I value privacy when it comes to going away. The luxury of room service or convenience of proximity makes way for seclusion and silence - solitude and separation - which might explain why I've always been more of a self-catering girl than full-board. There does exist a sweet spot, however - the point at which self-catering is elevated to the same level of indulgence that underpins a hotel room. Idle Waters, sitting neatly upon the bank of the River Stour, so close that within a few stridesof the back door you could dip a toe in, or perhaps paddleboard if you felt so inclined, is a dazzling example of that.
Self-catering always makes sense to me because I feel like you're getting more bang for your buck. Rather than a single room with an ensuite, you get a space in its entirety, a true home-away-from-home. I understand that for some, though, a bit of the holiday appeal is lost: having someone cook and clean for you is part of the magic, part of the relief away from ordinary life, but somewhere like Idle Waters occupies that overlap in the venn diagram of being looked after and enjoying privacy. Just over the water is the Talbooth Restaurant, a fine-dining eaterie set in an historic 15th century building with wiggly walls and wooden beams. Around the corner sits another, lower-key restaurant and bar - Milsoms - and a few minutes further is Talbooth Spa, complete with treatment rooms, outdoor pool, sauna and hot tubs, so though Idle Waters itself is unattached, all of the amenities you'd expect from a luxury hotel stay are within reach. Plus, you get a living room, a kitchen, a garden, two bathrooms, two bedrooms and ample room to settle into the bones of the place, something the quaint cottage draws you to do almost instantly.
Here's what you need to know:
Where is Idle Waters?
Situated on the border of Essex & Suffolk, Idle Waters sits snug along the bank of the River Stour, part of the picturesque Dedham Vale.
- It's easily accessible via the A12 if you're driving
- If using public transport, you'll need to hop off the train at Manningtree, Ipswich or Colchester and take a taxi the rest of the way
How many does Idle Waters sleep?
There are two double bedrooms to sleep four people. Both bedrooms have huge beds and an ensuite bathroom, one with a shower and one with a bath.
What's included in the cottage?
- Fully equipped kitchen with cutlery, crockery, a toaster and kettle, coffee pod machine with pods and milk frother
- Living room with gas fire, flat screen TV, BT Sports & Sky Movies
- Outdoor decking with table & chairs
- Parking for two cars
- ELEMIS toiletries
What you need to bring
- Slippers & dressing gown
- Cooking oil, butter, milk
- Your dog - Idle Waters is dog friendly!
How much does Idle Waters cost?
Currently a winter offer is running whereby you can stay 3 nights midweek or 2 nights over the weekend for just £450 in total for up to four. To book, call 01206 322795 or email reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is there to do at Idle Waters?
Whether you'd prefer to take it slow or have a diary full of activites, there's plenty to keep you occupied (or unoccupied - you choose the pace).
- The Talbooth Spa for treatments, prosecco by the pool, a sweat in the sauna and time to relax in the hot tub. I had the divine pleasure of enjoying a Deep Tissue Massage which was 55 minutes of pure, sweeping bliss
- Milsoms for lunch, a drink at Jack's Bar and casual dining
- The Talbooth Restaurant for fine dining or drinks by the river
- Paddleboards are available to hire for exploring the River Stour
- There are many scenic walks to take using Idle Waters as your base
- If you have a car at your disposal, the surrounding Suffolk countryside is beautiful (I may be biased because I live here but still) - try Southwold, Woodbridge, Bury St Edmunds or Flatford in the heart of the Dedham Vale (you can hire rowing boats here and row along the river)
The real attraction with a stay like Idle Waters is to embody the moniker: to be idle. It's a property of views and windows, darkness and light. January, the famously blue and dreary month, was for a few days batted away by the warmth and texture of the cottage - by the pillows and cushions and throws and the lick of the gas fire - yet I'm certain that in summer, with the French doors thrown open to the gentle babble of the river, it would feel altogether different; lighter and softer. The large bow window downstairs that looks out upon the water is made for reading, made for thinking and chewing over the thoughts and ideas lifted from pages. Likewise in the bedrooms upstairs, each desk is situated with a beautiful view in eyeshot, which - though it's drearily practical - means you're able to get some work done if you need to without it feeling too much like work.
All-in-all, Idle Waters is a pictureseque countryside retreat with everything you could need to shape a peaceful trip of your choosing. With the nearby amenities of the restaurants, bar and spa, and the idyllic Suffolk countryside unfolding around you, you're surrounded by opportunity with the expecation to do nothing. Isn't that the greatest coupling?
How to book Idle Waters?
Call 01206 322795 or email reservations at email@example.com