Travel Editor David Powell visits The Faversham Creek Hotel and the Red Sails Restaurant.
In my travels I’ve slept in more than a few large four-poster beds over the years, but the one in the Queen Matilda room now definitely holds the record. This four-poster is 7 foot square, 7 foot high and very comfy!
Faversham is the oldest market town in Kent. Located on a winding creek there are lots of places to visit, as I was to discover on my recent short break. This bustling town has beautifully preserved medieval streets, hundreds of listed buildings and the meandering creek, once full of commercial sailing barges, is a lively scene of leisure and pleasure craft. There’s an array of independent shops to explore and the traditional market is held on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday in the centre of town. With lots of places to visit including Chart Gunpowder Mills (Faversham was the centre of the country’s explosive industry for 400 years), The Shepherd Neame Visitor Centre where an expert guide takes you on a tour through this busy working brewery, Maknade Fine Food Hall and much much more. Call into the visitor information centre, part of the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre in Preston Street for more information or the Faversham Creek hotel where I stayed has information to hand.
A Building Lovingly Transformed
In 2014, David Selves, along with his wife Tracy, purchased the building, which dates back to 1723 and lovingly transformed it into a beautiful boutique hotel. My wife and I checked in late afternoon and were warmly welcomed by David and Tracy. We were to chat later with them in the comfortable bar and lounge area like old friends, but for now another David, David Lowe (there were a few David’s there that night!) the General Manager took our bags and showed us to our room – Queen Matilda. In keeping with Faversham’s colourful past all the rooms have been named after famous people or businesses.
The Queen Matilda room is ‘the jewel in the crown’, a premier room with views over the Henry Pay Courtyard. Aside from the fabulous four-poster there’s a raised feature bath in the room, plus a large en-suite. After unpacking and relaxing for a while, the decadent notion of a soak in the bath with a glass of champagne took hold. No time unfortunately on this occasion – dinner booked in the award winning Red Sails Restaurant and pre dinner drinks of course with our hosts.
The lounge and bar are warm and welcoming. David and Tracy have invested much time in creating a ‘home from home’ atmosphere along with special touches like fresh flowers, tasteful decoration and very unusual wallpaper in the rest rooms – worth seeing! The bar is well stocked offering a large selection of wines, gin, whisky and champagne, as well as locally sourced cider and cocktails. There’s an opportunity to join one of the drinks clubs and taste the wide range of gins, whisky and bottled craft beer.
Creekside Fine Dining
The Red Sails Restaurant is an integral part of the hotel and with 36 covers each dining table is named after a Thames barge with a Faversham connection from whose sails the restaurant take’s its name. Now to be honest I can’t remember the name of my table – I was too engrossed in the dinner menu and the extensive wine list!
Head chef Scott Pendry leads the kitchen and the front-of-house is managed by the experienced Food and Beverage Manager, Fabio Armenti. This really is a beautiful and relaxing restaurant with fabulous food. The food philosophy is great ingredients, locally sourced where possible, and where the plate is a canvas and the chefs use their talents and skills to create dishes of great texture and taste with exciting visual effect. This was recognised last year by the Red Sails Restaurant receiving its first AA Rosette. Overlooking the Henry Pay courtyard, which offers both sun and shade, outside dining is offered in summer.
This is exceptional fine dining and both my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our meal and the first class service that came with it. All the Red Sails Restaurant menus are available to view on their website – from bar snacks to lunch, dinner of course, tasting menus and delicious afternoon tea.
Fed and watered and saying our goodnights we made our way upstairs to our magnificent Queen Matilda room – she and her husband King Stephen founded an Abbey in Faversham in 1147 and were both buried there. A good nights sleep and down for breakfast, not to be missed! After checking emails over one more coffee, there’s good free Wi-Fi throughout the building, we meet up with David again and he allows us to view the other 5 rooms; John Marlowe, Rigden, Henry Hatch, Robert Heller and Alice Arden. All of the rooms are individual and charming and rates start at just £85 a night including breakfast for the John Marlowe double room overlooking the courtyard. More pictures of the rooms can be seen on the website.
See You Soon
My wife and I discovered a ‘Faversham Treasure’. Not only is the hotel an excellent place to stay there’s the added bonus of an upmarket restaurant on site with first class service, a friendly atmosphere, fabulous food and reasonable Faversham prices. David and Tracy are rightly proud of this hotel and restaurant. As we left and said our goodbyes both David and Tracy said, “we look forward to seeing you again”. They certainly will, we can’t rate this hotel and restaurant highly enough and can’t wait to return.
The Faversham Creek Hotel is situated at Conduit Street, Faversham, Kent ME13 7DF.
Tel: 01795 533535