Belstead Brook, just outside Ipswich in Suffolk.
It's not a place we would usually have visited. No personal issues with East Anglia, of course, but a horrible 115-mile drive, half of it around the M25, coupled with its lack of proximity to the sea renders it a slightly inhospitable alternative to the many coastal resorts from which we have to choose due south.
Nevertheless at a little over 10,000 Exit points for a long weekend we decided to go for it, and arrived here at about 6.30 in the evening after a long and windy day pounding the streets at work.
The first impressions were favourable. After parking up we descended the steps to the Reception, where we were assisted by a very pleasant and helpful young man for whom nothing was too much trouble, and who answered our last question with as much patience and enthusiasm as he had the first. We took a look around - at the pool (which was self-evidently popular even at that time on a Friday evening), the spa, the gym and the restaurant and bar facilities. We were offered a table for lunch, which like breakfast was ever so slightly on the expensive side, but declined as we had already eaten, although we promised ourselves we would give it a try on Sunday.
The room is nice - quite spacious, all the necessary facilities, clean and smart. The double bed is at the small end of acceptable, but adequate. A good selection of television channels, and of hot beverages. The pictures on the wall captured my wife's interest.
In the morning we used the swimming pool, which it seems is also visited upon by the locals as Belstead Brook is a leisure centre as well as a hotel. The water was nice and warm and there were lots of good facilities - sauna, jacuzzi, ample lounge area with comfy chairs, a selection of reading material and a coffee machine. The changing rooms were decent and the showers warm, something which ought to be a given but is not always so at holiday resorts. This was followed by a leisurely walk around the hotel's substantial grounds, and a venture into the pleasant town of Belstead where we found a great local pub and restaurant, the Belstead Arms, which is worthy of a mention in its own right.
The Belstead Brook Muthu Hotel is a great place for a stay, to relax and to chill out. It is difficult to reconcile it with the Clube Praia da Oura, which is my unlikely connection with this resort and indirectly my reason for being here. It is a typical, quality English hotel, having little in common with the sunny poolside apartments and ambience of CPO. But I'm glad of the experience and it is a change as well as a rest.