“ 136 Boxley Road, Maidstone, Kent ME14 2AE. Tel No: +44(0)1622 692221. Fax No: +44(0)1622 762084. „
What a nice change to stay in a hotel where the guests really come first, where great service and facilities are combined to make our stay truly pleasurable. The bar and restaurant which i believe have recently been refurbished are first class, with great food and sumptous bar area where a great deal of thought has been put to ensure high standards have not compromised the friendly atmosphere in the hotel. Rooms are clean and well equipped and more personable than other "chain" hotels i have stayed at. All in all a very pleasant stay which i would recommend to all staying in the area
The Russell Hotel in Maidstone, Kent is really easy to find, just off the M20, which is nice if you’re coming in from anywhere outside Kent as you’re going to want a drink after the M25. It is part of the Best Western chain. OK, that’s the good points dealt with, no, surely there’s more! As I drove into the car park in the evening it seemed a little shabby, but as I had driven directly to the back of the hotel it didn’t seem to matter, particularly as they had kindly put a door through to reception saving me the trek to the front. Reception is big and airy, and they found my details and booked me in quickly, although the receptionist did not make eye contact or say a single word throughout the whole transaction. Eventually I asked for directions to my room, just to prove she could speak. The room was a double, which meant that a double bed had been shoe horned into a single room, meaning careful negotiation of the beastly dark brown furniture was essential. The room would have been a nightmare to navigate drunk. I wound up crawling across the bed to get to the bathroom. The TV was great, just like the first colour telly we had at home, a huge brown box, with a small curved screen, showing a picture with a greenish hue. It was better than our old TV though because you could get Channel 4, but not 5. It reminded me of why we had to get rid of it, and brought back fond memories as I hit it in just the right spot to get the picture to stay still. The bathroom was a study in seventies design, I’m sure Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen would simply die when he saw the tiles, and my retro experience continued when I realised that there was only enough hot water to have a six inch deep bath. The room was however heated to sauna proportions, and as the radiator control was stuck I tried to open the window. A huge mistake. One was painted shut, and the other had sufficient mould growing a round it to warrant a David Bellamy show. The bar was just grim – don’t go there. The restaurant was pretty and I’m sure it is delightful for wedding receptions and WRVS dinners. One guest was told that there were no beefburgers, but he could have steak. He asked if they could grind him a burger, if he paid for the steak. The chef, rather worryingly, didn’t understand the question. The menu was a little sparse and I have to admit to running away to my room, where I had a bad bar snack delivered. Breakfast was along the same lines. The meeting rooms are clearly upset at having to be used for business purposes, and pine for the days when they host engagement parties, 21st s and silver anniversary dances. The smaller rooms are created by partitioning ballrooms, which means you can hear everything going on next door, not ideal for confidentiality. The gardens are pretty and there are a few areas which I’m sure would look wonderful in the spring and summer that appear to have been planted purely to make wedding photos look good. Sadly when I went out to get some things from my car I realised that I hadn’t parked at the back, the shabby frontage, and the haphazard parking lot was in fact the front of the hotel. Overall the staff were pleasant enough, but appeared to have been given a rule book and a set of twelve phrases that they should say and would do nothing that they hadn’t specifically been asked to do by the hotel manager. I would stay here again if I just needed a bed and I had eaten before arrival. I would not recommend it for meetings.