The Great House in the market place of Lavenham was built in the heyday of the wool trade but was extensively renovated in the 18th century and looks more Georgian than Tudor - at least from the outside. It was a private house (lived in by Stephen Spender in the 1930's) until Regis and Martine Crepy turned it into a Boutique hotel with restaurant in 1985. The food (predominantly French) is the best for miles - 'stunningly good' enthuses one visitor (a fellow hotelier).
The five bedrooms, each with its ensuite bathroom and four with seating or a separate lounge are light and elegant still retaining the wonderful charm of the house. A multitude of hidden delights include a mini-bar, espresso machines, plasma screen television, wifi, hifi, hairdryers and ironing boards and the complimentary fruit and decanter of sherry offer a welcoming touch. The generous beds, including the majestic king size Jacobean four poster, are dressed in fine Egyptian linen, a luxurious eiderdown and plump continental pillows. In summer French doors open onto a pretty stone-paved courtyard for drinks, lunch or dinner.
Old timber-framed houses, the fine Perpendicular 'Wool Church' and the high street full of antiques and galleries make Lavenham a high point of any visitor's itinerary of the pretty villages of East Anglia.