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“It's getting there...” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Bell At Sax'

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The Bell At Sax'
Ranked #4 of 25 Saxmundham B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
56 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“It's getting there...”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 July 2014

I must say, I am torn about what to think of this hotel. I'm aware it's going through a "transition" period, but I do feel a little jipped that so many people were there on a special deal and I paid full price for a place that wasn't fully prepared.

Let me start by saying, the food, staff, and downstairs reception/seating/meal area were lovely. The staff was always very friendly, and everything in the dining area was nice.
We were not told that there would be renovations on the hotel during our visit, so there was a mess at the front both days that we stayed from someone painting etc. I realise this is a necessity, but seems an odd thing to do on the weekend when it's in plain sight.

We had breakfast both days, and it was one of the nicest breakfasts that I've had in my entire time of living in the UK. That being said, my review would be completely different if I was just visiting for a meal and not paying to stay in the rooms.

Our room was located on the second floor, and it was above the kitchen (which meant we could smell everything) and our windows opened up to the courtyard (which meant we could hear everything and also had smoke drifting into our room). The room was very tired and we had a very small fan that was noisy and on the end of it's days. Because it was so hot, we had to keep the windows open (curtains drawn as there were no nets) and the fan did not help to beat the heat. We had to leave our room first thing in the morning because it was unbearable to stay indoors as the rooms just weren't equipped for any sort of heat.

Another thing that I'm unsure of is the fact that there is no staff there overnight. If you come back after 11:30, you have to use a key to enter through the back garden and walk through a pitch black lobby and upstairs to your room. My one problem with this is that there is no security, and anyone could allow someone to come into the hotel that shouldn't be there. It was very eerie, and if I were with a group of girls or on my own there is no way I would have been comfortable to walk from my car to my room. The car park is at an abandoned railway station, and you have to walk through the dark to get to the back of the hotel.

I do not think I got what I paid for with regards to the room because it seems that they need an update to match with the lovely downstairs. This begs the question, is this a hotel AND a restaurant, or just a restaurant? I think this place is a diamond in the rough if they put the same TLC into the rooms that the put into the downstairs area.

Again, my review is very mixed as I think it could be a superb place, and I would visit again. But, currently I would not visit to stay at their going rate. Once it's updated, if that's the plan, I would happily try again.

Room Tip: Go for a room away from the back garden/courtyard to avoid smells from the kitchen and noise and smo...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank HeaHoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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185 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    103
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    4
    2
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (52)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Chelmsford
Level Contributor
53 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 July 2014

Stayed 18-20 July on a KGB deal, from check in staff were welcoming,friendly and efficient.
Had dinner 2 nights and 2 breakfasts, Menu was well thought out,food cooked and presented to a very high standard.
Our room was decorated well and cleaned to high standard, hotel was being kept in excellent order....
Thanks to staff, Luke,Tom,owner Jonny, receptionist and the terrific waiting staff...
Overall a superb value deal and immensely enjoyable break...Thanks..Julie & Mark

Room Tip: Room 4 was superb!
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank topreviewer4433
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
90 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 July 2014 via mobile

We had a pleasant stay in this lovely old building in the centre of Saxmunham. The room was nice and spacious with a nice big bath and good shower. The building is very old and every step in the room was met with a creak or groan from the floorboards or furniture. Beds were nice and comfortable and we slept well. What would have made it more so would have been a couple of comfy chairs to sit on and some net curtains on the windows, the room is at the bottom of a hill on a busy junction and we felt a little lack of privacy at times. There was a large fridge below one of our windows which meant we needed to keep that one closed. The outside tables and smoking area were not a problem except on one night when a couple of staff were having a beer after closing.
Breakfast was a superb Suffolk repast, in fact the sausages and bacon were some of the best we have eaten.

