Top tourism accolade for B&B
BED and breakfast owners Sally and Richard Budden have proved they have real star quality when it comes to hospitality.The Ipswich couple have struck gold after becoming the only guesthouse in town to be awarded a top tourist accolade on behalf of VisitBritain.
BED and breakfast owners Sally and Richard Budden have proved they have real star quality when it comes to hospitality.
The Ipswich couple have struck gold after becoming the only guesthouse in town to be awarded a top tourist accolade on behalf of VisitBritain.
Hospitality, cleanliness and a cracking breakfast at Sidegate Guesthouse in Sidegate Lane were all highlighted by the judges from Quality in Tourism who awarded the B&B gold and four stars
In the two and half years since the Buddens bought the business they said it has gone from strength to strength and often gets booked up for large events, like the Suffolk Show, well in advance.
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The 56-year-old said: “We are so customer focused. We are seasoned travellers and have stayed in many places over the years that haven't been up to standard so we wanted to provide somewhere that we would like to stay.
“If I had friends or family staying over, I would want the place to be clean and tidy so why should it be any different from a paying customer? We want to make it like home for people as they do come from all over the world.”
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When the pair took over the guesthouse, it did already have a silver award, but after a lick of paint and contemporary additions, for example, flat screen televisions in every room, they hoped the gold was in their reach.
Mrs Budden said: “We thought we would be in with a chance but you never take these things for granted. We were ecstatic when we got the gold.”
When the property came on the market, the grandparents leapt at the chance to buy it, having dreamed about owning a B&B all their lives.
Although it has been hard work, they insist nothing is too much trouble for their guests, which are made up of contract workers, relatives of people living in the town, and tourists, using Ipswich as a base to explore Suffolk's coast and countryside.
Mr Budden, 59, added: “It is a lot more extra work than we thought but we wouldn't change a thing. We are both still passionate about it and that is the important thing.”
What do you think of the tourism trade in the town? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the purposes of research, I was invited to try a breakfast at the award-winning guesthouse. To start with there was a selection of cereal, fruit, yoghurt and juices to choose from. A varied menu was then presented for the cooked breakfast, which detailed the source of food, including eggs from Hens Of Henley, and sausages and cured bacon from Suffolk farms.
I opted for the sausages, bacon, scrambled egg and black pudding, which is delivered via the post from the world famous Scottish highland butchers, Cockburns of Dingwall.
It was a thoroughly tasty breakfast, seasoned perfectly, and if you like black pudding, you'll be hard pushed to find a better one than this.
The quality of the cutlery and crockery, along with the pleasant surroundings of the dining room, all helped to make the experience an enjoyable one.
There are eight guest accommodation businesses with a VisitBritain Gold award in Suffolk, out of a total of 34 in the region. In England there are 347 in total, which includes hotels and guest accommodation. The ones with awards in Suffolk are:
Bays Farm, Stowmarket (5 star Gold GA)
Birdcage Walk, Newmarket (4 star Gold GA)
Lavenham Priory, Lavenham (5 star Gold B&B)
Manorhouse, Beyton (5 star Gold B&B)
Moat House Farm, Carlton, Saxmundham (4 star Gold B&B)
The Old Rectory, Hopton, Diss (5 star Gold B&B)
The White Hart Inn, Nayland (5 star Gold Restaurant with Rooms)
There are no hotels in Suffolk with a Gold award.