This beautiful 18th century country house, once lived in by Lord Byron’s sister, makes a striking impression as you approach along the winding, lamp lit driveway. Whitewashed, with black painted timbers and gables, it’s set in attractive grounds and, during the daytime, chickens graze on the lawn. Once you get inside, it’s equally impressive, with the monochrome theme extending to the reception area and a magnificent chandelier glittering overhead. We were given a very warm welcome by the staff, who throughout our short stay could not have been friendlier or more helpful. Despite its stylish appearance, there is a homely feel about this place – almost as though you are staying with friends who happen to have a rather grand country pile! The only down side of this setting is that you need a car to get anywhere, but there is a car park at the hotel and it’s less than half an hour’s drive to Cambridge and only about ten minutes to Newmarket. Very handy for the races!
I loved the luxurious rooms with their stunning palette of black, white and silvery grey, while clever use of soft lighting and plush fabrics keeps what could be a stark combination warm and cosy. Our room was spacious, with a comfortable king size bed, Smart TV, Bose sound system and – a detail I really appreciated – a full length mirror. The bathroom had a gorgeous rain shower, bathrobes and toiletries, but for me the real highlight was the stunning, free standing copper bathtub in the bedroom. It made winding down before bed a decadent treat!
The Study is a relaxed but stylish lounge bar and the perfect place to grab a pre-dinner cocktail. A table full of magazines and newspapers invites you to while away as much leisure time as you like on the plush couches. The black and white dining room is pleasant, if slightly lacking in atmosphere, and we couldn’t fault the attentiveness of the staff during our meal. The wine, warm bread rolls and seared duck were all delicious, although another time I might skip the antipasti starter and indulge in one of the more tempting desserts instead. Breakfast the following morning was a delight – eggs, smoky bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes grilled to perfection with lashings of hot tea and fresh juice to wash it all down. The buffet of cereals, pastries and fruit looked very appetising too but we simply didn’t have room to try everything!
We stayed at both Paddocks House and Poets House and either would make a fantastic base from which to explore the lovely county of Cambridgeshire. These Cambridgeshire sister hotels, collectively known as The House Collection, have several things in common. To name just a few: really swish, stylish décor, impressive cocktail menus and friendly staff who pride themselves on going above and beyond to ensure the comfort of their guests. Both hotels are conveniently located for exploring some of the county’s best attractions, including Cambridge itself, but Poets House (in the centre of Ely) offers the option to leave the car behind if you want to. We spent a night in each hotel and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Both offer luxurious accommodation and a good location, but head to Paddocks if you’re after a country retreat and Poets if you prefer a little more of a buzz.
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