Very slow kitchen, shabby, uncaring reception

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Guest's review of Chilston Park Hotel, Lenham, Kent

★☆☆☆☆

“Very slow kitchen, shabby, uncaring reception”

Written on: 30/07/2013

Our stay was a disaster from start to finish. We have nicknamed this place "Fawlty Towers Plus". For our troubles, all we got was our meal on the Friday evening for free which, considering it took them 3 hours, is the least they could have done. Specifically:

- We were given a room in the attic (Boswell) which is tiny (not much bigger than the double bed within it) and has a tiny cupboard to put clothes into - in the bathroom. The worst is it's much hotter than the rest of the hotel (you can feel the temperature rise as you ascend the stairs). The window opens onto a rooftop view with constant noise from the kitchen extractors and other people's attic room windows looking right at you. It was far too hot to sleep in so we complained and were given a monstrous portable air conditioning unit which sounded like a tractor and occupied the remaining tiny space between our bed and the window.

- Dinner on the first night took almost 3 hours. We waited an hour for our starters to arrive after ordering. The dining room was only half full so the kitchen wasn't even working to capacity. The food was nothing to write home about anyway, but the long delays meant it was nearly midnight before we finished dessert, so there was no chance of a relaxing coffee afterwards. After a day of travelling to get there, it was very frustrating. People dining at tables beside us also complained to the waiting staff about the extraordinary length of time it took to be served. The waiting staff were very apologetic about it but obviously the Chef can only churn out one plate every 15 minutes or so, and there was nothing they could do about it.

- Breakfast on both days was a very slow affair. Ordering the cooked breakfast (avoid at all costs - undercooked bacon, overcooked rubbery egg with solid yolk, over-boiled beans....) meant I had to wait 30 minutes to get my food on the first day, and a similar time on the second. Ordering my toast to go with breakfast and asking for white only when prompted, I then had to ask again as I finished my long awaited cooked breakfast as it hadn't been brought out yet. Then, when it arrived, it was brown toast, not the white I ordered. On the second day it was a similar story, except two tables who had arrived and ordered after us were served their breakfast before us (and it was the same as I had ordered too!). Any time we asked the staff a question or prompted them for our order, they were very confused and would usually just walk away and ignore us. After 40 minutes of waiting, we had to give up and go to our room to pack as we had an appointment to make on our way home and were running late. 40 minutes to wait for breakfast to be served? Who knows when it would have eventually arrived.

- The shower was broken. No matter what temperature we tried to set it at, it stayed the same very hot temperature. We complained about this on the Saturday morning but nothing was done about it (although they did acknowledge that it was broken). We came home from our wedding do after midnight to find a note on our bed saying we should contact reception to discuss the problem - not handy when reception is shut. I was then informed before checking out on the Sunday that I could have had a shower elsewhere if I wanted. They should have told us this straight away! So this meant that, not only did we check out on the Sunday morning very hungry due to lack of breakfast, but I hadn't been able to have a shower before the long travel back home to Scotland.

- The sink didn't hold it's water even when the plug was jammed in as hard as I could make it go. I had to shave with the tap on full to try to maintain a small amount of water in the sink. The sink also has a big crack in it, adding to the general shabbiness of the room.

I'm sure there was much more, but we gave up trying to remember it all and instead focussed on the wedding we had come down for, which was a lovely distraction and thankfully elsewhere.

In summary - do NOT eat there unless you are graced with bountiful patience, do NOT accept the Boswell room or any of it's counterparts in the attic space and, if you have a choice, please please stay elsewhere. For all our problems and the stress of travelling home hungry and without a refreshing shower on the last day, all we got was dinner refunded. The room itself was not worth the fee we paid and the general attitude of the place meant they don't deserve the custom anyway.

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