We arrived at our room to find we were in 'Camelot' (or 'Camalot', as the room service receipt has it.) The receptionist who conducted us there declared it her favourite room; and Luke who brought us some tea told us with pride that Julia Hands chooses all the décor personally. The enthusiasm of the staff does Handpicked Hotels great credit, so I shall merely observe that the room is festooned with acres of red, blue and gold fabric, with faux-medieval fittings and a huge four-poster bed.
It was also commendable that the tea we requested appeared after only a short wait, even though the hotel was very busy with a wedding and another function. When I expressed interest in the hotel's history, Luke told me I could get a photocopy at Reception – but then he went one better and came back with a copy himself. Gold star for him!
The bed was comfortable, and the bathroom spacious and well-equipped. The drapery across the ceiling did make the room dark, though.
And so to dinner. Service was... unhurried. We ordered a bottle of still water when we sat down, but this wasn't actioned and we had to request it again later. We felt a bit sorry for the bloke whose job it was to carry trays of food into the dining room; he would then wait in the middle of the room, revolving gently, until someone pointed him in the right direction. Starters and mains were both excellent; desserts were rather stodgy.
At breakfast, the same happened again; we ordered tea, coffee and orange juice, but yet again this was not actioned, and after 15 minutes the lovely Kayleigh came and rescued us from our lack of breakfast. This is a shame, because the food when it came was excellent – pancakes and eggs benedict – but the uncertainty about whether one's order will arrive does not make for a relaxing dining experience.
Next we tried a bar meal. We asked what the dish of the day was – no one knew. We placed our order and I received my champagne cocktail, which was very good. However, the meal took 45 minutes to arrive, and the hotel was not busy that evening. It can’t be that ‘we cook everything fresh to order’, because the couple who ordered later than us got their food first.
Breakfast (7am) on Monday was very efficient and fast, so well done to the two ladies on duty.
Finally, back to that room décor: the panels on the wardrobe appear to be more ‘Indian’ than Arthurian. Check out some of the images!
- 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