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“Monopoly, fab food and a warm atmosphere”
Review of The Bell Hotel

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The Bell Hotel
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Sandwich
Certificate of Excellence
london
Level Contributor
22 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Monopoly, fab food and a warm atmosphere”
Reviewed January 3, 2009

Recently got back from a 2 day break in Sandwich and thought I should share the experience of the wonderful Bell hotel. New husband and 2 children 12 and 8 (have forgotten their names) set off for usual winter break between christmas and new year. This year having run out of places on the south east coast (hubby does not like a long drive) we or rather I decided upon Sandwich. I liked the look of the Bell hotel on its web site but thought £140 for 4 people for B and B was a little expensive. After enquiring about any special offers I was informed that it was £125 for all 4 of us for dinner, bed and breakfast! Somewhat taken aback by this very special offer I enquired how much it would be for 2 nights and was told clearly and slowly by the receptionist (she must have thought I was mathematically
challenged) that as it was £125 for one night it would be £250 for 2 nights...Needless to say I booked it. It was lovely. We had a large family room, which was warm and well equipped (8 year old found X-box in one of the drawers). The food was fabulous and we ate 3 courses each on both nights! Melt in the mouth lamb, beautiful fresh soup and delicious deserts. Restaurant staff were lovely and very helpful and friendly. I also liked the fact that they has provided a basket of books in the room for the children and games downstairs in the sitting area (we had a family game of monopoly and I'm now divorcing hubby after realising what a mean and conniving landlord he would be).
My only gripe is that it would have been good to have had some biscuits along with the tea/coffee making facilities and that although they have a disabled parking space they will let anyone park there (unfortunately this meant that my husband who is disabled had to park the car away from the hotel). So I seroiusly recommend this hotel for anyone but if you are disabled, give them a ring first and see if you can reserve the parkng space.

  • Liked — The food!
  • Disliked — Terrible disabled parking policy
  • Stayed December 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank hopehols
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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682 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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Croydon
Level Contributor
134 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed November 17, 2008

We enjoyed a weekend break at The Bell for £229, this included two nights stay, Saturday and Sunday night with A La Carte dinner for the Sat night included. The Hotel is in a prime location on the Quay. The staff are very friendly and polite and the hotel seems to be ran in a very efficient and professional manner. The actual building is not quite as good as its staff, maybe the expensive rooms are good but our budget room while adequate, was a little cramped and a bit dark even with all the lights on !! That said, the hotel is embarking on a phased refurb and overall we felt we got good value for our money, we ate very well, the dinner and breakfasts were very good and all the staff we met were excellent.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Dark Room
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank GJgetaway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed September 16, 2008

My parents and I stayed here for two nights for a much needed weekend away, and we had an awesome time. Although the hotel is pricey, you won't be disappointed. My single room was more like a double, it was nicely decorated and had a pretty view over towards the canal. The shower was excellent - the only thing lacking, given the price, was a bath. But overall, the service was helpful, the breakfast enjoyable, and the atmosphere charming. It is child-friendly - I made friends with a baby at the next table, and there were some keen golfers there too! It's great if you're there to spend some time at St George's Golf Club, which is just down the road, or if you want to use Sandwich as a base for some day trips to Canterbury and other places on the coast. I definitely recommend it, and make sure you dine in the hotel's excellent restaurant during your stay - the food is superb!

  • Liked — lovely room, great view, excellent food, helpful staff
  • Disliked — nothing to dislike, apart from the English weather of course!
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank adventuregirl23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greenbrae, California
Level Contributor
85 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed August 27, 2008

We enjoyed a Bank Holiday weekend at the Bell. Although we booked rather late and could only get a standard king room, there was an excellent weekend package which included breakfast and £40 off a dinner in the Brasserie. This was very good value. Our room, although not huge, was beautifully decorated in soothing tones, with a large armoire and one of the best showers we've encountered in English hotels. Everything was spotless. The lobby, bar areas, and outside terrace are all pleasant spaces in which to read the papers (provided in reception), have a glass of wine, or enjoy a pot of tea with scone for £4. Dinner was excellent - fresh sea bream and plaice, nicely cooked vegetables, a delicious berry crumble. Wine list is limited but not overpriced. Breakfasts were good, if not amazing, although it helps to get there a bit early (and they only serve until 9:30 AM). Everyone in the hotel was friendly and helpful.

Sandwich itself is a delightful medieval town with much to see.
It was an enjoyable weekend and we would definitely return to the Bell.

