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Brands Hatch Hotel – August 2008

August 26, 2008

Wanting a night away from parenthood, my wife and I booked a night at the Brands Hatch Hotel.

The hotel is easy to find and entering the sweeping driveway definitely gets you into the feeling that you are going to have an enjoyable stay.

The arrival was slightly marred by a bit of difficulty parking near the entrance thanks to an inconsiderately parked estate sporting a flat front tyre. However, that was the worst part of of stay the Brands Hatch Hotel experience and as niggles go, it really does fall very low down the list.

My wife had booked the night a few weeks prior in order to make the most of a Bank Holiday weekend and to take advantage of the hotels’ reduced Sunday evening rates. We arrived to see a wedding party having photos by the front door, the bride looked lovely (don’t they all) and we didn’t need to pause for long before we spotted a chance to make it to reception without becoming part of the background of a wedding photo. Glancing quickly about I felt certain that there must be more pretty places in the hotel grounds to have formal wedding photos than the main entrance.

The reception staff were as expected, friendly and professional. We had been guided to arrive after 3pm to ensure our room would be ready, however, we were asked to wait about 15 minutes as our room was not quite ready. Time soon used up by having a cup of tea in the bar, which gave us the opportunity to note that the noise of the races at nearby Brands Hatch Race Circuit were faintly audible in the background. I couldn’t help but wish that screens showing the races were on display in the bar and even on the TVs in the rooms. Predictably, to enjoy the races you really need to be track side.

The room was probably the nicest hotel room we have been in for a long time. Which, while it says a lot about the types of hotels we normally stay, does go to show that good quality hotels do not need to be prohibitively expensive. As well as computer connections, the room featured a DVD player, not something we have often seen, but then again, not something we have ever needed either. It was nice to see the inclusion of a couple of sports channels, especially given it was the final Olympics weekend.

Since our stay included use of the spa facilities, we made sure we got value and, once unpacked, headed that way to make use of the steam room, sauna and pools. They were all very pleasant and clean and gave the feeling of a very good quality health club. Chatting to other couples while sweating it out in the steam room or soaking in the spa, it transpired that we were not the only couple with dreams of a relaxing night away from the kids and this certainly is a good place to live that dream.

Heading into the bar for pre-dinner drinks did show up the compactness of the bar when there are many guests with the same idea. Probably a hazard of booking a night away that clashes with someones wedding, the staff were very attentive to the guests and it was a short wait for drinks and thanks to another group heading for the dining room, we were able to sit down for our drinks. Looking at the bill later it transpired that we paid over £5 each for out Gin and Tonics, good job we didn’t spot that until checking out time the next morning, London bar prices will always be a shock to us.

Seated at our table, the service was excellent and the food fantastic. Sometime a restaurant can ruin a great dish by serving it with averagely cooked vegetables which don’t get eaten, so it was nice to see unneeded extras avoided completely, leaving us to simply enjoy three courses of excellent cooking and not feel stuffed and overfed afterwards. It is a pet hate of mine to have restaurants serve plates so full you are effectively forced to choose to have either a starter or a desert. For me a decent restaurant is one that manages to serve excellent food in sensible portions and allows the diner to fully appreciate the food and still be comfortable afterwards, I gladly say that this restaurant is such a place.

Waking up at 9am the next morning was quite a surprise, not something I have done for a very long time. Not since I became a parent that’s for sure. The late waking was no doubt aided by the heavy curtains which very effectively blocked out all the sunlight. Within ten minutes waking there was the sound of a helicopter hovering close overhead and sitting up in bed we caught sight of a helicopter landing on the front lawn to collect a very excited (and very pretty) young lady. Not a sight I have seen very often and much as I would love to think the display was for my benefit, I suspect my presence there had nothing whatsoever to do with the helicopters presence.

Breakfast the next morning brought another pleasant surprise, a buffet style cooked breakfast where all the food on display was still hot and still tasted good. Having been used to hotels taking a breakfast order for you it was nice to see the food on offer and enjoy what I fancied there and then. Though one does wonder how much food is wasted with such a system. Thoughts of wastage aside and one good hearty breakfast later we were on our way again.

Summary:
A great hotel which I recommend wholeheartedly.

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From → Places to Stay

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