Silver for The Bildeston Crown in national tourism awards
23 April 2009
The Bildeston Crown flew the flag for Suffolk in the annual tourism BAFTAs – the National Enjoy England Awards for Excellence 2009, organised by VisitEngland. The hotel was the only finalist from Suffolk in these national awards in which the winners were announced at a ceremony at the National Railway Museum in York on Thursday 23 April.
The path to Silver started last October when the hotel picked up both the Tourism in Suffolk Award for best small hotel and then only weeks later won the same category for East of England Regional Enjoy England Awards for Excellence which put The Bildeston Crown forward to the national heats for the wider category of hotel.
In February owner James Buckle and management couple Chris and Hayley Lee learnt that they had been short listed to the final three for the Hotel category alongside East Lodge in Derbyshire and Gidleigh Park in Devon.
Missing out on the Gold on the night to Gidleigh Park owner James Buckle was disappointed but still jubilant that the hotel had done so well. “When my mother and I bought The Bildeston Crown and refurbished it, we could never have imagined that we would find ourselves selected as one of three hotels to represent the best in the country only just over 5 years later. Credit must go to Hayley and Chris Lee who have managed The Bildeston Crown over these years and have helped transform a dream into a reality.”
Manager Hayley Lee was also in optimistic mood. “Gold would have been good but just being here at the awards ceremony celebrating the best of British tourism has been a real career high.”
Hayley’s husband and The Bildeston Crown Chef Chris Lee agrees. “It has been a superb year for us and although gold would have been the icing on the cake, we are proud to have come this far. I am personally delighted that all three finalists have great accommodation but that they really stand out because of the style and quality of the food they serve. Gidleigh Park is a worthy winner and with two Michelin Stars it most certainly sets a standard for The Bildeston Crown to aspire to.”
The 15 categories for the 2009 awards were: access for all tourism award, hotel of the year, self-catering holiday of the year, bed & breakfast of the year, caravan park of the year, tourist Information centre (TIC) of the year, large attraction of the year (over 100,000 visitors), small attraction of the year (under 100,000 visitors), tourism website of the year, the meet England business tourism award, outstanding customer service award, taste of England, sustainable tourism award, tourism experience of the year and travel journalist of the year.