One hotel in Dover does its best to keep you on the English side of the Channel as Carolyn Boyd discovers
When you’re travelling via Dover en route to France, there is little reason to dillydally on the English side of the Channel, especially when such gems await you on the French side. But for those who do need to stay over night near the port, the lovely hotel Marquis at Alkham will do its best to distract you from making the journey at all. Just seven miles from Dover ferry port, the hotel is tucked away in the pretty village of Alkham in the Kent Downs. The 200-year-old inn has been spruced up and transformed into a charming hotel with ten beautifully decorated en suite rooms and a five-star restaurant.
We stayed in the De Pamier suite, at the front of the hotel looking out over the quintessentially English countryside. Its sumptuous curtains, thick soft carpet and stylish turquoise and brown décor, made us feel instantly spoiled, while we had coffee in the comfortable sitting area. Two plasma-screened TVs were at our disposal (and DVDs to borrow from reception), as well as a Nespresso coffee machine and a choice of teas. The ensuite boasted an enormous, deep bath, with a powerful shower, a slate floor with under-floor heating, double sinks and – to my husband’s delight – a huge anti-fog mirror. As well as the mod-cons, the hotel also has charming little touches that give it its character – each room has a soft toy dogs on the doorstep which denotes whether the room is empty; guests simply take the dog inside when they go in. Meanwhile, the staff were wonderfully friendly and, despite not having stayed there before, made us feel like regular visitors.
Sadly we arrived too late to make the most of the five star restaurant (we made a note to ourselves to try it next time, especially with such dishes as Dover sole – what else? – and loin of venison to tempt us) but instead we sat on leather chairs in the bar area and enjoyed an enormous plate of cheese and bread, while sipping a large glass of smooth red wine. What better way to prepare for France? And in the morning, breakfast was a real treat. With a large choice of cereals, fresh fruit, and a wonderfully tasty full English breakfast. With such great food, lovely décor and heart-melting views, we were tempted to stay in England. Well almost.
Dinner, B&B from £75 to £110 per person.
The Marquis at Alkham
Alkham Valley Road,
Alkham, Dover, CT15 7DF
Tel: 01304 873 410