Brands Hatch Palace Hotel & Spa
THE HOTEL: Part of Hand Picked Hotels, this 38-room, four-star Georgian country manor house in Kent is surrounded by 12 acres of parkland and gardens, plus a dozen extra rooms in a mews. Close to J3 of the M25 and J2 of the M20, it has the Brands Hatch motor racing circuit next door.
THE CHECK-IN: The small reception area just inside the front door provided a big welcome and the formalities were dealt with quickly.
THE ROOM:I had an executive room which including a seating area and small but perfectly kitted-out bathroom with heated towel rail, power shower and good-size toiletries. The neutral décor, mirrored throughout the hotel, gave a nod to country house hotel styling with heavy drapes and dark furnishings. There was a laptop size safe, desk, flatscreen TV and free wifi.
THE BUSINESS: There was free wifi throughout the hotel and five meeting rooms, all with natural light. The Terrace Suite has its own entrance – and terrace – and takes up to 160 theatre-style or 90 cabaret. There are four smaller conference rooms for up to 50, including the Garden Room. Day delegate rates are from £40; residential from £148. There was a Business Centre too. Teambuilding activities such as archery and clay pigeon shooting take place on the front lawn.
THE FACILITIES: Dining is either at the formal two AA rosette dining room, with private dining area, or the more informal brasseriestyle Atrium Lounge inside the spa. A threecourse table d’hote menu is priced £37. The hotel's CSR policy includes measuring food miles, recycling and residential bees. Leisure facilities included tennis and squash courts, treatment rooms, gym and indoor pool, steam room and Jacuzzi.
THE VERDICT: Attentive yet unobtrusive staff made this an enjoyable stay. It’s a perfect venue for residential training for up to a dozen delegates or a boardroom getaway only an hour’s drive from London or 30 minutes by train. Petrolheads will love the constant drone of the racing track but I’m not sure others would 9-4.30pm every day. There are plans to fit A/C over the next 18 months and also secondary glazing.
THE DETAILS: Brands Hatch Road, Fawkham, Kent DA3 8NQ. Midweek rates from £95 for a standard room inclusive of VAT and breakfast. see www.handpickedhotels.co.uk.
Reviewed by Gillian Upton (2014)