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Ruth Watson, former presenter of The Hotel Inspector, sells the Crown & Castle in Orford

PUBLISHED: 13:10 16 October 2017 | UPDATED: 16:23 16 October 2017

The Crown & Castle in Orford.
Picture: Gregg Brown

The Crown & Castle in Orford. Picture: Gregg Brown

The Crown & Castle restaurant with rooms at Orford, near Woodbridge, has become part of the Suffolk-based TA Hotel Collection chain.

Ruth Watson.
Picture: Adrian Franklin Ruth Watson. Picture: Adrian Franklin

Ruth Watson, nationally-known as the original presenter of Channel 5’s show The Hotel Inspector between 2005 and 2008, and her husband David have owned the Crown & Castle since 1999, having previously run Hintlesham Hall, near Ipswich, and the Fox & Goose at Fressingfield, near Eye.

Tim Sunderland, the Watsons’ business partner at the Crown & Castle, will continue in the role of general manager, with Mrs Watson continuing to oversee the food offer and marketing “for the foreseeable future”.

Guy Heald, chairman of TA Hotel Collection, said: “After nearly 18 years at the helm, Ruth and David Watson feel the time has come to step down. They are delighted the Crown & Castle is now in the safe hands of Suffolk-based TA Hotel Collection.

“We have no desire to change a single thing about the Crown & Castle, being great fans of everything it does and what it has achieved. Indeed, we feel we can learn from it.”

Inside the Crown & Castle restaurant with rooms at Orford. 
Picture: Gregg Brown Inside the Crown & Castle restaurant with rooms at Orford. Picture: Gregg Brown

Mrs Watson added: “Regular guests should feel thoroughly reassured that general manager Tim Sunderland is remaining to captain the ship and ensure standards remain as high as ever. And, of course, our dedicated staff will continue to look after customers with their usual cheerful professionalism.”

TA Hotel Collection, formerly Thorpeness & Aldeburgh Hotels, already includes the Brudenell Hotel and the White Lion in Aldeburgh, the Thorpeness Hotel & Golf Club, Thorpeness Country Club, the Swan at Lavenham and the Crown at Woodbridge.

The Crown & Castle, which has 21 letting bedrooms, has won a number of awards including the “Fabulous Food” accolade in the 2017 Sawday’s British Hotel Awards and, newly announced, the Editor’s Choice restaurant with rooms award in the 2018 edition of the Good Hotel Guide.

“It is a great accolade and one in which every single member of the team can take pride,” said a spokesman for TA Hotel Collection.

A bedroom at the Crown & Castle.
Picture: Gregg Brown A bedroom at the Crown & Castle. Picture: Gregg Brown

“In a nutshell, there is every reason to trust the Crown & Castle will remain the happy, welcoming place it has always been, with the extra acknowledgement from a leading guide that it is a very good restaurant with rooms.”

Since leaving her role on The Hotel Inspector, Ruth Watson has presented a number of shows for Channel 4, including Country House Rescue, Ruth Watson’s Hotel Rescue and Ruth Watson Means Business!

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