The finalists have been revealed for the Small Serviced Accommodation of the Year category at the East of England Tourism Awards 2023-2024

This award recognises smaller serviced accommodation businesses providing truly memorable guest experiences and demonstrating excellence in all aspects. 

Retreat East

Retreat East is a wellness retreat set in the Suffolk countryside at Hemingstone, near Ipswich.

It was once a 16th-century dairy barn, and in 2017 it was transformed into a boutique wellness retreat.

The retreat offers a variety of converted dairy barns, field barns and shepherd huts, and offer self-catered or catering options.

Guests are able to enjoy a meal in The Great Barn restaurant, where chefs have crafted gastronomic experiences using farm-to-table and locally sourced ingredients.

On site, there is also a small spa, which features a steam room, sauna and an outdoor hot tub.

Owner Dominic Richards has been able to attract a diverse range of clientele, from couples to families, and the retreat is pet friendly too.

Retreat East won Romantic Hotel of the Year 2023, from The Times and Sunday Times, and more investment is seeing continual updates to the site.

The judges said Retreat East “offers luxurious breaks based around sustainability”.

They added that the accommodation they stayed in “was delightful” and the fixtures, facilities and soft furnishings were of a very high standard.

They also praised the staff, who they said were “enthusiastic and engaged well”.

Eastern Daily Press: One of the bedrooms at The Assembly House NorwichOne of the bedrooms at The Assembly House Norwich (Image: The Assembly House Norwich)

The Assembly House Norwich

The Assembly House Norwich is a Grade I building with a range of facilities in the heart of Norwich, Norfolk.

Directors Richard Hughes and Iain Wilson took over The Assembly House in 2009 and have since transformed it into a thriving multi-faceted operation.

The Assembly House is a Georgian gem, famous for its historic elegance and popular themed afternoon teas.

There are 15 character bedrooms and the restaurant is open daily from breakfast until the evening.

The venue also hosts a variety of events in its wedding and function space.

Richard Hughes also has his Cookery School on site, which has previously won British Cookery School of the Year.

The judges described the internal presentation and décor as “stunning”. They especially loved the bed frame in their room, which they said was “unique and added to the luxurious feel of the room”.

With 90 staff employed by the house, the judges added that the experience was “made all the more enjoyable by the friendly, engaging and attentive service”.

Eastern Daily Press: The Victoria hotel and restaurant in Holkham, NorfolkThe Victoria hotel and restaurant in Holkham, Norfolk (Image: The Victoria)

The Victoria

The Victoria is a small hotel and restaurant, set moments away from Holkham Beach at the gates of Holkham Park.

The hotel is named after Queen Victoria and has been under its current ownership since 2001.

Set across two historical buildings, it was successfully refurbished in 2013, with The Ancient House added as an annexe to the hotel.

There are 20 individually decorated rooms, from double rooms to large family suites, with dogs welcome.

One of the main attractions is the restaurant, which sticks to the themes of fresh, local and seasonal, while also ensuring they are environmentally and ethically responsible across all areas.

The judges described The Victoria as a “perfect getaway”.

They said the interior is, “beautiful and combines both character and history”, adding that the “magnificent fireplace provides a particularly impressive feature”.

They described the restaurant as offering a “wide range of delicious dishes, focused on sustainability and featuring ingredients grown on the estate”.

The winner of the Small Serviced Accommodation of the Year award will be announced at the East of England Tourism Awards ceremony at Snape Maltings, Suffolk on Thursday, February 15. For more information, or to purchase tickets for the event, please visit

To see the finalists in all categories, click ​here.