Stayed June 2014
Helpful?
Thank what_horizon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cranbrook, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 July 2014

We were blown away by everything at the Bell. We came on a special Amazon Local deal and I ought to say not expecting a huge amount for so very little money. How wrong could we have been. From the minute we walked in, we could tell this was going to be a happy discovery. From things like the hall and stair carpet, a plain red carpet which obviously would show ever speck... not a bit of it! This then made me look at the pictures, which were thoughtfully chosen and not the usual job-lot you see so often in hotels. The room was large and well appointed with two good quality pillows each; high quality bedlinen and towels. Nothing seemed skimped. On the first night we went into the bar for a drink before dinner. It was during the World Cup and naturally the television was on for the football, no one was watching it. As the bar emptied I asked Cameron if he could turn the television down a little. He not only did, but retuned it to a music station, which I think showed a lot of thought and empathy. We happily played cards without sport in the background. The food was very good, with plenty of choice and obviously someone with a very deft hand in the kitchen. Interesting food flavours and combinations, not your usual standard pub/hotel grub. The breakfasts were a joy with lots of brilliant ideas i.e. making your own toast from 'real' bread you cut yourself to your required thickness. Sliced white plastic bread has no place here! Home preserved fruit in jars to choose from for your cereal, I'm just sorry I didn't get to try them... next time and there will be a next time. The full English brekkie looked a treat, I chose the wonderful smoked haddock (not dyed smoked, but the real mccoy) with a poached egg and thoroughly enjoyed it. Egg, bacon and tomato for me on the last morning, Cameron ever helpful,l asking 'How may rashers?' as I had chosen not to have the full monty! A super find, one we can highly recommend... thank you to all at the Bell.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Linda F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newark-on-Trent, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 July 2014

Very nice staff, The room number 7 was very clean and a very good size. The only thing a lot of noise from the room above. The food was class 1 very good. One thing when the Hotel got busy the staff forgot I had booked a table. But must say the young Lady soon put it right. Would go back again.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank David W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 July 2014

It is worth staying here for the food alone - it really is excellent. The best breakfast for a very long time. Evening meal was also very, very good. Room was a good size, but very creaky. No parking onsite so car was a short walk away in a public car park.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Doodlepidge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
67 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 July 2014

Stayed at The Bell on a Travel zoo offer for two nights. We had room 5 which was good with a nice large bathroom and a brilliant shower. Room was a little bit dated but as other reviews have said is very clean and therefore was more than good enough for our stay, road can get
a bit noisy at times if you are not used to it but it did not spoil our stay. We ate in the hotel restaurant on our first night, although the menu did not really jump out at us overall we had a nice meal along with good service. I chose the pork belly although I didn't really like what it came with (some tomato/bean sauce but the pork was very tasty and good value. Breakfast was cooked to order and was very nice again with good service. Saxmundham itself is a very nice market town, has a Waitrose and Tesco a few minutes walk away along with Costa Coffee and a few market town shops, great for a weekend break and not far from the coast either. Overall this was great value for money and we came back rested after a very pleasant weekend at The Bell.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Aruba16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Bell At Sax'

Property: The Bell At Sax'
Address: 31 High Street, Saxmundham IP17 1AF, England (Formerly Bell Hotel)
Region: United Kingdom > England > East Anglia > Suffolk > Saxmundham
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 25 B&Bs / Inns in Saxmundham
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — The Bell At Sax' 4*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Bell At Sax' is a laid-back welcoming 10 bedroom restaurant-with-rooms, in the heart of Saxmundham, surrounded by the Suffolk Heritage Coast and the stylish destinations of Southwold, Aldeburgh, Framlingham and Woodbridge. Here at The Bell, we are all about good cooking, carefully prepared by owner & head chef Jonathan Nicholson and his team, into hearty elegant dishes, made with fabulous local ingredients from our artisan producer friends around East Suffolk. We welcome weekenders, business travellers, holidaymakers, parties and small weddings. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Bell At Sax' Saxmundham, Suffolk

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