  • Liked — its location in Sandwich and the pleasant public spaces
  • Disliked — lack of parking but public parking very close
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Julie R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Surrey
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 28, 2008

Stayed here one night to enjoy the nearby beaches. The hotel has a lovely location which we appreciated to the full as we were given one of three rooms with balcony which overlook the river. The room was very pleasant with calming neutral colours and full length windows. It was an extremely hot day and we entered to a very stuffy room which was better when it finally aired but why don't hoteliers think of doing this in advance of their guest's arrival?
We approached dinner with some worry having read the recent reviews here but enjoyed moist scallops, tasty lamb and good Eton Mess. The main problem was with the details of service; the white wine was warm and when we pointed this out to the young waitress she suggested putting some ice in! Another waitress then exchanged the glasses for a very slighly cooler pair. When we came to check out we were charged for all the glasses so make sure you look at your bill carefully. We needed to catch the waitress's eye on a number of occasions and then found that things were a long while in arriving even though the restaurant was not full.
While we were taking coffee in the very pleasant entrance lounge another couple entered wanting to get their key from the unmanned reception. They ended up asking the hard-pressed restaurant staff as the receptionist had gone to watch T.V. apparently.
After a good night's sleep we went down to breakfast which was very busy. This was buffet style and was okay but not exceptional. Two main problems were that they had run out of croissants etc. That's not good enough -if you know you have a full hotel you need to plan ahead. Also the toaster had a long queue of people waiting to do their own toast and by the time I'd struggled with this my breakfast was cold. It would be nice if toast was brought to the table along with tea (a small thing to ask for the price).
However, these are small things and we pointed them out to the receptionist so hopefully any hotel worth its reputation will sort out these niggling matters. For many reasons this could be a good hotel; it needs to be managed really well to achieve its great potential.

  • Liked — lovely view, decor, food
  • Disliked — service
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank gibbySurrey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Clare, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed July 28, 2008

Sandwich is a lovely little town with strong medieval roots on the east Kent coast. The Bell is a good example of a sensitive modernisation of an older hotel and it should appeal to a wide range og clients.

Parking is limited at the Bell to seven generous bays directly outside the hotel but there is a large pay and display carpark immediately adjacent.

There is a wide range of rooms from standard doubles to a suite with a balcony overlooking the river. A good in between would be a standard King [available as a king or a twin] and rooms 37 and 18 are especially nice.

Excellent breakfasts and good dinners are served in the pretty conservatory diningroom. There is a strong emphasis on local produce and they are really on top form with seafood [especially dover sole and local scallops]. The wine list is rather limited but well priced.

Most importantly, the staff are universally pleasant and efficient. I'll be back!

  • Liked — The "can do" attitude of the staff .
  • Disliked — On a busy road intesection so rather noisy.
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank DrDoug2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
51 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
Reviewed July 14, 2008

The Bell is in the delightful town of Sandwich, a place of real charm and steeped in history. It is on the junction of three roads and whilst not terribly busy does has traffic around it especially during the day.

The hotel itself is no great building of beauty but has been very nicely refurbished. There is parking for about 8 cars so when that is full other cars must use the pay and display car park around the corner.

Our check in was friendly and we were given help with our bags to our room. We had a a room with a king sized bed (actually 2 single mattresses) with full length french windows and a balcony overlooking the river. It was nicely decorated with pale blue and green colours and had a decent amount of storage. The bathroom was a good size with a bath and large shower head over. Plenty of hot water for a bath but difficult to get the shower hot for some reason.

The was a small TV and a digital radio. We could not get the latter to work despite asking for it to be looked at or replaced.

The town is relatively quiet at night but there was some noise with the windows open at night.

The restaurant and food were disappointing. We had read good reviews of the food in the national press and had been looking forward to it. In reality it was indifferent at best. The fishcakes as a starter were clearly mass produced and were steaming as if from a microwave rather than being fresh from frier. Pork belly was dry and obviously over cooked and showed signs of being under a warmer. Many dishes were under seasoned and portions were way to large. A hot bownie for dessert could have fed three people. The specials did not change for the two days were were there.

There was maitre'd in charge on Friday. On Saturday there seemed to be no one in charge. The young staff were keen and cheerful but lacked direction. Water had to be asked for twice and we were brought the wrong wine. We were reduced to trying to pick the simplest things on the menu on the basis that there would be less scope for getting it wrong.

Even breakfast was poor. There is a buffet of fruit, cheeses, bread and pastries which was fine although the fruit juices were mediocre. The cooked breakfasts appeared from the kitched far too quickly to have been freshly cooked. Eggs were again underseasoned and the mushrooms showed signs of having stewed in ther juices. Coffee was tasteless.

Either the chef is resting on his/her laurels or they have left since this place hit the national press. We were decidedly unimpressed which was a great pity as staff were trying hard. The literature puts great emphasis on the use of local produce which may well be the case but when it cannot be cooked properly it really does not matter.

The place lacks direction. There was no sign over two days of the manager.

We had been really looking forward to this stay. The room was very nice - if a little noisy for us - but the restaurant was a real let down. If we had not been booked on a D, B & B package we would have eaten elsewhere.

  • Stayed July 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Diz01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Bell Hotel

Property: The Bell Hotel
Address: The Quay, Sandwich CT13 9EN, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Kent > Sandwich
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Sandwich
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — The Bell Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 37
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A traditional hotel with a chic modern twist. Thirty-seven individually decorated ensuite bedrooms, a restaurant menu which varies with seasonal availability and a choice of two beautifully refurbished function rooms. The Bell Hotel Sandwich is the ideal choice as a leisure destination or as a venue for weddings, conferences and private events.Throughout the year, the Bell Hotel holds events and exhibitions to: support the local arts, to promote the produce of local and regional farmers and growers and to participate in Sandwich festivals and celebrations ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bell Hotel Sandwich
The Bell Hotel Sandwich, Kent

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