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Reviewed 12 August 2018

We arrived for a one-night stay at Tuddenham Mill and checked in to one of the 'nooks' - pod-like structures facing a beautiful meadow situated slightly away from the mill building. Check-in went smoothly - the nooks are not super luxurious, but well thought out and charming. A radio, TV and fan are provided, the bathroom is clean and spacious. There is also a lovely outdoor space for each nook - ours was a real sun trap and we enjoyed sitting out and drinking the complimentary sloe gin that was provided. It's nice to have your own private outdoor space. We did a nice walk through Cavenham Nature Reserve, too.

Things began to fall apart somewhat in the evening, however. The bar area at the Mill is pretty small and it felt even more so as some customers were having meals there, which made it all feel slightly chaotic. There is neglected outdoor seating by the river (cushions left out all night in the rain) and the river is stagnant at this point so there are lots of flies (not really something you can do anything about). The bar staff were friendly but young and it all felt a bit directionless.

We had booked a table at the restaurant for 8.15. When we arrived, we were asked to go back downstairs for five minute while they cleared a table for us. Seems a bit odd, as the table literally had two glasses and napkins on it and would have taken 60 seconds to clear (plus this was not a hugely busy dining room). Anyhoo. Fifteen minutes later we were still downstairs, waiting. Eventually we took ourselves back upstairs, to discover that the table still hadn't been cleared. A different member of the service team apologised and immediately cleared the table (yup, took about 60 seconds) and we were seated.

Staff were apologetic, but there was no explanation as to why we'd been forgotten. Things didn't really improve once we got to our table - the waiting staff all appeared to be flustered and having a bad night. They weren't unfriendly, but they did appear completely adrift. We sat for another 15 minutes without anyone coming over; to reiterate, this is neither a large nor busy dining room. By the time we had ordered a bottle of wine and had a glass poured it was 9.05 pm. So more than 45 minutes from when we thought we would be sitting down for dinner to even get a drink. There were many dirty tables that needed clearing, and a general air of discontent amongst our fellow diners - service was very slow.

The waitress did tell us when she serve our wine that it would be taken off our bill as an apology for the slightly shambolic start to the evening, but even this was communicated poorly and confusingly (through the medium of sheepish muttering). In the meantime we hadn't been offered bread, or water. By this stage we were completely bemused as to why everything was such a struggle. Oh, and hungry.

We finally ordered and things improved a little. But not much. We were eventually given some bread and what we were told were 'canapes' - but absolutely no description of what the 'canape' was. It turned out to be pork and dill - and it was very good. But, it is simply not good enough to just give guests food without telling them what it is, and I can't imagine the chef would be too pleased. Plenty of people don't want to or can't eat pork, and since it took ages to get any service it would be an uphill struggle to even find out what you were eating.

When our food arrived, it was pretty good - which is what makes Tuddenham Mill so frustrating. I had the chicken parfait with wings, and it was delicious. The bread was also great (I'd have liked some more to go with the parfait but the thought of trying to attract the attention of waiting staff was too much at this stage). My partner enjoyed the gravadlax and sea trout. Mains were ok - I had the steak. This came with a chopped tomato dressing which didn't really work for me, and the chunky chips were bland and not especially pleasant. Our other main was the lamb, which was fine but not outstanding. We shared a dessert of croissant and toffee pudding - very sweet, but lovely.

Breakfast was the same story as dinner. We arrived at the restaurant at 8.15 to find it deserted. I had to go back down to reception to ask them to find some staff for us. Once again, the waiting staff were friendly but clueless. I asked for some toast and was told toast was included with coffee and tea (perhaps mention this on the menu?) - so I asked if I could have granary toast (we weren't asked what we'd like). Two minutes later a plate of mixed toast appeared, and two minutes after that a plate of granary toast. I appreciate that 'extra toast' is nothing to complain about, but if I was the owner of this restaurant I wouldn't be delighted at the waste and duplication - all because staff don't communicate with each other. However, breakfast was mostly delicious - especially the yogurt and granola.

What Tuddenham Mill seems to lack is an experienced manger or maitre d' to actually manage the staff. They are all willing and friendly, but appear to have had little to no training. The kitchen is doing good food, but it is let down time and again by the shoddy service. One of the options in the restaurant is a tasting menu at £105 a head, with wine. If we'd ordered that and received the level of service we did last night I'd be fuming, rather than mildly agitated. It just isn't good enough.

  • Stayed: August 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Rebecca L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HannahS4104, Manager at Tuddenham Mill, responded to this reviewResponded 2 October 2018

Hello Rebecca,

Thanks for taking the time to review your experience, its hugely important that we hear both the positive and negative so we can evolve/improve our experience.

Could you kindly drop me an email with your details so I can call you at your convenience.

