Kent, United Kingdom

St Leonard's

Price per night from$158.04

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP114.29), via, using today’s exchange rate.


A handmade tale


Courtly Kent

A Renaissance-reminiscent mid-century masterpiece, St Leonard's brings Italian tradition to one of Kent’s bucolic country towns: the smooth, mist-grey walls and bright white awning are unmistakably Italianate among West Malling’s storybook streets. Beginning life as a modern trattoria serving bubbling pizzas, rustic pastas and bottled-sunshine limoncello, it’s now the sort of boutique hotel where stays revolve around food: supplies of brittle biscotti sit beside in-room espresso machines, aperitivo is a daily indulgence and the weekly brunches involve of granola-topped panna cotta and pillowy home-made focaccia with eggs Fiorentina. Not to be outdone, the interiors are a delight, brushed with Veronese greens and lead-tin yellows and dotted mid-century furniture upholstered in rich, velveteen fabrics.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A glass of prosecco each, or a bottle a room for Smiths staying two nights or more


Photos St Leonard's facilities

Need to know


Four, including one suite.


11am. Earliest check-in, 2pm, latest check-in, 6pm; there’s no round-the-clock reception or night porter, so if you’d like to check in out of hours you’ll need to arrange it in advance.


Double rooms from £120.00, including tax at 5 per cent.

More details

Rates usually include tax and a continental breakfast, served at nearby sister stay the Swan. There’s a minimum two-night stay during peak weekends.


Wander down to the restaurant between 4pm and 7pm to sip spritzers and nibble Italian cheeses and cured meats at the daily aperitivo.

At the hotel

Laundry, WiFi, restaurant, cocktail bar. In rooms: minibar, tea-making kit, Nespresso coffee machine, black-out curtains, flatscreen TV, Green & Spring bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Francesca is the perfect compromise between delightfully cosy and big enough to comfortably fit suitcases and a super king-size bed; its two sash windows overlook the orangery and bathe the room in soft light every morning. Sophia is the largest of the four rooms and its extra spacious bathroom is the only one that comes with a roll-top bath, walk-in shower and double sinks.

Packing tips

You’ll find a jar of crisp biscotti placed tantalisingly beside the Nespresso machine in your room – save room in your tote bag stash a piece or two for snacking on while exploring the Kent countryside.


Extra beds (£10 a night) and baby cots (free) can be added to all rooms. The bar and restaurant are wheelchair accessible, but, all bedrooms are on the first floor and the hotel doesn’t have a lift.


The hotel welcomes children, but the property is intimate and best suited to over-13s. Rooms are accessed by fairly steep stairs which make maneuvering prams tricky, but the restaurant has a children’s menu, highchairs and baby changing facilities.

Food and Drink

Photos St Leonard's food and drink

Top Table

Ask for a table in the orangery, which feels perpetually bathed in warm Sicilian sunshine – even on the gloomiest of British days.

Dress Code

Mix sharp tailoring with casual fabrics like denim and cashmere (just keep waistbands roomy enough for multiple courses).

Hotel restaurant

As the hotel’s raison d’être, it stands to reason that the restaurant would be one of the best things about a stay at St Leonard's. The less-is-more ethos echoes the guest rooms, reflected in a similarly succinct and refined restaurant menu and the light, airy dining space. The focus is on familiar flavours – spicy salami pizza, pasta carbonara, osso buco with gremolata, calamari with aïoli and lemon – so that the quality of ingredients and craftsmanship shine. The food might sound modest but Chef Fabio Moschini packs masses of umami flavour into dishes like pappardelle ai funghi di sottobosco, a medley of wild mushrooms, garlic, chilli, white wine and truffle (all the pasta is, of course, made fresh each day in the restaurant’s pasta cellar). Dreamy dolci come in the form of classic tiramisu and bread-and-butter pudding, served with Italian ice-cream or a zesty glass of limoncello, but it’s the weekly brunch that’s worth skipping breakfast for. Served with breakfast bellinis, mimosas and bloody Marias (plus unlimited prosecco), it features an Italianesque menu of granola-topped panna cotta, eggs Fiorentina on fluffy, fresh focaccia or prosciutto and poached-egg crostini. There’s an all-Italian wine menu – showcasing some of the country’s up-and-coming wine-makers – and produce like cured meats, cheeses and olive oil are sourced from Italian artisanal suppliers.

Hotel bar

Though compact, the bar’s combination of marble, mid-century lighting, ribbed glass shelves and sleek colour palette of moody grey and mimosa yellow hits that tricky sweet spot between timeless and trend-driven. Order the dessert-in-a-drink Tiramisu martini – made from Frangelico, Baileys, Kahlúa, espresso and cream – or, if you don’t think cream and cocktails should mix, choose from a list of Italian gins, beers, grappas and amaros, or sip an aperitivo cocktail, concocted from artisanal Italian bitters and vermouths. The bar's open daily from noon to 11pm.

