We booked a two night fine dining break as we were attending a weekend event in Canterbury, and were tempted by the excellent reputation of Chilston Park. To ensure we secured a booking, we booked at the end of August 2012, for mid August 2013, so almost a year ahead. This deal required payment in full in advance, which is non-returnable but a good rate. Two days before our arrival, so Thursday lunctime, when we were due to arrive Saturday, we were contacted by the booking team and advised that due to a problem with the booking system, we could not stay on Sunday night. We were offered a room at the associated hotel - Brands Hatch Place Spa Hotel, or they would find us a similar grade hotel in Canterbury, after I explained why we were in Kent. In truth, Brands Hatch Place was a satisfactory solution in terms of our route home, so we took that option, but the big problem was that we had to take all our luggage with us into Canterbury on Sunday which meant an extra early start, so that we could repack before leaving. This was an inconvenience which we did not expect.
On arrival the reception staff seemed to know nothing about the late changes. It would have been nice to have been given a proper explanation by someone from the management team, but that did not happen. One of the staff informed us that an exclusive occupancy wedding was booked in for Sunday, but that must have been booked in for some time. An apology, and perhaps a complimentary glass, or bottle of wine would have been appropriate, but none of this happened, it was all very matter of fact. So the moral of my story is that even if you book and pay well ahead, your booking may not be honoured.
Now on to the stay. All the staff are a delight to deal with. They are friendly, and attentive, and nothing is too much trouble. Our room was well equipped and comfortable with a four poster bed. The bathroom was pleasant enough, but showing signs of being ready for a refurb - yellowing radiator, and grouted holes in the tiles over the bath where the safety rail had been removed. If your room is at the rear, then you may hear the bins being filled with empty bottles, late afternoon - it was quite noisy for a time. The food is top quality here. We had sandwiches for lunch with a portion of chips, and the chips are the best I've ever had without a doubt. Evening meal was gourmet quality for every course. It really is that good. The dining room is exactly how you expect a country house should be with a remarkable plaster ceiling.
There was a good buffet spread at breakfast which we couldn't reall take advantage of, having to dash off early. The lounge and bar area are packed with antique furniture, but some of the seating is so patinised with age and wear that it really should either be restored or replaced.
Overall an enjoyable stay, spoilt for us by the way the booking situation was handled.
On the matter of traffic noise mentioned by another reviewer, it's nothing more than a distant hum, so did not affect our stay.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Grade 1 listed Chilston Park offers one of the most exclusive hotels in Kent. Set back from tree-lined lanes, the manor house at Chilston Park Hotel in Kent is set in 22 acres of parkland and features a two AA rosette restaurant. One of the most best loved hotels in Kent, over the years Chilston Park has been a home to eminent politicians, writers, Lords and Viscounts. Today it is a classic British country house hotel with plenty of style and charm and one of the most perfect wedding or leisure destinations in Kent. But perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this 4 AA red star hotels in Kent are the antiques and history that surround it. The hotel has many interesting artefacts that date as far back as the 17th century manor house. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Chilston Park Maidstone
- Hotel Chilston Park
- Chilston Park Hotel Lenham, Kent