, rural part of Suffolk and is a hotel with genuine character. Our upgrade moved us into the Orangery, a spacious, air-conditioned room with French windows that opened out directly into the gravel car park. As soon as we’d unpacked, Georgina switched on the tennis and I hit the mini bar.
Dinner beckoned and there was an interesting line-up on the menu: Monkfish, Norfolk duck, wild mushroom stroganoff. We both chose seared king scallops in a pea puree. Georgina and I had our usual side bet about whether the starter would arrive on a plate or on a piece of black slate, and I won. For main course I had an amazing fillet steak and Georgina ordered something cooked two different ways. That’s a Big Thing at the moment, cooking things two different ways. Apparently both ways were very tasty indeed.
Unsurprisingly the cheese arrived on a big wooden board, accompanied by eight grapes and featuring a selection of cheeses including a generous chunk of Yarg. Coincidentally we discovered on this week’s edition of Countryfile that Yarg is a Cornish cheese wrapped in an outer skin of stinging nettles. Sounds odd but really quite delicious.
We would highly recommend Satis House, but don’t book a room in the attic unless there’s snow on the ground.