With warm wishes
Hannah

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2018

Unfortunately we had a very bad experience at this hotel. The room furnishings were very 'tired" and worn as well as dirty. The food was poorly cooked and precocious. However, to be fair, after complaint the hotel did offer to upgrade our room and management were very apologetic. However we declined as the food (which was the main reason for going) was not as expected. The weather was hot and, although a fan was provided, it was so noisy it was impossible to sleep.
Disappointment all round.

Room Tip: Maybe rooms in the main building are better but they will be noisier than those at the rear.
  • Stayed: August 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank broster2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HannahS4104, Manager at Tuddenham Mill, responded to this reviewResponded 26 September 2018

Good Evening,

So disappointed to read this feedback, we strive to ensure our guests experiences are enjoyed and to a high level.
I think I remember working with you on the upgrade, however sorry to hear you didn't dine with us.

I will of course pass on this feedback to relevant departments.

With warm wishes
Hannah
Assistant Manager

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Reviewed 9 August 2018 via mobile

We arrived at the mill to celebrate our anniversary and were instantly struck by the beautiful setting. The buildings and the meadow are stunning. We were promptly shown to our Meadow Nook, which is very well designed and has fantastic views. A small issue is that it was difficult to sleep due to the extreme weather, but the hotel can’t control that. A parasol on the decking would have been nice. There are also a lot of bugs that enter the nooks. Perhaps a screen for the doorway and windows would be beneficial for keeping them out.

Breakfast was delicious and the staff who served us were polite and helpful. Every option we tried over our three days at the mill was delicious and well prepared. We had dinner on our second evening and the food is lovely. The deserts were possibly the best we have ever had - fantastic quality. Overall we enjoyed our stay and loved the area.

Stayed: August 2018, travelled as a couple
Thank 629MichaelS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HannahS4104, Manager at Tuddenham Mill, responded to this reviewResponded 26 September 2018

Hello Michael,

Thanks so much for this informative review, always so beneficial to receive useful tips for improvement on the experience.
You must have visited during the extreme heatwave, which as you said is something we have never experienced before to this level!


So pleased to hear you enjoyed the gorgeous surroundings and Team Tuddenham pampered you on your stay.
Great feedback on the desserts, I will pass this onto the team.


With best wishes

Hannah

Assistant Manager

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Reviewed 7 August 2018

I had been bought a voucher for an overnight stay, with dinner, tea and cake on arrival, gin, canapés, and breakfast. On arrival at this lovely hotel in stunning location, we were met by a friendly receptionist, who showed us to our "nook", which was like a pod in the meadow. It looked really cute, and was detached, which was nice. It had been decorated nicely, with a lovely shower room. Nice touches were the gin in the room, fresh orange juice, proper coffee, nice selection of quality tea, plus handmade chocolate biscuits. After settling in, we went into the main Mill to have our tea and cake. I had advised them beforehand that I was vegan, so it was lovely to have some nice vegan cake. The dinner was lovely - very tasty and nicely presented, in the stunning restaurant/dining room. Again, good choice of vegan options. We had been served our canapés before dinner, which were delicious. Afterwards, we went back to our "nook" and sat outside on our little patio with table and chairs overlooking the Suffolk countryside. Had a good, restful sleep, and went across to the Mill for breakfast. I have to say that the breakfasts all looked lovely, but I was disappointed with mine. No real vegan options for a cooked breakfast. I had to just have the beans, tomatoes and mushrooms, which seemed poor when compared to the lovely options for dinner etc. That is my only criticism of my stay. My husband said his cooked breakfast was lovely. It didn't seem fair to deduct a star rating because of the breakfast, but perhaps if anyone from the venue reads this, they could be a bit more adventurous with the vegan breakfast choices? Overall, a fabulous stay. We will definitely be going back.

Room Tip: Nooks are detached, whereas all other rooms aren't.
  • Stayed: July 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Bolanbabe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HannahS4104, Manager at Tuddenham Mill, responded to this reviewResponded 26 September 2018

Good evening,

We are thrilled to hear what a relaxing time you had at the Mill, it is certainly top of the list with the experience we want to provide to our guests.
Dietary requirements are extremely important to our Chef team, pleased you enjoyed our Vegan selection. I will feedback regarding your breakfast, this is something we can work on for the future.


With best wishes

Hannah

Assistant Manager

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Reviewed 7 August 2018

Lovely room with a great view. Highly recommended. Very clean and the staff were friendly and efficient. Would go back and hopefully stay for a longer spell. Looks as if there are great walks around the hotel

Stayed: July 2018, travelled as a couple
Thank Teresa R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HannahS4104, Manager at Tuddenham Mill, responded to this reviewResponded 26 September 2018

Hello Teresa,

Short and sweet with a lovely bit of feedback from your stay!
We do some great 3 for 2 offers, do have a chat with our reception team for more details.

With warm wishes
Hannah
Assistant Manager

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