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May 10, 2022

The Harper Norfolk – A country escape in a most unspoiled corner

A contemporary country escape in one of England’s most unspoiled corners, The Harper is  exudes luxury while being laid-back with a completely relaxed ambience – “a place where anything goes and nothing’s too much trouble”.

With the picturesque fishing village of Blakeney,  the stunning sandy beach at Wells-next-the-Sea and crabbing spots at Cromer all a short drive away, The Harper makes a fantastic base to explore all that North Norfolk has got to offer.

North Norfolk is well known throughout the UK for its rugged beauty. As second-home territory for some, a wildlife sanctuary for others and excellent holiday spot for many, the region’s coastline attracts all walks of life. However, the rustic villages and quaint towns have been calling out for a cultural shake-up for some years – and The Harper cropped up just in time. The hotel opened in the summer of 2021, just as holiday-hungry Brits started looking for a covid-safe alternative to other more distant holiday destinations. The Harper retains a laidback village feel with its snug corners and bright, airy living areas, but also taps into a more modern decor with fairy lights, giant emoji artwork and an eco-centric ethos.

Known for making their mark in the wedding industry, the Cutmore-Scotts own Bijou, a wedding planning and venue-hire service based in France and the UK. The Harper is the family’s first venture into boutique hotels. Set in a converted glassblower’s factory, the Cutmore-Scott family have maintained an authentic feel to the barn’s industrial past with traditional touches of copper, iron, oak and slate, combined with stylish modern interior elements. The wrought iron chandeliers and interestingly mismatched furniture, stained glass windows and a string-lit decked courtyard with firepits create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Keeping it simple, guests can choose between big, bigger and biggest rooms, all of which feature modern four poster beds with super-comfy Casper mattresses. We stayed in the latter, which really was a large space, at over 400 square feet, complete with a pair of armchairs and Juliet balcony overlooking the courtyard – a prime spot for in-room sundowners. Talking of which, thoughtful little touches like pre-mixed negronis, fresh milk, soft drinks and plenty of chilled water in the free mini bar, make you feel instantly cared for. Bathrooms in Big rooms have spacious showers and a range of sustainable, plant-derived products by Irene Forte Skincare. Bigger and Biggest rooms do as they say on the tin – more floor space with marble bathtubs and excellent views over the courtyard.

The hotel is centred around the courtyard, where the building’s industrial history is most apparent. Iron and slate sculptures and ornaments are dotted around a gnarled olive tree, and fire-pits are lit as soon as the sun goes down. Food can be ordered here the on those warmer evenings.

Upstairs is Stanley’s, (named after Sam’s grandfather)is a dining room with exposed-brick walls, wooden beams and magnificent stained-glass windows. The restaurant is for guests only, and with the 32 rooms all booked up on our stay, nearly all of the tables were occupied. If you’re after a hearty meal, Stanley’s is where it’s at but be sure to grab a spicy margarita in The Bar first. Plenty of local ingredients take pride of place on the seasonal menu – it’s a perfect mix of Norfolk coast and land.

To start, we shared the latest menu addition; steamed Pulled Pork Bao Buns alongside a delicious Halloumi Salad and Buttermilk Chicken Fingers, closely followed by the most succulent Chateaubriand with truffle skinny sweet potato fries and a sticky toffee pudding for afters. Credit to the chef, the food was truly incredible and something to write home about. Stanley’s is also where breakfast is served each morning and the menu offers a little of everything from a basket of pastries and a bowl of porridge to a full English breakfast and bacon brioche bun.

Next to Stanley’s is Ivy’s bar (named after Sam’s grandmother). With inviting, leather sofas and luxurious velvet armchairs, this cosy space is an ideal spot for an aperitif. A neon-lit sign with the words ‘Blow me away’ pays attention to the glassblowing factory. Ivy’s Bar has an intimate vibe, with a log burner and beautiful arched glass painted windows. Head beyond the downstairs bar and you’ll find The Den, a space with a huge corner sofa ideal for lounging, as well as a pool table and wine dispenser. This is the liveliest room and where you are more likely to interact with other guests. We enjoyed watching the Six Nations rugby alongside fellow rugby enthusiasts whilst playing a game of Uno late into the night.

The hotel takes a slightly different approach to service. Rejecting the premise that ‘the customer is always right’, staff instead apply the rule ‘treat others as you would have them treat you’ – a very fair rule indeed. For any local excursions or ideas on where to visit, the staff are all super friendly, helpful and local to Holt.

A:  North St, Langham, Holt NR25 7DH
T:  01328 805000
W: The Harper

Written by Amber Lauren for Luxuria Lifestyle London and International

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