The Harper - Norfolk
A mere two and a half-hour drive out of London, and you are at The Harper, Norfolk. The hotel is situated in the quaint village of Langham and was opened two years ago by the Cutmore-Scott family, with the ‘bold, industrial aesthetic’ paying homage to their grandfather, Norfolk native Stanley Harper Cutmore.
The hotel boasts thirty-two gorgeous bedrooms, ranging from ‘Big’, ‘Bigger’ and ‘Biggest’, a spa, and stunning courtyard (unfortunately too chilly to sit in, but beautiful nonetheless). Upon arrival the parking is obvious and available, and entering the building you are met with an intimate reception; the one-person desk (sometimes a little tricky to get hold of) is surrounded by cosy yet eclectic decor, inviting you to relax immediately.
The rooms themselves are much the same. As self-proclaimed avoiders of ‘country house chintz’, the hotel prides itself on providing an air of luxury without unnecessary fuss – the rooms include a striking four poster bed, fully stocked (complimentary) mini bar housing cocktails, soft drinks and popcorn, and gigantic LED TV. The only thing missing from the room is a bath, picky I know, but luckily there is a hot tub a short walk across the courtyard (more on that later).
The hotel is very dog friendly and although they aren’t allowed in the main restaurant, they operate the same menu throughout the building, so you don’t feel like you’re missing out by eating in the bar area / Ivy’s. In the upstairs, Ivy’s (the ‘living room’ of the hotel), there’s a large fire and a selection of board games for you to play while you unwind with fresh-as-they-come oysters and wine – so much unbelievable wine. An enigmatic wine cabinet allows you to insert your room key to purchase hand-picked, menu appropriate wine at any time – a quirky addition to proceedings.
The food itself is described as ‘cosmopolitan cooking with a Norfolk accent’ and they’re not wrong. Norfolk Estate 20oz ribeye, rump of Wissey Valley lamb and, of course, the daily catch, this really is fine dining without the frippery. The Norfolk Coast shellfish linguine was to die for, if a little on the large side, but who can complain about that? After a hot, comforting sticky toffee pudding it was time to roll into bed – luckily, the hotel being small, this was only a short roll away.
After a deep sleep atop the room’s Casper mattress (the Harper is one of the only hotels in the UK to offer this award-winning mattress), it was time for breakfast. Opting for breakfast in bed, the same small team of staff brought everything we could have wanted, from pastries and juices to sausage brioche buns and the full works. The small team of staff adds to the intimacy of the place – you recognise them, they recognise you, and everything appears on your bill at the end of your trip without any faffing during your stay.
Time to make use of the hotel’s extensive spa facilities. A swimming pool, sauna, steam room and hot tub can be booked privately for 30-minute intervals. For any treatments, your masseuse collects you from your room and takes you to the spa, a short walk across the courtyard. We opted for a Harper Trio – a back, neck and shoulder massage followed by a facial and then an Indian head massage. This was a full 55-minute journey. The massage breaks you down slowly into a deep state of relaxation, then using a mix of hot and cold oils, and lip balm to finish, you’re slowly built back up to take on the day.
And there’s plenty to do around The Harper. Just a short drive to Wells-next-the-Sea and the stunning Holkham beach, the hotel’s location is exceptional – if you have a car. Those on foot or arriving by train may want to look into hiring a car / the hotel’s taxi facilities as there is far more to explore than what’s on the doorstep of The Harper.
Overall, The Harper is a quiet, foodie getaway for couples and families, and perfect for fans of relaxed fine dining, board games and chilling by the fire. For groups of friends, I would avoid; there just isn’t the space for large numbers and the noise that comes with them without encroaching on the laid-back feel of the place. The small team brings intimacy and a friendliness hard to come by in most ‘luxury’ hotels, and that’s why The Harper is so good at what it does. Any issues (nothing major, a slight mix up at breakfast) were resolved swiftly and with ease, and we were left adamant that we’d come back.
For more information visit The Harper
Address: North St, Langham, Holt NR25 7DH
Words by Harriet Nicolson
Editor Jheanelle Feanny
Sub Editor Jonny Baldwin