Skipton Park Guest O’tel, September 2017

On our previous visit to Skipton, we stayed at Fawlty Towers. This was due to the late nature of our booking, so we didn’t have a lot of choice.

This time, we had choice. We booked Skipton Park Guest O’tel (their abuse of English, not mine), back in October 2016 whilst we were in Southwold. It looked quirky, but in a good way.

We arrived not long after lunch on Friday afternoon, and were met by Jenny, one of the owners, who gave us an effusive welcome and explained everything about the hotel in forensic detail.

We were out for most of the day, and then up for breakfast on Saturday morning. Hazel & Mrs MOFAD needed fuel for their Yarndale exploits, Matt & I needed fuel for our walking tour of Skipton. This was a decent hotel fry up (a bit more colour on that sausage wouldn’t have gone amiss, but nothing to complain about).

Fast forward a day, and you get something very similar, just with some lightly toastesd toast on the side. All cooked by Ken, who is heard but seldom seen throughout your stay. Lots of very flavoursome ingredients make a cracking hotel breakfast.

After the craziness of Fawlty Towers in 2015, this was an enormous improvement. Lovely breakfasts, perfectly located for Skipton town centre (just  a short walk away, but far enough to be quiet at night) and friendly owners make for a lovely stay. I think we’ll be back next time we come to Skipton for a walking tour.

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Jury’s Inn, Hinckley Island, May 2017

Going away at this time of year usually means a camping trip, but something a bit different here. A hotel stay for a friend’s wedding, just for one night, and just down the road off the A5 in Hinckley.

The place name “Hinckley Island” may confuse you, particularly if you know that Hinckley is in Leicestershire, famed for not being a county where islands are generally found. I think the island is a reference to the shape of the hotel, which is a five pointed palm shape (in the style of the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, but on a much smaller scale).

Our room was right at the back of the hotel, and there was an unpleasant smell upon arrival, which was soon dealt with by the use of the flushing mechanism. How do these things not get spotted by cleaners?

We booked this trip ages ago, and there was a special deal which included bed and breakfast and a free bottle of prosecco. It did take us 10 minutes to convince the hotel to give us our free bottle, eventually they relented. They even found us an ice bucket, as they hadn’t managed to chill enough bottles, forgetting perhaps that multple wedding guests might want to claim the offer that they had paid for…

It was just as well they did, otherwise it would have been Pedigree all night. A rebrand can’t hide what’s inside, unbalanced bitterness and a beer that has had its time.

The final thing to report on in any hotel, is the breakfast. Your usual self service buffet affair here, the bacon was a bit insipid and watery, the sausages were good, and the hash browns were crispy. A decent runny fried egg too.

Not the most amazing hotel stay in the world, functional and competent, but not much more. At least it only took 25 minutes to get home.

The Crown Hotel, Southwold, Suffolk, October 2016

Poshing it up a bit tonight. We had tried to get in to The Nelson but as usual it was full, so we had a short stroll around and happened upon The Crown. They had a few tables free, so we requested one and settled in for some dinner.

Do I need to tell you this is an Adnams establishment? Probably not. So away we go. A pint of Cashmere IPA, which I had the other day, a very decent pale ale but doesn’t fit in the category of IPA.

Keeping with my fishy theme (we are beside the seaside after all), I had a very tasty piece of hake, crispy skin, lovely risotto with fennel and pea shoot salad.

Mrs MOFAD also had fish, in the form of steamed sea bass with noodles and pak choi, and a ginger, chilli and sweet soy broth. Also very tasty.

Hazel & Matt had pork belly and rump steak respectively, and Hazel’s request to swap out the fennel accompanying her dish was accommodated without any fuss.

Mrs MOFAD fancied a pudding, and had this Cambridge burnt cream (creme brulee with a Fens twist) with “cat’s tongue biscuit”. Both were very good.

A very pleasant meal in a very pleasant hotel. If you’re looking for something other than good pub dining in Southwold, this should fit the bill.