Boys Hall - a luxury, foodie getaway in the heart of Kent
What I loved about it:
Is everything an option?! What really stood out for me was the warm and welcoming approach, mixed with beautiful decors and sumptuous food. It celebrates all Kent has to offer in a comfortable, luxurious and inviting setting, making it the ultimate destination for a relaxing, foodie mini break.
Value for money (out of 10):
A love letter to Kent and the ultimate cosy escape
It was a cold and drizzly January evening as we arrived at Kent’s newest hotel and restaurant, Boys Hall. Located in the unassuming suburban area of Willesborough, just outside Ashford, you’d be forgiven for driving straight past and being none the wiser that this historic estate existed. However, as we made our way up the sweeping driveway to approach this magnificent 17th century house, we immediately felt a world away from our modern surroundings and were transported into a true foodie haven.
I’d followed Boys Hall’s journey on Instagram for a while, watching avidly as owners Kristie and Brad Lomas lovingly transformed this slightly dated Jacobean manor house into an oasis of sophistication for those escaping to the Garden Of England. Featuring rich, jewel tones, bold Morris-esque patterns and soft, plush furnishings, Kristie’s keen eye for detail and interior design skills were clearly evident from the moment we walked through the door. The lounges and bedrooms were stylishly decked out, full of opulent and inviting touches, without sacrificing any of the comfort or homely feel. With timber beams, vast brick fireplaces and sofas to sink right into, Boys Hall is the epitome of cosy, whilst oozing with history and character.
Upon arrival, we were met by Brad himself who made us feel at home straight away. Offered a slice of homemade chocolate and hazelnut frangipane tart alongside a hot drink of our choice, it was clear that we were going to be spoiled during our stay. The sweet tart was mouth-wateringly delicious, and we enjoyed it in the main lounge as we warmed ourselves by the grand, open fire.
After relaxing quickly into ‘holiday mode’, we were shown to our room which was equally breath-taking. We had opted for their ‘Sovereign’ room, whose name was inspired by the hoard of gold coins discovered during renovations in 1970 – now owned by the British Museum. An ornately decorated oak four poster bed stood pride of place in the heart of the room, with another irresistibly plush sofa opposite and velvet curtains framing the deep, ledged window. A handwritten note and booklet detailing information on the local area and history of the building added to the welcoming and personal experience.
The star of Boys Hall, however, has to be the food and drink. As intoxicating and lavish as the decor and design was, it was our evening meal that stole the show. The bar had been set high with the earlier chocolate tart, but dinner took it to another level. Celebrating produce from across the Weald, the drinks menu boasted offerings from local award-winning wineries such as Chapel Down, Gusbourne and Simpsons, whilst the meat on the food menu was from nearby Chart Farm.
With expansive ceilings and a barn-like feel, the open and airy restaurant itself felt a slight contrast to the more intimate lounges. However, it certainly had the wow factor and was equally as inviting and impressive, with low lighting and a mixture of round and booth tables. The oak beams above create a cathedral-esque arch, leading the eye to the vast brick fireplace at the heart of the room, whilst a pop of colour from the velvet seats and cushions gave it a modern yet comforting feel.
Taken to our table, we started to peruse the menu. It all sounded delicious, so we asked our lovely waitress, Lilly, for recommendations. As I’m notoriously bad at making decisions in restaurants, I often do this but very rarely receive the detailed and knowledgeable answer that I did from Lilly and the other Boys Hall staff. They all knew the menu inside out and were able to eloquently give their thoughts on each dish and make informed recommendations. We were incredibly impressed and it said a lot about the training and culture of the venue as a whole. No doubt this will be something that makes them truly stand apart from your everyday restaurant.
Eventually, we both opted to share a starter of ashmore and speck croquettes, followed by the fillet of venison which was served with layered potato, smoked garlic and port jus. It was all absolutely outstanding, bursting with flavour and beautifully presented. The meat melted in the mouth and all the accompaniments were cooked to perfection. For dessert, we couldn’t resist the apple crumble souffle served with custard ice cream. Again, it both looked and tasted incredible, with the softness of the souffle pairing effortlessly with the crunch of the crumble and sweetness of the apple. I’m salivating just writing about it! Needless to say, we collapsed into our four poster bed that night feeling very full and content.
Breakfast was also served in the restaurant but come morning, the room seemed to take on a whole new atmosphere. With light streaming through the tall windows and country views all around, it was transformed from the lively low-lit arena of the night before into a bright and refreshing space. It’s incredible how adaptable they have made the whole hotel and restaurant, making it such a unique and welcoming space to spend time in all months and times of day.
The cooked options at breakfast were an extra charge, which was a shame as we would’ve liked to try them given how good the food was. However, there was plenty included in our room rate for breakfast including homemade granola, croissants and sourdough toast. We were still quite full from the night before, but managed to tuck in to all the delights, setting us up nicely for the day ahead. It was a lovely, relaxed end to a wonderful stay which left us feeling completely spoiled and well-rested.
Boys Hall is luxury without any of the pomp or ceremony. It feels like a love letter to Kent, celebrating the county with high-end home comforts, delicious local produce and historical touches. The owners have successfully created a welcome and warm aspirational bubble to escape from the day to day and I honestly didn’t want to leave!