Kent, United Kingdom

St Leonard's

Price per night from$169.24

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 (GBP123.81), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

A handmade tale

Setting

Courtly Kent

A Renaissance-reminiscent mid-century masterpiece, St Leonard's brings exceptionally modern British dining to one of Kent’s bucolic country towns. Interiors are elegant, with natural textures and earthy materials (including claywork walls and banana leaf lights, and eclectic artwork on the walls). And stays here revolve around food, with homemade biscuits and espresso machines in rooms, and a brunch that includes virtuous granola, braised short rib with hash browns, Eggs Benedict, Royale and Florentine and summer fruit pancakes. The menus are inspired by Kentish roots, showcasing seasonal ingredients from local farmers, with European twists and contemporary influences that adds a dash of colour to West Malling's storybook streets.

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

Facilities

Photos St Leonard's facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Four, including one suite.

Check–Out

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.

Prices

Double rooms from £130.00, 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.

Also

Wander down to the bar and enjoy the restaurant's signature cocktail: Dockyard Gin, pink grapefruit, framboise liqueur, vanilla and raspberry, plus nibbles from the menu such as tempura nori salmon rolls.

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.

Also

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.

Children

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 highchairs and baby changing facilities.

Food and Drink

Photos St Leonard's food and drink

Top Table

Ask for a table in the orangery to be surrounded by claywork walls and elegant green cladding, and be bathed in sunshine from the glass ceiling.

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 great British produce whipped into fresh, simple yet fascinating combos – tempura-stuffed courgette with smoked feta and pine nuts; cured sea trout with samphire crème fraîche and Amalfi lemon – so that the quality of ingredients and craftsmanship shine. An a la carte breakfast is served here 9am-11am, Wednesday to Sunday. The restaurant is Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so guests staying on a Sunday and Monday night will be handed a breakfast card so they can have a cooked breakfast at the swan Brasserie two doors away. You can also get granola, yogurt and fruit in your room.

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 chocolate and hazlenut martini – made from Frangelico, chocolate liquere, vodka and cream – or, if you don’t think cream and cocktails should mix, choose from a list of gins, beers, and wines or sip a barrel aged Negroni pre-dinner. The bar's open daily from noon to 11pm.

Last orders

An à la carte breakfast is served in the restaurant from 9am to 11am, Wednesday to Sunday; on other days, head the Swan a few doors down from the hotel for the continental breakfast. An all-day menu is available in the restaurant from noon to 10pm.

Room service

A rooms menu is available with drinks and bites. An in-room breakfast of homemade granola, yoghurt and fresh fruits is available daily.

Location

Photos St Leonard's location
Address
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.

Planes

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

Trains

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.

Automobiles

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: we loved picking up honeycomb and salted-caramel slices from the Chocolate Umbrella

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

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.

Reviews

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 $169.24

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