A Georgian manor house is set back against a long garden with green lawn and flowers

The Salutation, Sandwich: restaurant and hotel review

Spend the night at this stately hotel for an affordable fine-dining dinner and al fresco afternoon tea

Looking for places to stay in Kent? Want a country-yet-contemporary hotel? Read our review of The Salutation, and check out more places to eat in Kent here.

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The Salutation in a nutshell

Just 200ft from the River Stour, the stately Salutation, designed by Edwin Lutyens, is a masterpiece in Georgian grandeur (albeit with an uber-modern tasting room and glass-fronted open kitchen downstairs).

A Georgian manor house is set back against a long garden with green lawn and flowers
The stately Salutation, designed by Edwin Lutyens, is a masterpiece in Georgian grandeur

The vibe

It’s an elegant place, where the atmosphere is hushed and the carpets are spotless. Expect sweeping staircases, twisted columns, double-height sash windows and nearly four acres of carefully tended gardens (also designed by Lutyens). If you fancy a stroll, head to the Poplar walk then continue to the wet meadow, where you can sit awhile and admire the house from a distance.

There’s also a timber-clad lounge-cum-bar, a drawing room where afternoon tea is served, and a pretty terrace that looks out onto the gardens. Outside, also on the estate, is a gift shop, café and a small nursery where you can buy plants (more than 100 of those on sale can’t be found anywhere else in the country).


Which room should I book at The Salutation?

All eight bedrooms are vast, with views of the garden and St Clement’s Church beyond. Billowing curtains, Chesterfield-style sofas and ornate bed canopies lend a heritage feel to four of the rooms, while the others (Farrer, Lutyens, Jekyll and Gertrude) are more contemporary with navy blue walls, geometric rugs and sloping roofs. You can make your own tea and coffee, but there are no fridges for fresh milk.

A large bedroom with double bed. There is a black and white chequerboard-style floor and teal-blue painted walls
Gertrude bedroom is more contemporary with navy blue walls

The food and drink

The kitchen, refreshed in 2017 when chef Shane Hughes took over, is designed to be entirely transparent. It’s glass-fronted, so diners (who eat at gnarled wooden benches) can watch their meal come together (or turn to face the other side of the room and enjoy tropical garden views). The dining room itself is deliberately muted – dove grey walls, simple panelling and modern lighting – to let those views shine.

A dining room with wooden tables looks into an open kitchen with chefs at work
The glass-fronted kitchen is designed to be entirely transparent

Order the tasting menu (for a very reasonable £48 per person) to try the best of Shane’s cooking. Pre-dinner snacks might include truffled pea piped back into its shell, and mini mac ’n’ cheese bites made interesting with a background hit of fermented chilli (six weeks in the making). You might also try dark wedges of Guinness sourdough with smoked butter, delicately poached Scottish scallops (lifted with grapefruit) and duck breast with sticky honey sauce, pull-apart confit duck leg and roast butternut squash layered with blue cheese. The wine list is compiled by Master of Wine Vincent Gasnier and, though predominantly French, includes Kentish bottles from Biddenden and Chapel Down vineyards.

A circular plate is topped with a green sauce, a vibrant pink quenelle of sorbet, a tart and whole cherries
Order the tasting menu (for a very reasonable £48 per person) to try the best of Shane’s cooking

Breakfast

Though not quite as show-stopping as dinner, this includes stewed fruits, cereals, pastries and hot dishes cooked to order (including the egg’s benedict, draped in velvety hollandaise).


What else can foodies do?

Be sure to visit the kitchen garden (behind the wet meadow), to see the herbs and heritage vegetables that go into Shane’s menus. He works in conjunction with head gardener Steve Edney to keep the food as seasonal and local as possible.

A lush green garden with colourful plants and a gravel path leading through the middle
Be sure to visit the kitchen garden to see the herbs and heritage vegetables

Is it family friendly?

Children are welcome, but the exclusive feel of the main house could make parents wary of vocal children. Instead, book the Coach House (two bedrooms and a kitchen) or the three-bedroom Gardener’s Cottage, both of which sit in The Salutation’s grounds.


olive tip

Take afternoon tea on the terrace, right in front of the bowling green. It’s eat-all-you-like, and includes homemade scones, carrot cake with spiced mascarpone and bottomless champagne.


the-salutation.com

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Words by Charlotte Morgan