The afternoon of the day we were booked in to stay at the Blazing Donkey saw me looking at the reviews on Trip Advisor, and I was apprehensive to say the least upon arrival.
My wife was so alarmed she even considered that we not even bother going.
As we arrived a 90+ guest wedding was in full swing. Confined to the marquee with some overspill to the bar we weren't overly worried.
The outside of the building was pretty much the problem with the whole establishment; dingy and somewhat past it's best.
The reception was, oddly, off the restaurant. All quite dark with stone floor and swathes of hops or similar hanging from the beams. Bare wooded tables throughout.
The duty manager arrived after a few minutes of waiting, clearly busy dealing with the wedding guests. He was a little abrupt as if to say "look, I'm a busy man, no time for conversations".
We were shown the door of room 13, corner of a block of single story rooms overlooking a courtyard.
The room was OK. Nothing stood out as poor. It was disappointing to have 2 single beds pushed together for the double room. This always irritates me.
The room was very warm, with the bathroom rad full on.
Tea/coffee supplied with all necessary items.
Some toiletries in the bathroom.
Decor was dingy. Oh, what a lick of white paint and some brighter fittings could do.
We paid about £40 for bed and breakfast with Amazon Local. Not worth any more than that. If I paid some £140 odd pounds for the experience I would be feeling ripped off.
We had been coerced in to booking the A la carte dinner, as a condition of being able to book the night. £45. More than the room and breakfast. It was along the lines of "the only way you can use your voucher is to book dinner with us.
The waiter was multi-tasked.
He ran the restuarant, was the barman, and seemed to have some responsibilities around reception as well. Lot's of waitresses.....all dealing with the wedding reception.
The food was ordered at fairly scruffy tables and lacklustre chairs. A tea light in a glass jar sufficed as mood lighting.
After ordering, and by which time another table was occupied, we were approached by the waiter. "Sorry it will be a 10 minute wait". 25 minutes later I was about to complain and then the starters arrived. OK.
Things sped up and we were away by 9pm having sat down at 7pm.
Food was alright. Worth £45? No way. Average only. My beer (which was off I suspected) and my wife's Coke, came to £5.50. So, the whole meal was £50.50.
So, the Donkey managed to take me for this amount over and above the cost of the room as a "condition" of booking.
Be wary of this.
I am not certain they can impose this condition. B and B would have been fine. We could have eaten elsewhere for half the price and with twice the enjoyment. Have no doubts.
Breakfast for us was tea and toast with cereal. Only 3 cereals available. Cornflakes, bran flakes and weetabix. That was it. They did a full English but I didn't have it so no comment.
Overall, no more than average. AND, if the management read this, make more effort, brighten the place up, and DO NOT say that you can only book a room with a voucher if you pay for dinner. The restaurant was not full so I reckon this was a con. And don't treat your guests with such dismissiveness while tending to what is clearly your key business...weddings. If you can't cope with the staff you have, close down the hotel business and concentrate just on weddings.
So, there you have it. A memorable experience. Won't ever be back, I am sorry to say.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Blazing Donkey is a 22 bedroom country hotel located near to Sandwich in Kent. The hotel boasts its ownrestaurant, and has a cosy bar and stunning garden with terrace for guests to enjoy. The hotel is owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Richard and Sherry Martin. The accommodation at the hotel is arranged in a courtyard and each of the well appointed en/suite roomsenjoy rural views. The rooms have flat screen TV's and baths with showers. Parking for guests is free.The hotel enjoys a very mixed patronage; from leisure break visitors, business travellersGolfers and wedding guests. The hotel is one of Kent's most popular special occasionvenues, and with good reason as the facilities are as extensive as the surroundings are beautiful. The hotel's restaurant produces a regularly changing menu inspired mainly from locally sourced produce. Lunch and dinner is served daily. Visitors can also enjoy morning coffees and afternoon cream teas. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Blazing Donkey Hotel Ham