“Historic pub converted into a popular restaurant with 11 smart rooms in a scenic Georgian port town”
Check-in isn’t complicated at Mistley Thorn - the reception is the restaurant sitting area, and from here one of the young staff will lead you up carpeted stairs to the bedrooms on the floors above. We found the rooms to be warm and welcoming with original dark oak beamed ceilings, duck-egg-green wainscoting, a hand-knit burgundy throw over the kingsize bed.
We were in a Premium Room (#7), which was in the eaves on the second floor. Despite the limited ceiling height we felt really comfortable here. Our favourite part was the view over the Stour Estuary, which (fortunately) was in full sun when we arrived - many of the Premium Rooms have a similar view.
Some of the Standard Rooms are quite small, but they are still charming and the one with a view of the river (Room #6) is particularly good value. Sherri's been over from the States long enough to know that a kettle with coffee and tea (herbal and regular) is a must. She's also provided the rooms with a bottle of mineral water and biscuits - a nice touch.
Premium Rooms 9 and 10, and Standard Room 11, are located in the cookery school building across the road. Although they were under construction when we visited, we were able to see that they were going to be spacious and Room 10 has a handy kitchenette.
Since our visit, a Little Thorn Cottage has also been added, though we're yet to personally view it.
The bathrooms are spotless, with Ren products waiting by the bath/shower (Room #5 has a double-ended bath and shower). Standard Room bathrooms are slightly smaller, but all are clean and cared for.
By early evening, the bar at the Thorn usually has a sprinkling of local residents who come for a chat over a glass of prosecco and a plate of oysters (native and Pacific) on the half-shell. We didn’t hesitate to join them and felt rather sophisticated, especially when Sherri came behind the bar and reminisced about her days catering on film sets in L.A. From movies to Mistley…
Emphasis is on fresh seafood - our starter of griddled diver scallops with pea puree mint and lemon was spot-on and the main of Adnams beer battered local fish was delicious. Ingredients are locally sourced as much as possible. Thursdays are particularly good fun, when diners descend to make the most of the 'Moules Madness' menu. Choose from marinière, Thai-style or mussels in cioppino with wine, frites and bread. Non-briney types and vegetarians are not overlooked, and when it comes to the puddings, words cannot describe Sherri’s yummy key lime cake.
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, but breakfast is for hotel guests only. Cereals and fresh fruit are laid out buffet-style; fresh coffee or tea will be brought to your table. For an extra charge, you can have a full English breakfast, kippers or organic smoked salmon with eggs. Homemade muffins and eggs benedict make an appearance at Sunday brunch, which is open to the public.
Sherri also runs popular cookery workshops at the Mistley Kitchen in her own house beside the Thorn. And a short walk away, in Manningtree, is her other restaurant Lucca (an Italian specialising in tasty pizzas). Other options include The Crown at Stoke by Nayland and The Sun Inn in Dedham.
Children are welcome; cots and extra beds can be provided. There are toys, books and crayons to keep kids happy. The restaurant has highchairs and a tasty children's menu (no frozen nuggets!)
Rooms can accommodate an extra bed or baby cot on request. Premium Room #2 has a double sofabed. The Suite can sleep 4 and has 2 bathrooms (1 shower, 1 tub).
Babysitting is available by arrangement.
Baby listening/monitors are available on request.
Baby cots and toys are available on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
A children's menu is available in the restaurant.
Jimmy's Farm (of TV fame): nature trail, gardens, farm shop (20 minutes' drive).