Watch the sky darken very slowly in the west—for hours, in fact—from a hotel room in the only town on eastern England's Norfolk coast where the sun sets over the ocean. This phenomenon, courtesy of a U-turn in the coastline, is one of the memorable experiences Norfolk's hotels have on offer. Lodging options include those for people who want to bring their dogs to romp on the beach, golf on vacation or ascend a ladder to four-poster accommodations atop an 18th-century windmill.
Drawing room coffee, tea and cakes await Incleborough House's arriving guests. Standard amenities in this English-Heritage, Grade II listed bed-and-breakfast include chocolates, fresh fruit and flowers, carafes of wine, robes, slippers and designer toiletries. Flat-screen, DVD-equipped TVs and Wi-Fi compete with views of the walled gardens and East Runton’s village green. Byford’s Posh B&B in Holt provides classic rental cars and loaded picnic hampers for a day of exploring the Norfolk coast. The 15th-century hotel has 16 oak-floored luxury bedrooms. Amenities include seating areas with leather chairs, pocket-sprung mattresses, chandeliers, Wi-Fi, DVD- and CD-equipped TVs, heated bathroom floors and bathtubs for two.
A Thornham eating establishment with six lodging rooms, the Orange Tree welcomes guests with dogs in its bedrooms and bar. A single fee covers the entire stay. The nearby North Norfolk Coast Path, a dog-friendly hiking trail, covers seven miles of scenic views between Old Thornham Harbor and Holmes-next-the-Sea. The Orange Tree cuisine boasts two Automobile Association rosettes. Thornham’s Lifeboat Inn, an 18th- and 19th-century smuggler’s haven, permits dogs in its 13 rooms for a one-time fee. Rates at the hotel, a few minutes’ stroll from Thornham Beach, include free Wi-Fi and breakfast.
At West Runton's Links Hotel, guests have free use of the nine-hole, par-33 golf course, tennis courts, indoor pool and fitness center. The antiques-furnished hotel sits on 35 wooded acres. In-room baby-listening devices cater toward stress-free family stays. The on-site restaurant's specialty is fresh, locally caught crab and lobster. Sixteenth-century Heacham Manor, with an 18-hole parklands course outside Hunstanton, once hosted Native American Pocahontas. Hotel lore credits the American Indian princess with planting the garden's mulberry tree. Standard room amenities include Internet access and flat-screen TVs. Upgraded rooms include four-poster beds and access to the hotel gardens. Heacham's guests receive discounted greens fees.
Eighteenth-century Cley Windmill, on the north Norfolk coast, has a wraparound second-floor seaview balcony. The ground floor has an open fireplace, sitting room with bar and public dining room. Three round guest rooms—two accessible by ladder and one with a four-poster bed—are upstairs; guest rooms are also in the renovated boathouse and stables. Room prices include breakfast; Wi-Fi is available in the dining room and ground floor bedrooms. Old Hunstanton’s LeStrange Arms Hotel grounds descend to Holkham beach. From some rooms and the conservatory, guests may watch the Norfolk sun sinking slowly to the ocean horizon. Rooms have Wi-Fi. The hotel's seaview restaurant offers prix fixe and a la carte meals featuring local produce.
- sunrise, norfolk image by jonnie5 from Fotolia.com