Hotel Of The Moment: The Harper, Langham, Norfolk
The Harper’s strapline “A breath of fresh air in every sense” could not be more apt. While the boutique hotel is near the wildly beautiful North Norfolk coast, with its vast beaches and salt marshes, it’s also refreshingly different in both its aesthetic and ambience. Unfussy, laid-back and yet the very definition of comfortable luxe, read on to discover our hotel review of The Harper.
The Harper is nestled in the heart of the brick-and-flint village of Langham, minutes from the North Norfolk coast. The 32-room hotel prides itself on being luxuriously laid-back – and it’s this vibe which greets me on arrival. The central courtyard – all festoon lights, firepits and fragrant lavender – gently hums with guests sipping Aperol Spritzes in the late afternoon sunshine. There’s also an atmospheric bar and a grown-up games room, as well as an upstairs lounge area (Ivy’s) with invitingly squishy sofas and a giant wood-burner. All are for guests only (indeed, the entire hotel is open just to residents), which means that though buzzy, it’s never over-busy.
Decor throughout is joyous in its eclecticism: jewel-bright furnishings, quirky artwork and mismatched furniture pop alongside the exposed brick walls and restored wooden beams. The bespoke stained-glass window in Ivy’s is a particular highlight – a nod to the hotel’s previous incarnation as a glass making factory.
The rooms come in three sizes: Big, Bigger and Biggest. I’m in the latter and can vouch for its generous size. There’s a big four-poster (cloud soft, since you ask), a pair of armchairs, a desk and an enormous television. Comfort levels are topped up by a Nespresso machine and the complimentary mini bar with its pre-mixed cocktails. Can there be anything as deliciously decadent as fixing yourself a Negroni in the comfort of your own room?
The ensuite doesn’t let the side down either, with a big bathtub, rainforest shower and enormous bottles of vegan Irene Forte products. My room overlooks the courtyard – as many do – and when I open the window in the morning, I’m met with birdsong and the gentle tinkle of a water feature. It’s wonderfully tranquil here.
We start our evening in the seductive bar, with its inky walls and dark slate floor. Though you could equally try out one of the wine-vending machines dotted around the hotel, which dispense Chablis, Shiraz et al by the glass. Guests can dine anywhere (in the bar, lounge or courtyard) though we choose to have dinner in the restaurant, Stanley’s. It’s an upbeat affair thanks to the super-friendly staff and a well-executed, locally sourced menu.
The likes of hay smoked beetroot pastrami; Cromer crab linguine, chilli and coriander; and woodfired ribeye served with truffle and parmesan triple cooked chips taste as good as they sound. Breakfasts, too, are fit for royalty – you won’t go hungry here.
The spa takes up one side of the hotel and you have to pad through the courtyard in your fluffy gown and slippers to reach it. Not much of a hardship really, when you consider your destination. The treatment menu is small but perfectly formed, including three facials and four massages, plus a selection of beauty services. The 55-minute deep tissue massage is incredibly thorough, leaving my muscles in no doubt who is boss. It’s one of the best I’ve had for a long time.
The light-flooded pool – and its accompanying sauna, steam room and hot tub – must be pre-booked and is available in half hour time slots. It’s such a treat to have all that space to yourself and, actually, 30 minutes is ample.
Langham is a quintessential English village with a Mediaeval church and a bustling pub, The Bluebell. Venture five minutes down the road to Blakeney, which centres around a pretty-as-a-picture harbour where, in warm weather, families line the quayside with crab lines and boats gently bob on the water. From here you can set off along the Norfolk Coast Path which takes you past creeks, salt marshes and sandy beaches. Don’t forget your binos, this is bird-watching territory and you’ll likely see seals too.
Those who prefer retail therapy should spend a morning in the nearby Georgian town of Holt with its bustling boutiques and independent galleries. Either way, The Harper will be ready to greet you warmly on your return.
Rooms start from £190 per night including the Harper Breakfast.
The Harper, North Street, Langham, Norfolk