Looking for a romantic getaway, without travelling too far, to celebrate a wedding anniversary or just somewhere to spend some peace and quiet with a special someone?
A trawl of the net will turn up an unusual bed and breakfast in Elmstead Market which has been getting some fantastic customer reviews.
The Pheasant Retreat is the third suite opened at Balls Farm and features some clever designs, aimed at ensuring guests enjoy total privacy and a touch of luxury.
With its own private entrance and driveway, the owners have ensured that although you’ll be aware of their attention to detail, you will not actually see them at all during your stay.
Close to Beth Chatto’s award winning gardens and Colchester, the historic Roman capital of Britain, it is popular with tourists from far afield, but equally is gaining a name for itself amongst in-the-know locals.
After parking and entering though the private entrance, guests are greeted not by their hosts but with a view of beautifully landscaped gardens, complete with decking, a double day bed, table and chairs and uninterrupted views of the Tendring countryside.
Opening the double doors into the exquisitely furnished room – the centrepiece of which is a beautiful carved bed – the personal touches are apparent, from the heart shaped arrangement of leaves to the colour scheme.
The small kitchen is equipped with a fridge, hob and microwave and the invisible hosts have kindly supplied homemade cakes, biscuits, chocolates, milk, bottled water and Amaretto as a nightcap, complete with two tiny pheasant glasses.
All very nice, very comfortable and very intimate – but the most impressive aspect becomes apparent on opening the door into the bathroom.
The bath is described by customer reviews as “unbelievable” it is certainly the largest I had come across – easily big enough for two people to lie side by side and look at the stars through the cleverly places velux window.
Fluffy towels dressing gowns, luxurious bubble baths and even candles are all provided.
The breakfast is also delivered innovatively through a hatch straight into your bedroom, increasing the illusion that you are being waited on by the Pheasant’s invisible staff, or perhaps they employ Harry Potter-style house elves.
Guests make their choice on arrival from 19 types of sausages, accompanied by eggs from the chickens in the garden, and it all appears through a two-way serving hatch at the chosen time, the next morning.
With a ring of the bell, the first immaculately appointed tray complete with embroidered linen, cut glass, a tiny vase with an orchid in, a warm bread basket, an antique butter dome with a pheasant imprint in the middle of the butter arrived.
Fifteen minutes later a second tray arrived containing two very large warm pheasant plates covered by two highly polished silver domes. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast sitting in the garden undisturbed in our dressing gowns.
Pheasant Suites is rated 5 star gold by Visit England with a Kellogg’s Breakfast Award. They have just become the Number 1 bed and breakfast in Colchester on TripAdvisor, with 114 excellent reviews and I can understand why.
Staying at the Pheasant Retreat costs from £135 per night.
To find out more, visit www.ballsfarm.net
Where to visit nearby
Although the owners of the Pheasant Retreat say that many guests do not leave during the whole duration of their stay, there are places to visit nearby.
Overgrown wasteland which since 1960 has been converted into an internationally renowned garden in perfect harmony with the surrounding countryside.
Admission fee is £6.00 per person. Accompanied children under 14 free.
Where to eat
Cosy and intimate bistro where European cafe culture meets modern British cuisine in the picturesque and bohemian harbour town of Wivenhoe.