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St. Giles House, Norwich 

41–45 St. Giles Street
England NR21JR
Tel: 44 1603 275 180
view web site ›'s insider take:

Until this 23-room independent boutique opened in 2005, the county capital had been sorely lacking in notable hotels. The landmark 19th-century building—a former telephone exchange—stands handsomely on a street about the width of a scarf, a brisk five minutes' walk from the market square, and ten more to the cathedral. Inside, Art Deco–meets-Versace decor (with the odd nod toward Louis XV) reflects the glitzy taste of its Russian owner, although overall, the look radiates calm and comfort. Rooms vary in size; those in the original part of the building (as opposed to the modern extension) benefit from higher ceilings that make them seem roomier. The best bathrooms are in numbers 15 and 16 (with fireplaces and claw-foot tubs) and 23 and 24 (marble-clad with claw-foot tubs). The Elysium spa is catching on with the local high rollers as well as guests. Ditto for the Champagne and caviar bar, Mishka, and the rather overwrought Franco-Russian food of Dimitri's restaurant: Sweet-and-sour fish soup with mushroom piroshki and filet steak with horseradish–foie gras creamed potato are typical dishes.

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