‘This is a triumph’: The Inspector is bowled over by a new Kent hotel that sits atop a warren of smugglers’ tunnels… and applauds the risk-taking young couple that opened it
- The Inspector says your ‘spirits soar’ when you enter Boys Hall in Ashford
- In the restaurant, he finds chef Shane Pearson has put together a clever menu
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Thank goodness there are still risk-takers out there — because this is a triumph, undertaken by a young couple who bought the Jacobean house in 2019 and set about turning it into a fabulous hotel with, currently, seven rooms but more to come once various lodges are built in the grounds.
Ashford International is just down the road but don’t let that put you off.
Walk through an old oak door into the dark and moody hall with a blazing fire, portraits, beams, a grandfather clock and a flagstone floor, and your spirits soar.
To the left is a grand private dining room, to the right an equally grand drawing room with sumptuous sofas and chairs, a woodburner, low lighting and high expectations.
The house was built by Thomas Boys in 1616 atop a warren of smugglers’ tunnels (medieval coins found under the floorboards are now in the British Museum) and Charles I looked in during the Civil War.
The Inspector spends a night at Boys Hall (above), a Jacobean house in Kent that has been turned into a ‘fabulous’ hotel
The Ernest bedroom, priced at £220 a night, features a paisley headboard and darkwood carpentry, the Inspector reveals
Pictured is the ‘huge’ rolltop bath under the window in the Ernest guest room
Standard rooms start at £180. Up a notch and you’re looking at £220 for one like Ernest, with a huge rolltop bath under the window, separate bathroom, paisley headboard and darkwood carpentry.
It reminds me of The Pig hotels.
There are no TVs (although there’s one in the pub at the back); lotions and potions come from Pelegrims; towels are huge and on the landing you can help yourself to crisps, nuts and chocolate.
The house was built by Thomas Boys in 1616 atop a warren of smugglers’ tunnels, the Inspector reveals
The restaurant is a barn-like conversion with a vast fireplace at one end
The Inspector says that chef Shane Pearson has put together a clever menu in the hotel’s restaurant
The Inspector declares: ‘Boys Hall is winning plaudits and prices are bound to rise — so get in early.’ Above is the grand private dining room
The restaurant is a barn-like conversion with a vast fireplace at one end, a bar at the other and tables in between, which in summer will spill out onto the terrace.
Chef Shane Pearson has put together a clever menu, starting with some exotic ‘snacks’ (Enoki tempura, venison biltong), followed by two courses for a reasonable £25.
Small quibbles: a place like this deserves proper napkins rather than paper ones; the music is a touch intrusive (when isn’t it?) and a cooked breakfast costs extra.
Boys Hall is winning plaudits and prices are bound to rise — so get in early.
Boys Hall, Boys Hall Road, Ashford, Kent, TN24 OLA. Doubles from £180 per night, including breakfast.
For more information call 01233 427727 or visit boys-hall.com.
Rating out of five: 4.5 stars out of 5
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