Where to find it
Sheringham is a charming old coastal town - situated 6 miles from Holt and 4 miles from Cromer – that offers a good beach, busy theatre and bustling seafront, as well as a quality town full of gift shops, restaurants and art galleries. One of the attractions of Montague House, and there are many, is its perfect location – secluded yet just off the main boulevard.

What to expect
Have high expectations when you arrive because they will undoubtedly be exceeded. The owners, Fiona and Tom Carville, know how to offer quality service in stylish surroundings without even working up a sweat. Expensive furniture, fine artwork and a pristinely polished entrance hall forms the perfect backdrop to the warm welcome you will receive from your hosts. You instantly know you’re in for an indulgent weekend.

Fine dining
Downstairs features an impressive dining room that doubles up as a library (offering a good selection of reading material) and games room (chess, backgammon etc) where guests are encouraged to relax during the day if they wish. It’s grand, as is the entire house, and every item an antique; from the sofas to the side board units; from the ornaments to the pictures on the walls. The word ‘antique’ doesn’t always fill me with joy as so often people refer to this as a glorified option for outdated furnishings but you’ll find nothing but high quality style here.

Boutique bedrooms
Fiona has an eclectic taste when it comes to art and this is reflected in the three very different rooms on offer. The pink room is vibrant and colourful with a mahogany Victorian carved bed and a chandelier that resembles its owner’s flamboyant personality. The garden room has an Edwardian feel and sports a sofa, dressing table and superb views over the landscaped garden. If you’re treating yourself to something extra special though, the gold suite is where your hopes will soar: a 27 foot long living space comprising of a stunning four poster bed, en suite with bath and monsoon shower, lounge area with fireplace, and private dressing room complete with the biggest gilt mirror you’re ever likely to see. Everything about this room oozes sophistication and everywhere you look there are collector’s items worth a fortune, hence no children permitted and understandably so. The suite is calming; the colours, antiques and artwork come together to form an environment for relaxation, indulgence and celebration. This is a perfect place for honeymoons and romance.

A collector’s dream
The outstanding collection of antiques and artwork around the house have either been sourced by Fiona herself or handed down from her mother, an artist who first began painting in world war two when she was assigned to paint aircraft noses. The canvases are originals from her mother and her artist friends, not least the now famous Tom Coates, who painted the captivating ‘The Bride’ that hangs floor to ceiling in the gold suite.

The finishing touches
With such elegant surroundings on offer, the bookings must surely fly in, but no corners are ever cut for the Carvilles; they believe in providing the best they possibly can in every way. That’s why you’ll find welcome truffles in your room from the Norfolk Truffle Company and Aroma natural bath products; each room has a different fragrance to reflect the feel of the sleeping quarters. The luxurious towels are 100% organic cotton and the heavenly duvets are feather and goose down. There is complementary mineral water, and a choice of red and white wine in all rooms as standard. There are no tea and coffee making facilities however but this isn’t through neglect, it’s simply not classy enough. If you want a hot drink, just ask. A tray with teapots, cups and saucers and freshly sliced cake will be with you before you know it.

A five star breakfast
If the rooms are what lure guests in, then the breakfast is what makes them want to stay even longer. Forget the traditional full English; it’s on offer but pales in comparison to the choices available, all cooked on an aga: asparagus and feta cheese frittata, French toast with maple syrup and crisp streaky bacon, omelette Arnold Bennett, and local smoked salmon with a toasted bagel and cream cheese to name but a few. There’s an equally long vegetarian menu and huge selection of fruit compotes, smoothies and a refreshing list of juices including cherry, apple and ginger, and apple and rhubarb. Fiona makes all her own jams and marmalades too, again with unusual combinations. My favourite was the lemon and lime marmalade; to say it was delicious is an understatement. I offered to buy the whole jar and apparently I’m not the first to do so either.
From patio doors leading off the dining room, you’ll find a large beautifully landscaped private garden with the odd perfectly placed bistro table for al fresco breakfasts in summer, and peaceful surroundings to sit and read if you fancy staying in during the day. There are two bicycles for use by guests and Fiona and Tom are more than happy to put together packed lunches or special picnic hampers with 48 hours notice.

I really cannot champion this boutique B&B enough; it has all the aspects that form a potentially perfect weekend away, with all the little extras that make it a memory that will last always.

The details
Rooms at Montague House range from £80 to £100 in low season and £95 to £125 in peak season. Two day weekends are the norm but longer visits are welcomed and the third night of a weekend (Sunday) is often half price. There is a surcharge for one night stays in peak season.

For a profile of Fiona’s mother visit www.usaaf-noseart.co.uk/hayward-ann.htm
For a profile of Tom Coates visit www.messums.com/artist/671/Tom-coates

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