Newest Review: ... expensive Owler Lodge booking the room by telephone with the erstwhile Mrs Patricia Owler. A minor drawback is that she'd only take c... more
Posh Enough Even For An Amber Elf
Hotels in Kent in general
Member Name: marandina
Hotels in Kent in general
Date: 19/09/02, updated on 19/09/02 (757 review reads)
Advantages: See op
Disadvantages: See op
Sooooo.....we decided to stay overnight in a guesthouse. With my razor sharp grasp of the benefits of the WWW I logged onto Google and typed in "accommodation in Dover". Hey, this was easy! A response came back taking me to http://www.doveraccomodation.co.uk. This was quite a colourful page with details of guesthouses including suitable links enabling us to have a nose to see if we could find a half-decent one. Only problem was that leaving things as late as I did meant that having rung around, most of the family rooms had been booked (tip 1: arrange accommodation sooner than within 2 weeks of going away).
The site was pretty cool with a map of Dover giving us a feel for how close we would be to our departure point. Having eliminated nearly all of the options (as they were booked already), we were left with either a Premiere Lodge or Owler Lodge just outside Dover. Hmmmmm...cost is an issue and Premiere came in at £43.75 for bed only whilst Owler Lodge wanted £75 including breakfast. I hadn't needed to speak to anyone at Premier as it was possible to go through their website (www.premierelodge.com) and simply tapping in my requirements told me whether a suitable room was available.
However cost wasn't the only issue. Premiere had only got smoking rooms left which we'd stayed in last year at Gatwick. N
o matter how much air freshener is used, our room still ponged so I opted for the more expensive Owler Lodge booking the room by telephone with the erstwhile Mrs Patricia Owler. A minor drawback is that she'd only take cash or cheque and I usually pay by credit card but we decided it was no big deal so she scrawled Mr & Mrs Marandina into her booking ledger. Needless to say, women being women, my good lady wanted a scoot at what the rooms would look like so we noticed that the guest house had it's own web site at www.owlerlodge.co.uk. The site was attractive with suitable views of Owler Lodge clinching the deal for Mrs O!
Location: Well, if you read the main portal, it mentions the fact that the guesthouse is set in the picturesque Alkham valley, midway between Dover & Folkstone. We took the M20 off the M25 from London, picked up the A20 which takes over where the M20 finishes taking us through Dover itself. Having passed the Eastern Docks where the ferry terminal is, we took the Dover bypass leading us back out of Dover. The drive is a further 3 miles, taking a turning for Alkham village with Owler Lodge set on the right hand side of the road (the web address mentioned above has a clear map i.e. www.doveraccommodation.co.uk).
Rooms: Owler Lodge has been awarded the English Tourism Council silver award so I guess you'd expect the rooms to be nice. Having mildly interrogated the owner (with a pink feather duster and the threat of a review on Dooyoo), it turned out that the lodge had 4 rooms and a family room. Our room was simply lovely. The décor was very tasteful with plenty of paintings mainly with a sea theme, a large master bed (he he), 2 single beds, shower/WC, an en-suite, a chair, lounger and a hairdryer. Our view overlooked the beautiful hills of Kent giving us some pastoral relief from coping with the kids. There was a TV although no satellite. Still, I managed to keep up with the test match (much to my good lady's mild chag
All of the rooms are non-smoking with en-suite and coffee making facilities. There are no baths though for those that prefer a long soak. It did seem a little strange lurking and lingering to make both real and mental notes but that's the price you pay to be an intrepid website reviewer.
Dining: There is a dining room, which is a reasonably sized room with 3 tables. It has a sliding patio door leading onto a patio area and steep garden. We only had breakfast in the morning, which had to be taken between 7.15am - 8.30am. Conspicuous in the corner is a rather charming glass showcase with an elegant display of dolls. I managed to scoff a full English breakfast (eggs, bacon, sausage, etc) whilst my good lady and the kids had the veggie alternative.
Evening meals are available on request to be eaten between 6 - 7.30pm. As ever, with Dooyoo in mind, I had a look at the menu list, which showed:
Starters from £3.25 including things like egg mayonnaise, prawn cocktail, melon etc
Main meals from £7.25 including things like roast beef dinner, chicken, chips & peas etc
Salads from £6.50 e.g. prawn & cold meat & cheese.
Kids meals from £3.50 e.g. fishfinger chips & beans, chicken nuggets chips and beans and the like.
All food is cooked to order and if the breakfast were anything to go by would be first class!
Rest of the accommodation: Having entered through the nicest but most ordinary of front doors, the hall is quite austere with wooden benches and tasteful pictures lining the sides. The first thing you notice is the wonderful, wooden staircase leading up to the bedrooms. On the way up, there is a gorgeous Chinese tapestry adorning a wall, whilst a glass chandelier forms the centrepiece of some delightful works of art complimented by exquisitely placed mirrors. My kids managed not to break or damage anything the whole time we were there this preserving the fabulous set up that is Owler
The lounge has an ornate fireplace heralding numerous ornaments of mainly brass, glass cases housing model traction engines, a leather chair, 3-piece suite with the windows diamond leaded throughout. I couldn't see a TV in the lounge so whether it ever became communal was debatable. We didn't linger too long as it had a bit of a sterile feel to it. I'm sure with a hearty fire lit and a glass of wine in everyone's hand it soon transforms into Bob Cratchet's parlour on Christmas Day afternoon.
The garden is a huge, sloping affair with a large fishpond being home to some huge, koi carp. There are lots of elegant looking flowers and shrubs hugging the pathway leading to the top of the garden with a couple of swings at the summit. We did go for a stroll which my good lady and the kids enjoyed.
Service and rates: As I mentioned earlier, we paid £75 for a family room but single rates started at £22 room only. The best thing to do would be to either e-mail the owner or call her on the contact numbers given on her website.
The service was typically English i.e. a little reserved although, by no stretch of the imagination, did Basil Fawlty enter our thoughts (I was free to mention the war whilst comfortable in the knowledge that Mrs Owler would know the contents of a Waldorf salad). It seems that the guesthouse has been in business for 10 years although the plaque on the front of the house proclaims "1987 Owler". Alkham is a small, quiet Kent village with our closest attractions either the local pub (a short walk) or the local cemetery which was a convenient 2 doors away.
We did sleep well the night we stayed and was car was still in the carpark (capacity for about 6 cars) the following morning.
Overall, I would recommend Owler Lodge. The scenery was stunning, the service was pleasant and we started a holiday in a nice frame of mind. There are cheaper alternatives, especially for famili
es, so it depends on your budget and what things are important to you. I'm glad we went for the option we did but I suppose you're cheapest alternative is to book a ferry/flight at a time that means you don't have to stay over at all!
Thanks for reading
*Well you did say on my last hotel op you wished you were name-dropped occasionally, Amber
**This should have it's own cat...erm...one day
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