We decided that after crossing the Channel, a long drive to Manchester, on a Thursday evening, might just be too big an ask and so decided to stay for the night on the south east coast. I’d read an article about Folkestone and how the arts scene is flourishing and more independent shops and restaurants are opening, so we thought we’d give this a whirl. Unfortunately, nothing was really coming up on our radar, accommdation wise, until I found The Rocksalt Rooms, which seemed to tick our boxes, and are described on the website as Boutique Bolt Holes. Before booking, I read a number of reviews on Trip Advisor where people complained about the size of the rooms, the bathrooms, the food smells – however, none of these put us off because we read the information provided on the website:
We have four boutique bolt holes, each with their own personality and dressed with Egyptian cotton, original antique beds, flat screen televisions and wet rooms. The rooms are situated a short walk from Rocksalt, two of which are complete with stunning views over the harbour and out to sea. Folkestone harbour is still a fully working fishing harbour, something we feel adds to the whole experience, and while we do our utmost to ensure the maximum level of comfort for our guests we cannot completely rule out occasional disturbance from the sounds and smells that go hand in hand with this…
So, prior to staying we knew the rooms would not be huge (“bolt holes”), that the bathroom would get wet (“wet room”), that the rooms were not located above the restaurant (“short walk”) and that there could be the kind of disturbances that accompany any kind of working area (“cannot completely rule out”). It would appear that a few people who have stayed, didn’t do their homework…
The restaurant is easy to find on the harbour. Even though I hadn’t realised you checked in here, it was immediately explained when I arrived and said we had a reservation. A lovely member of staff checked us in, advised re parking, helped us with luggage to the room (across the road and down a ginnel/alley – although you can walk a little further and go around a path – and even though it was dark by now, certainly not a cause for concern). We decided not to eat in The Rocksalt Restaurant – although beautiful looking, we wanted something a little less grand and were delighted to find The Smokehouse – more of which later – just under the rooms.
We were allocated the La-La Room, which was utterly delightful. A very tasteful combination of rustic and contemporary. The room was quite small, and yes, the only place to hang clothes was from hooks, and yes, there was no dressing table – BUT there was a very comfy bed, coffee machine, great TV, DAB radio, mood lighting, a really lovely shower/wet room, gorgeous toiletries, fresh fruit. And, when we checked in we were given a cutesy bottle of fresh, cold milk. Honestly, reading some of the reviews, it makes me wonder what some people actually expect for such a good price. We paid £85 and it was worth every penny.
Breakfast can be taken in the restaurant, but we did not opt for this – instead we received a breakfast hamper, delivered to the room at 8.30am as promised, with warm croissants, jams, granola, yoghurt, juices. Other reviews have highlighted that there is no table from which to eat your breakfast. We got over this quite easily by sitting on the bed. And do you know what? Our day wasn’t ruined 😉
The Smokehouse is located beneath the rooms and although referred to as a “fish & chip shop” is one of the reviews we’ve read on TA, it’s far from your average chippy. It does serve fish & chips, but a whole lot more besides – think street food and you’ve got the idea. It was a freezing cold night on the night we visited, and it wasn’t too far from closing time, so we were actually the only people eating in, but the welcome was very warm and the menu had fantastic choice. A great place to eat on the harbour, if you don’t want to spend a fortune.
All in all, we think we found a real little haven in Folkestone. A perfect place to stopover on the way to or from France.