R&R AT BEDFORD LODGE: RACES & RELAXATION

WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT: BEDFORD LODGE HOTEL & SPA

If you find yourself in Newmarket to catch one of the races at the famous Newmarket Racecourse, Bedford Lodge is the go-to place to sojourn whilst you’re in town. This lovely hotel, nestled amidst 3 acres of secluded rose gardens, is a former Georgian hunting lodge that dates back to the 18th century. With the bones of a luxury country house but kitted out with all of the modern amenities, a stay at Bedford Lodge is a charming mix of old world and new.

It’s the hub of Newmarket and there are no other hotels like Bedford Lodge in the area. Of course, it works just as well for a weekend jaunt with the girls and is also wildly popular for weddings. Every time I’ve attended the races at Newmarket, I’ve found myself either starting or ending the day here AND there’s always a wedding going on! Honestly, it’s easy to see why it’s a top pick for so many couples. The country landscape, the rich history of the area, the accessibility to the towns and attractions around it—it’s the perfect setting for gathering friends and family for a charming yet sophisticated event.

THE REVIEW

BRAND PRESENCE & IDENTITY

Bedford Lodge is the only 4 Red Star hotel in Suffolk and is adjacent to some of the most famous paddocks and training stables in the world.

(How famous is Newmarket for horse racing? Well, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, attended his first race here whilst studying in nearby Cambridge. This was in May of 1967 when Royal Palace won the 2000 Guineas. Ten years later, the Sheikh became involved in international racing himself and built what would eventually become the world’s largest and most global racing team, Godolphin.)

The crowd here is a mix of business and leisure and you’ll find people here for midweek stays, long holidays, spa weekends, conferences, and weddings. It goes without saying that tons of folks book up rooms during the busy race season. There’s generally a lovely buzzy vibe that’s just enough to let you know this is the place to be, but never overwhelmingly raucous.

GETTING THERE & FIRST IMPRESSIONS

 The gorgeous exterior of Bedford Lodge

The gorgeous exterior of Bedford Lodge

Driving up to Bedford Lodge is visually stunning. When you turn in, you’ll be greeted with a beautifully presented house set against a backdrop of lush greenery. There’s a separate driveway that leads to the impressively-sized spa and the fitness club and wedding function area. What I appreciate about Bedford Lodge is that they haven’t plonked loads of obscure extensions onto the original property. They’ve maintained the true character of this gorgeous historical structure and that’s what makes it all the better.

You can tell the staff here are well-versed in hospitality, which is no surprise given the popularity of the hotel and spa. Including the Chief Executive Noel Byrne, there are 155 full- and part-time staff. We encountered some of the most polite and courteous staff members but have to give a special shout-out to Martin, who not only helped with our bags but also brought ice to our room in record time. There was a slight hiccup at breakfast when I had to ask for my cappuccino twice but one lady came to smooth things over with an apology so sincere I just about forgot the delay.

That, my friends, is hospitality finesse!

WHERE YOU’LL SLEEP

The hotel has a total of 77 rooms and suites, stocked with complimentary Molton Brown products, and a lovely selection of Teapigs tea and Paddy & Scott’s cafetière coffee.

If you stay in one of their executive suites (of which there are 6), be prepared to be pampered with Molton Brown gift sets and additional amenities like Bose Bluetooth speakers and Sky TV. See if you can request Suite No. 6 when you book as it has a gorgeous little private balcony that overlooks the gardens.

 A look at one of the Executive Suites (Photo credit: Bedford Lodge)

A look at one of the Executive Suites (Photo credit: Bedford Lodge)

WHERE TO UNWIND

 The hydrotherapy pool at Bedford Spa (Photo credit: Bedford Lodge)

The hydrotherapy pool at Bedford Spa (Photo credit: Bedford Lodge)

The obvious choice here is the spa, which is the only 5-Bubble rated luxury spa in East Anglia. They’ve pulled out all of the stops, offering everything from a hydrotherapy pool and hot tub to experiential showers and hammam tables. You can indulge in one of their signature treatments like the Balinese Massage With Hot Stones or the Lavender Poultice Massage and if you’re getting married, there are special bridal packages that go from a simple massage for the bridal party all the way up to “The Ultimate Bridal Experience”.

If spa treatments aren’t your vibe, take some time to relax in the outdoor seating area and let your mind wander as you soak in the idyllic countryside scenery.

WHERE TO ENJOY SUNDOWNERS

 A look at the grounds of Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa (Photo credit: Bedford Lodge)

A look at the grounds of Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa (Photo credit: Bedford Lodge)

During our stay, we made good use of the outdoor seating, which you can see as you drive up to the hotel. We lapped up the buzzy evening vibes whilst thoroughly enjoying some vino…and then plonked ourselves outside again the next morning, armed with croissants, laptops, and copious amounts of coffee to counteract all the imbibing from the night before! It usually has a great upbeat vibe from the Newmarket race days and nights and is truly perfect on a summer’s day (or evening)!

WHERE TO HAVE SUPPER

 The atmospheric interior of the bar area at Squires Restaurant (Photo credit: Bedford Lodge)

The atmospheric interior of the bar area at Squires Restaurant (Photo credit: Bedford Lodge)

The hotel is also home to Squires Restaurant, 2AA Rosette recipient, headed up by Chef James Fairchild. This cosy space had a good selection of food and drinks and served up the most delectable burger I’ve had in a while! We lapped up the enjoyable evening atmosphere whilst sitting in the corner in super comfy oversized chairs.

 One of the delicious dishes you’ll find at Squires. (Photo credit: Bedford Lodge)

One of the delicious dishes you’ll find at Squires.
(Photo credit: Bedford Lodge)

THE MORNING AFTER

Breakfast time found the restaurant more cramped than cosy and the staff seemed less attentive but I’ll chalk it up to them being bombarded with guests all at once. I’d love to see them expand the breakfast space by making use of the bar area—this might help spread things out and make it less hectic all around.

Amenities

The Edge Health & Fitness Club offers state-of-the-art equipment, a 15-metre pool, and a dance studio, among many other features. Use of the fitness facilities are complimentary for guests but they also offer membership packages. And of course, there’s the spa!

WHAT’S NEARBY

 Attend a race at the famous Newmarket Racecourse (photo credit: Newmarket Racecourse)

Attend a race at the famous Newmarket Racecourse
(photo credit: Newmarket Racecourse)

Without a doubt, the biggest draw of the area is the Newmarket Racecourse. You can actually see the stables from the spa at Bedford! However, it’s not just limited to horse racing. You’ll also find events like antique fairs, wedding shows, and the popular Newmarket Nights—concerts held at the race course throughout the months of June, July, and August, that feature some big musical names.

Events, Extras, Good To Knows

Bedford Lodge holds themed food weeks throughout the year at Squires. Over the next few months, expect Spanish Week, British Food Fortnight, and Chocolate Week!

You can call the hotel for more details.

PRA SAYS

This lovely hotel and spa is one of the best in Suffolk—a buzzy, luxury country house that’s perfect for attending the races or swooping off for the night.

CONNECT

11 Bury Road, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 7BX, U.K.

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