Port Lympne Hotel
What We Love
- A unique stay at an Edwardian mansion near the sea, in grounds roamed by African wildlifeAn elegant Edwardian summer home with Italian terraced gardens overlooking the sea
- Entry to two wonderful wild animal parks – one within the grounds of the mansion
- The glittering guest list of visitors past, from Charlie Chaplin to Winston Churchill
What To Know
- Acres and acres of manicured gardens surround the mansion
- Enjoy stunning views across Romney Marsh and the English Channel
- Free WiFi can be hit or miss
A grand Edwardian mansion with a colourful history and its very own wildlife park, Port Lympne is the perfect spot for a luxury country break. This beautiful house was built as a weekend and summer home in 1914 and its original owner hosted the cream of English society, from Winston Churchill and Lawrence of Arabia to Charlie Chaplin.
It has recently been restored to its former glory, boasting six en-suite boutique rooms individually designed to an excellent standard. With wonderful views of Romney Marsh and the English Channel, the house is bordered by an elegant patchwork of Italian terraced gardens and lawns to discover during your stay.
Port Lympne Reserve is home to a magnificent array of wildlife and endangered species. Entrance to the park and to the Howletts Wild Animal Park are included in your stay, so go wild and meet some of the beautiful residents. Whether it’s the majestic black rhinos, awe-inspiring Siberian tigers or the pint-size pudu deer that steal your heart, you’re bound to find a favourite.
How to Get There
I liked the hotel - full of character and beautifully decorated for Xmas. The hotel itself was very warm however so I struggled to get comfortable downstairs in the bar or billiard room. Like another reviewer I also stayed in the Charlie Chaplin suite. The room was very hot so I turned off the radiator. I slept with the window open. It was fab listening to the lions roar during the night! The bathroom was rather old-fashioned but in keeping with the hotel and I rather liked the shabby chic I have to say. The electric shower was by far the noisiest I have ever encountered but it didn't spoil the stay for me. "Horses for courses" I guess. Evening meal was good in my opinion.
The location needs a mention - big cat enclosures are within a couple of minutes walk, the bar up the drive opposite the tree houses has a big fire pit in the middle to toast marsh mallows and the staff could not have been kinder in ferrying us around on golf buggies. Of course December was not the best time to see the animals but I'm supportive of anyone that is involved in breeding programmes to preserve/reintroduce endangered species so hats off to them and I'm ok if that means it costs a bit more. I'd happily return.
I was given a one night break experience including free entry to Port Lympne reserve and Howletts a present. The length of time was just about perfect. We were able to see the reserve on the Sunday, relax in the evening, enjoy a superb English breakfast the next morning and still have plenty of time to visit Howletts. Our only criticism was that the hotel restaurant dinner menu was rather limited and our tip was, to see the animals at their most active, visit as late in the afternoon as possible.
My husband booked a night at the Port Lympne Hotel as a birthday surprise. We stayed in the Charlie Chaplin Suite which was fantastic with beautiful views over the pond and surrounding parkland. The hotel is magical with animal themed murals on the walls in the dining room and function room. The hotel Christmas decorations added to the ambience. We dined in the hotel restaurant and the food was of exceptional quality, the best meal we have had out in a while and we eat out a lot! Also nice to see the choice of English wine on the menu, we had a delicious bottle of Chapel Down red from Tenterden. We visited the park on the afternoon of our arrival and the following day. The rhino safari led by ranger Rebecca was the absolute highlight of the trip. I still can’t believe I have hand fed a rhino. Great place for animal lovers, I can’t rate it highly enough!
I took my boyfriend mid November to the reserve and we stayed in the hotel. Firstly the hotel views are breath taking and we stayed in the T E Lawrence room which had a huge bed and massive bathroom with bath and coffee etc and the breakfast is gorgeous.
The safari is free and is around an hour! The animals had so much space and the zookeepers were so passionate about their jobs. Highlight for me was that the park was nearly empty so felt like we had it to ourselves. Had dinner in babydolls (usually need to pre book) and that was lovely!
Also the rhinos!! When we woke early the day we left, me and my other half went to see the rhinos again and they were all playing and throwing themselves in the mud in the morning sunshine!
Although it can be difficult to navigate so we ensured we downloaded the map on the app to ensure we didn’t miss anything! But cannot really fault this magical place!
We recently stayed here for one night for my husbands birthday. We stayed in the hotel with our 8 month old. Room was really lovely. Clean, large with a 4 poster bed, nice bathroom and also the hotel kindly provided a cot as I notified them in advance.
The Port Lympne park itself was excellent. We really would recommend this as an alternative to the traditional zoo. We enjoyed a safari ride one afternoon and hours of walking around the park which was easy to do with our stroller. For the safari truck ride we put the baby in his carrier and he sat on my lap with no problem.
We had dinner at Babydolls restaurant which was really good. Both food and service was fab.
The main issue with this hotel is the staffing. It’s hard to explain what a strange experience this was. From checking in to the overall hotel staffing at reception, bar and the restaurant this hotel really needs to change something. The staffing is 1 star for a hotel and resort that should be amazing.
A young female manager who was in charge did not speak very respectfully to her team. The bar and restaurant were empty when we were there yet the service was chaotic and disorganised. I stood at the bar for 5 mins with 3 members of staff behind it (including the manager) and not one team member made eye contact with me. Secondly the bar and restaurant is loosing so much money by not having any snacks available or by not offering afternoon tea to walk ins. I do understand that you have to deliver/ order the food in advance, but in the quiet afternoon that we visited 8 people asked for this option which like us were told ‘sorry you have to pre-book’. The restaurant at this time had 4 people in it. In times when the retail industry is struggling and fighting for money I am surprised to see anyone turned away. I do not want to come across as a ‘know it all’ as this is not my intention. Yes I am a restaurant manager myself and just felt disappointed that the service was below expectations. With the right leadership and organisation this hotel could and should have the wow factor.
Secondly, hotel check in. We were just let in the gate with no check on our booking reference and we were allowed to use the park all day. There was no ask of booking reference or surname, so technically we could of easily entered the park for free. The gentleman on hotel reception told us he was new. He was very cold and disinterested in check in and didn’t even know where each room was.
In all honestly we did have a good stay, Hence the high rating. I just hope that management read this and change the leadership of this hotel to match the quality the rest of the park has on offer.
We will still do course recommend and will return in the future.