Sunday, 16 August 2015

Greyfriars, High Street, Colchester, CO1 1UG

In my role as Unofficial Tourist Information Person / Massive Nosey Parker of Ye Olde Colchester, I felt it my duty to go to Greyfriars Hotel and have a sniff around. Greyfriars is a new 26 room Hotel which has opened opposite Firstsite on Colchester High Street. It's website is still not up and running and I was frankly desperate to have a look at what has been going on inside for months. So after a delicious breakfast at Bills (which has also just opened on the High Street) we took a stroll to the Hotel and invited ourselves in.

The brochure we were given gives a brief history of the buildings fascinating history. "Greyfriars is a Grade II listed, 18th Century Town House...Roman Buildings on the site were succeeded by the 13th century Monastic house (friary) for the Greyfriars (Franciscan Monks)...The current main building was built in 1755...In 1903 French Nuns established a Convent and School...From the 1920's until the 1960's it was a School, then an Adult Community College and in 2007 the Essex County Council sold it".

It is a stunning, and huge, building and finally a decent hotel in the Town (I stayed at The George on the High Street once when we were looking at houses here and it was the worst Hotel I have ever stayed in anywhere on the planet. I still have the photos of our disgraceful room on my camera if anyone wants to see them).

The staff were really friendly, and kind enough to give us a tour, and an elderly chap who I got chatting to in the hotel foyer could not speak highly enough of the place after a week long stay. It really is great news for the Town and obviously once they start the PR ball rolling I have no doubt it will be a huge success.

Just past Castle Park and Hollytrees Museum is the newly opened Greyfriars.

Its a huge building and they have done a great job restoring it.
Apparently it was in a terrible state when purchased.

There is a lovely outside terrace (awful picture...)

The Rose room where breakfast and afternoon is served.

Another Courtyard Area.

The Old Library.

The Bar with doors leading out to The Terrace.

There are load of little 'snug' areas. Most with beautiful old fireplaces /windows / cornicing etc

Restaurant with beautiful stained glass window at the back.

Rooms and Suites range in price from £120 per night to £350, and the room we saw had its own Courtyard! They do a huge range of Afternoon Teas including 'A Gentleman's Afternoon Tea' and a 'Little Prince and Princess Tea' for children under 12 which includes Cupcake Decorating (I know what my niece is getting for her Birthday). They also like to use Local Produce such as Dedham Vale Beef, Mersea Oysters and Seafood, Tiptree Preserves,  Suffolk Blue (hurrah!) and they also used a lot of Local Trades people for the renovations and soft furnishings (double hurrah!).

So, there you have it. Finally a decent hotel in Colchester. Hallelujah. I really hope it does well and can't wait to go back for an Afternoon Tea. Only problem is, which one to have...

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