The Inspector calls at The Wentworth in Suffolk, where there are wall-to-wall carpets, pelmets and strict rules about where to sit at meals
- The Inspector says this coastal Aldeburgh ‘museum piece’ is an acquired taste
- His sea-view room was ‘spotless but bland’ and made him feel claustrophobic
- Remember, the Inspector pays his way… and tells it like it is
Some people might regard The Wentworth, on the Aldeburgh seafront in Suffolk, as a museum piece — with its wall-to-wall carpets, pelmets and strict rules about where to sit at meals.
It has been in the family for ever (well, since 1920) and at the reception desk there’s a framed photograph of various Pritts, who have served as chairman over the years, dispensing genteel hospitality to those of a certain age.
Certainly, the average age during our stay on a Sunday evening is well north of 70, which might not be surprising given that there’s a £20-a-head three-course dinner offer on Sundays.
The Wentworth is located on the Aldeburgh seafront in Suffolk
The decor — and, more importantly, the spirit of the place — is rooted in the early 1980s when chintzy country house hotels began to assert themselves and when men were asked politely to wear jackets and ties if looking to be admitted to the ‘fine-dining’ restaurant.
There’s no jacket-and-tie rule here — but that doesn’t stop several men sporting neckwear, including one in a fetching cravat.
Our room faces the pebble beach, with Maggi Hambling’s steel scallop sculpture a few hundred yards away. There’s an awful whiff of cleaning fluid so we throw open the windows, but it lingers throughout our visit. Everything is spotless, but bland. Despite the vast expanse of sea, I feel claustrophobic.
The Inspector’s bedroom looked out onto Aldeburgh’s pebble beach
There’s something of a private club atmosphere in the dining room, albeit hushed. We can hear every word from the next table, so they can hear us.
So it’s best behaviour all round.
‘Listen how he speaks to his wife,’ whispers my wife. I get the point.
‘Would you care for another drop of wine, my dear?’ I ask her.
‘That’s better,’ she says.
We don’t want to sit at table 26 at breakfast, so we find one in a corner.
‘Excuse me, but could you please sit here,’ says a waiter, pointing to table 26.
The Inspector said the hotel’s decor is rooted in the early 1980s. Pictured is one of the bedrooms
Which we do — and are soon joined by the same couple as the night before, with whom we strike up conversation.
‘It’s all wonderfully spoiling here, isn’t it?’ says the smartly attired woman.
Yes, it is. But the Wentworth is an acquired taste. I can think of plenty of people who would love it — and plenty of others who would run a mile.