Last orders

An à la carte breakfast is served in the restaurant from 9am to 11.30am, but head to sister restaurant the Swan, a few doors down from the hotel, for the free continental breakfast. An all-day menu is available in the restaurant from noon to 10pm.

Room service

The full restaurant menu is available for in-room dining during opening hours.


Photos St Leonard's location
St Leonard's
47 Swan Street
West Malling
ME19 6JU
United Kingdom

St Leonard's is tucked off the high street of West Malling, a spirited market town just a one-hour drive from London.


The closest airport is Gatwick, from where it’s roughly 40 minutes to the hotel. Heathrow is a one-hour drive away.


West Malling train station is a seven-minute walk from the hotel and is served by direct trains from London Victoria; the journey takes 50 minutes.


There’s free parking on the small streets and roads surrounding the hotel, but no carpark – finding a space can sometimes be difficult.

Worth getting out of bed for

Nestled in a county known for its near-endless supply of storied castles and cathedrals, West Malling is a quintessential English town dotted with a endearingly mis-matched collection of Tudor, Georgian and Queen Anne architecture. Cycle your way between two of Kent’s most impressive historic sites on the Tudor Trail Cycle Route, which winds its way from mediaeval Tonbridge Castle to Penshurst Place, a Tudor manor once owned by Henry VIII (both offer discounted entry if you arrive by bike). The trail passes the River Medway and meanders through wildflower-blanketed meadows in summer and coppery foliage in autumn. Hire a bike from Cycle-Ops and pop into Tonbridge Old Fire Station, opposite, for a restorative cappuccino at 65mm Coffee. Mild spring and summer afternoons would be well spent at Riverhill Himalayan Gardens where the unusual sculpted gardens combine billows of classic English flowers – bluebells, roses and daffodils – with Himalayan and Japanese design, quiet patches of woodland and contemporary sculptures. At the opposite end of the Medway, Copper Rivet Distillery crafts artisanal gin, vodka and whisky in an atmospheric Victorian pump house. Tours take you through the entire distillation process and leave, they promise, plenty of time for tasting. It’s worth driving over to Margate to visit Turner Contemporary, which is right on the coast and shows a rolling programme of contemporary artists alongside major exhibitions of the Romantic painter’s work – usually including rarely seen pieces. St Leonard's is steps from West Malling High Street and its offbeat collection of boutiques: pick up honeycomb and salted-caramel slices from the Chocolate Umbrella, duck into Abbey Arcade to rummage for vintage accessories or browse men and womenswear from brands like Ichi and Lavish Alice at Monks & Co

Local restaurants

Combine a leisurely drive over to Canterbury Cathedral with a visit to The Goods Shed a farmers’ market and food hall where the restaurant has a menu bursting with old-timey ingredients like quail’s eggs, guinea fowl, turnips and wild garlic that are assembled into dishes including Jacob’s ladder short ribs with roasted garlic, thyme mash and mushrooms or apple and buttermilk pudding. The setting, too, is fittingly pastoral with rustic wood beams, stone walls and tufts of herbs hanging above the produce stalls that occupy half the space. Over in the nearby village of Langley, The Potting Shed’s food spans comforting bowls of vegan jackfruit and black-bean chilli, Mediterranean seafood platters, chicken tikka kebabs and traditional fish and chips, which you can tuck into after a ramble along one of the walks that end in the restaurant’s garden. Expertly made, authentic Thai dishes – within walking distance of St Leonard's – can be found at Pad Thai where you’ll also encounter less common classics like the traditional coconut pudding khanom thuai. For an extra-special meal, gastropub The Sportsman in Seasalter – roughly a 40-minute drive from West Malling, and worth booking a few weeks in advance – occupies a windswept stretch of Kentish coast and holds a Michelin star for its superb plates of local, seasonal produce (such as salt-baked celeriac, apple and fresh cheese and thornback ray with brown butter, cockles and sherry vinegar dressing).

Local bars

St Leonard's sister restaurant The Swan feels like a homely local, albeit one where you can perch on a sapphire banquette, beneath a glittering art deco chandelier, sipping specialty gins and rhubarb and bee pollen-infused cocktails.


Photos St Leonard's reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this heavenly hotel in West Malling, a full account of their countryside escape will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside St Leonard's in Kent…

Kent’s countryside isn’t a likely setting for a contemporary Italian hotel, but St Leonard's blends in to the charmingly kitsch town of West Malling with ease. The county may be known for moated manor houses and oft-romanticised cliffs, but this guesthouse eschews such grandeur in favour of an understated and polished mid-century aesthetic. It keeps things minimal with walls in shades of smoky charcoal and raincloud grey, but nods to Italy’s rich romantic tradition with a mustard-hued headboard here and a malachite velveteen stool there. Though the walls are fresco-free, everything about St Leonard's feels like a work of Italian art: waking up to wafts of aromatic espresso, the haphazardly charred pizza crusts, the cloud-soft beds where you can drift hazily into a carb-induced slumber, revived by a cappuccino or – if you like – a foamy tiramisu martini or two… 

Price per night from $158.04

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