Here are the best hotels within 25 minutes’ drive of Bluewater, offering post-shopping relaxation in award-winning rooms, restaurants and spas – and they’re bookable on Culture Trip.
The fifth-largest shopping centre in the UK is more than the sum of its 300 shops. Feast at any of 60 eateries, from Wagamama to Dum Dum Donutterie, hit Sweaty Betty exercise classes, treat yourself to a mani-pedi at Nails Inc. or visit the 17-screen IMAX cinema. Feeling adventurous? Try Gravity trampoline park or Hangloose Adventure, featuring the longest and fastest zip line in England.
Your stay at DoubleTree starts with a warm chocolate-chip cookie, and the surprises keep on coming. Try the rejuvenating sauna and steam room, fitness centre and indoor pool with jacuzzi. Wind down at the in-house Starbucks or the QE2 Restaurant, offering afternoon tea with a view of Dartford Bridge. Fancy a rest in privacy? Call room service or upgrade to a suite where you’ll have your own mini fridge, espresso machine and private living area.
Choose the huge master suite at this boutique countryside retreat to relax in a romantic, two-person bathtub; or try the junior suite to enjoy cosy movie nights in a spacious lounge area. The RG’s restaurant serves local, seasonal produce: try the rump of English lamb, or pea and mint ravioli, either on the terrace or in a luxurious private dining room. The highlight is the Roman-inspired spa with two floors of pools and 19 luxurious treatment rooms.
Shopped out? Try alternative activities at the action-packed Marriott. Start your morning with a buffet breakfast before hitting the gym, heated pool, steam room and sauna. Wind down at the spa with massages and beauty treatments such as body scrubs, waxing and facials. Later, enjoy a pina colada at the Brew Bar Lounge, followed by dinner at Cast Iron Grill – their Sunday carvery is seriously satisfying. Cap it off with 24-hour room service to your cosy, colourful room and you’ll be utterly rejuvenated.
This 1703 hotel exudes British history with its overhead beams, classic fireplaces and gilded furnishings. Sip cocktails or ales at the circular bar, surrounded by old-style signs and coloured wooden-framed windows, or dine on big portions of classics such as fish and chips, or vegan pizza. Family trip? Kids will love the special small-person burger and the colourful tearoom, where clocks adorn the walls and the cakes never run out. Rest in your quaint, recently refurbished room and emerge, revived, to enjoy a full English breakfast.
Step back in time in this Grade II-listed, 17th-century hotel. The 14 rooms have been given a modern renovation while retaining period features – think plush chairs and geometric pattern rugs next to walls of traditional black-and-white beams. The historic architecture filters down into the comfy, chair-scattered reception area, where you can relax in quiet times. Got a spare hour? Hit Bexley High Street, on your doorstep, for more shopping and excellent pubs.
This four-star, 15th-century manor house in Sevenoaks, Kent, features Tudor architecture such as overhead wooden beams, as well as 200-year-old South Indian temple sculptures in the garden. Relax on the terrace by the pristine gardens, or kick back in the historic dining room as you indulge in a seven-course tasting menu. You’ll sleep in the neighbouring wing with silk cushions, long drapes and autumnal colours; 24-hour room service, a fitness centre and nearby golf courses all top off a very special stay.
Choose the tailor-made experiences at Brandshatch for a bespoke stay, from dog-friendly breaks with big courtyards to enjoy and treats on arrival to romantic getaways with champagne, a five-course taster menu and breakfast in bed. The Fawkham red-brick manor, built by the Duke of Norfolk in 1806, boasts flowered gardens and terraces perfect for enjoying a picnic hamper. Don’t miss the dance fitness classes, or the Himalayan salt massage ritual at the spa, before collapsing into your canopied sleigh bed with cashmere mattress.
Settle into your Georgian room, with original fireplaces and lead windows, overlooking the castle and period cottages of this charming riverside village. Your boutique home from home has seven individually designed rooms for a bespoke, intimate stay in the country. Downstairs, relax on the flower-surrounded patio or in the library with its open fire. Indulge in the house speciality three-cheese fondue, paired with Simpsons sparkling wine from Canterbury or beers from Shepherd Neame – the oldest brewer in Britain, based in local Faversham.