Raising three children and with both us parents working full time, it can be hard to snatch time together during term time. So this February half term, we managed to get away for a few days down to Kent, an area that we have yet to explore. I love exploring new places (as well as visiting old haunts = ahem Disney!) so I was really excited to spend a few days at the family friendly Country Hotel, The Blazing Donkey during half term.
The Blazing Donkey is situated in Sandwich, Kent just a few miles from the coast, complete with a AA Rosette awarded restaurant. The hotel is popular with locals alike as well as nearby residents of London which is only a short 1 hour drive away, making it perfect for those that live in the big smoke to steal a quick relaxing weekend away at a cosy hotel. Dover is also only a 25 minute drive away, making the hotel a perfect stop over for those that want to travel a little further afield to France or Belgium.
After a day of exploring Margate (which is about 25 minute drive away), as soon as we pulled in to its private carpark, I was welcomed by their secluded location and the warm glow from the interiors of the bar and restaurant. Their friendly and welcoming general manager John checked us in and personally showed us to our rooms within the Stables of the hotel.
We were given two stable bedrooms, one a standard double which my daughter and I shared and one family suite where the boys stayed for the duration of our 2 night stay. The rooms were not adjoining but we didn’t mind although we would have preferred it. Having too rooms meant that we have more space as well as the luxury of girly chats on the bed and taking our time in the bathroom!
The rooms were spacious, with the double room having a huge bed (I would say a super king) along with a sofa, dressing table and a side chair. The bathroom was also a great size with a walk in shower that I couldn’t get my daughter out of!
The family suite was a little larger with a super king bed and a single and a reasonable size bathroom including a full size bath. The bathrooms offered hand sanitizer and hand wash which had been decanted into a stylish bottle. There was body wash available but no other toiletries so do bear that in mind.
Each room have coffee making facilities to enjoy. I also really liked the glass bottled water and glasses offered on the bedside table; perfect for the night time. Little details like this really make a difference and we already were settled and enjoying the views of the fields from our rooms.
After some time to relax and freshen up we decided to go and have a drink in the bar and had booked in for an evening meal. The bar was small and cosy, with areas to sit and cosy up. There was two fires lit; an open fire and a log burner and we decided to take up the lovely sofas in front of the log burner for a glass of wine. The children were relaxed and before too long, were getting hungry.
We were instantly made to feel right at home by John and Meg who looked after all us night in the bar and restaurant. The meal served was off a set menu priced at £39 per adult for 3 course. The children’s meals worked out at £14 per head including a main and a dessert.
The food was tasty and enjoyed by all (we paid for this meal ourselves). We did think there could have been more variety on the children’s menu with two meals out of the four containing mushrooms. However, the chef was very happy to adapt and not include mushrooms into the chosen pasta that my children ordered and they all said it was delicious!
We were super relaxed and went to bed with full tummies ready for the following day of visiting Wingham Wildlife park! During our evening spent in the bar, we were informed by the staff of local attractions and restaurants to try; this was a lovely addition to the service they provided for us on our first evening and we felt so welcome.
As part of our stay, breakfast was included. Served in the hotel restaurant we were greeted with the smell of coffee and freshly warmed pastries and to my son’s delight – donuts! After helping ourselves to pastries, yoghurt and cereal, hot drinks and freshly made toast was brought to our table and we ordered our hot breakfasts. My boys opted for the full English as did my husband, and I went for the eggs benedict – my favourite. Nothing was to my daughters taste on the menu so the chef kindly made her beans on toast which was lovely.
The eggs benedict was, I have to say, the best I have ever had! The food was delicious and the perfect start to our day.
There is a garden area attached to the hotel and just off from the stable rooms. There grounds are simple and has enough room for an outdoor wedding ceremony, which happens on many weekends over the spring and summer months! There is also a marquee in the grounds too, and although we didn’t manage to sneak a peak inside, it looked spacious and a great addition to the hotel!
As well as the main hotel rooms (which also is home to a bridal suite) and the stable rooms, the hotel also offers 2 glamping tents and 3 Shepherd Huts located in the ‘Ham Hideaway’ field, which I just loved the look off! It’s pleasing to see that the hotel has extended it’s offer of alternative accommodation, as many people love different options to choose from when it comes to their stay. The glamping area also had a shared decking and hot tub for guests to use which I thought was a nice touch! Each glamping tent has it’s own shower and toilet (which is amazing!) and offer a butler chef and picnic baskets for you to enjoy.
After another delicious breakfast on the final morning of our stay, and although excited for our day at Diggerland, myself and my husband Matt felt a little sad to be leaving this little country haven and what we called home for the past two days. The bedrooms were great and warm, comfortable and had the best showers. I also slept like a dream and has been the most comfortable bed I have stayed in whilst in a hotel. The only things missing for me in the room was a full long length mirror and some small toiletries which would have been a lovely extra addition.
The staff were superb. Helpful, chatty and welcoming, they immediately put us at ease and we immediately felt comfortable in our surroundings. A special mention to the hotel general manager John, who went above and beyond to make our stay a pleasant one. Myself and Matt both said he was the highlight of our stay!
We had such a lovely time at the Blazing Donkey and I feel privileged that I got the opportunity to work with the hotel on a review stay with my family. We have already talked about returning to explore more of what Kent has to offer and visiting the hotel again!
If you wish to find out more about The Blazing Donkey, their website has more information to offer and you can book online.
Thank you for reading xxx
Hi and welcome to The Willow Tree. I’m Michelle, also known as Shel and I am a mama to three beautiful crazy kids – I have two handsome boys and a wild and wonderful girl.
I really wanted a concrete place to share my love for travel, in particular Disney and offer my readers a chance to gain some knowledge around what we love to do as a family of 5.
I share our family adventures which include days out, travel advice and tips, holiday reviews, restaurant visits and of course, our love for Disney, including Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World.
Life is about creating memories, and here we are sharing them with you