The Endless Charm of Port Lympne
Exciting developments are afoot this year that will establish Port Lympne as the UK’s most unique safari resort that truly has something for everyone.
There are many reasons why Port Lympne Wild Animal Park may already be a household name for you. You may be a regular visitor to the 600-acre wild animal park, heard of the conservation work of The Aspinall Foundation, enjoyed one of the many animal encounters or stayed at the award-winning glamping and Short Breaks accommodation. Whatever your experience, developments taking place at Port Lympne in 2014 provide even more reason to visit this stunning and unique destination in Kent.
Uppermost in the expansion of the Port Lympne portfolio is the stunning renovation of the living area of the mansion house, transforming it into a lavish boutique hotel that will open in June this year. The opening of the Port Lympne Mansion Hotel returns this unique and elegant Edwardian building to its original purpose – luxurious relaxation, fine dining and accommodation.
The history of the Mansion is steeped in prestige and glamour. Situated within one of the most picturesque locations in Kent, Port Lympne was originally commissioned as the private residence of Sir Philip Sassoon who charmingly entertained guests of distinction such as Sir Winston Churchill, Prince Edward and Mrs Simpson, Lawrence of Arabia and Charlie Chaplin.
Following the outbreak of war in 1939, Port Lympne remained empty for many years until the visionary John Aspinall, captivated by its charm, purchased the Mansion and gardens in the 1970s. Working with craftsmen and artisans the house was restored to its former glory, whilst John simultaneously established Port Lympne Wild Animal Park. After years of dedication and hard work, Port Lympne, together with its sister park Howletts, has become world-renowned for their breeding programmes of rare and endangered animals and the global conservation efforts of The Aspinall Foundation charity.
Today the park continues, not only as a home to over 90 species of rare and endangered animals, but also as a developing resort location offering a wide range of accommodation and animal experiences and where visitors can go on safari and experience glamping amidst the sounds of Africa.
The Mansion has for many years been host to weddings, celebrations and corporate events and now the accommodation at Port Lympne Mansion Hotel joins the diverse Short Breaks portfolio. Short Breaks at Port Lympne include: the multi award-winning overnight fine dining and safari glamping experience at Livingstone Lodge; glamping at Elephant Lodge – perfect for groups and those who want to stay in the park a little longer; and the ultimate VIP accommodation at Livingstone Cottage. With luxurious rooms, a private ranger and personal chef, an overnight stay at the Cottage is certainly a must for foodies everywhere!
Sam Lloyd, hospitality and events manager at Port Lympne states: “I’m very excited about the development within the Port Lympne Mansion and its new future as a hotel, weddings and events venue in Kent. This is my second renovation project at Port Lympne, having renovated Livingstone Cottage in 2012 and this has to be the most exciting due to the Mansion’s rich heritage.”
The accommodation at the Port Lympne Mansion Hotel will enable wedding parties, corporate and conferencing guests, as well as anyone choosing to celebrate a landmark occasion, the opportunity to party, meet, tie the knot and stay all under one roof!
Hotel guests will have the opportunity to combine a relaxing and luxurious retreat with a wild day of safaris and animal experiences. The hotel package will include a relaxing stay in the Mansion, entrance to both Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks, a delicious full English or continental breakfast, and experience a wild and luxurious retreat like no other!
The new hotel suites will include:
The Rex Whistler Room
Central to the Mansion, the Rex Whistler Room is located above the entrance with charming views across the unique ‘hippo’ water feature. The room has a beautiful blue and yellow colour scheme, with original built-in wardrobes and en-suite bathroom, providing a comfortable and tranquil retreat. The room also features a king-size sleigh bed, two relaxing chairs, an occasional table and television.
The Chaplin Bridal Suite
Indulge in a stay in this romantic bridal suite, with a private sitting room, original luxurious marble bathroom and king-size bed. With a colour scheme to compliment the indulgent bathroom and views of the sunrise, couples will adore this beautiful suite on the night of their wedding.
The Sir Herbert Baker Room
This room is a beautiful twin bedroom with views across the South Terrace and the Romney Marsh out to the English Channel. You can relax and unwind with your own en-suite bathroom and two single sleigh beds. Features include an original 1920’s ceiling in the lavishly styled room.
The Sir Winston Churchill Room
With a colour scheme inspired by the vibrancy of the southern terrace during the hot summer months, this bedroom enjoys beautiful views across the South Terrace and grand pond with a high cascading foundation. Enjoy the added luxury of a king-size bed and walk-in en-suite bathroom.
The TE Lawrence Room
Located on the west side of the Mansion, this room offers a king-size bed and enjoys the last of the evening sun. With a colour scheme inspired by the marble bathroom and the evening autumnal light, the room overlooks the famous Lime Tree Avenue, Trojan Steps and West Terrace. No matter what the weather or time of the year the view from this room is fabulous.
The Sir Philip Sassoon Bridal Suite
The most luxurious of the bridal suites enjoys stunning views of the famous Lime Tree Avenue, Trojan Steps and West Terrace all year round. Indulge in beautiful sunsets and the comfort of a four-poster bed, with a private bathroom and your very own dressing room.
In addition, the Mansion will also be offering afternoon teas on selected weekdays and Sundays. Delve into a delicious selection of sandwiches, beautifully presented on a 3-tiered stand beside a selection of homemade cakes and pastries including freshly baked scones, jam and clotted cream. The afternoon tea is the perfect way to relax after a day of exploring the wild animal park or can be attended exclusively for an afternoon of treats and indulgence.
In 2014, proposed additions to the Short Breaks options also include the construction of a brand new Tree House Hotel, a luxurious retreat which will offer breathtaking views across the park; and the development of Pinewood, another brand new accommodation encompassing unique lodgings which will be ideal for school children, giving them an immersive overnight experience within the magnificent grounds of the wild animal park. The Pinewood development will be in close proximity to several animal enclosures, giving the real feeling of camping in the wild.
In response to the demand for the 8-person tents at Elephant Lodge, guests can look forward to the addition of six more tents to choose from, these with self-catering facilities, along with the new Boma restaurant that will allow guests to take away freshly made pizzas and a selection of other delicious food to their tents.
Whether or not your visit to Port Lympne consists of a Mansion Hotel or Short Breaks stay, there will be many activity options for you to choose from too. Throughout the year you can see what it’s like to be a wild animal keeper by booking a one-day keeper experience which will take you behind the scenes to learn about animal conservation, their habitat and care as well as the opportunity to get up close and personal to some of the rare and endangered animals at the park. The keeper experiences are available for a range of age groups from Junior Ranger, suitable for children from 7 to 12 years old; Keeper Academy for ages 13 to 17 years; and Keeper for a Day for those 18 years of age and older. If you are looking for an experience that you can meet one of your favourite animals up close then the 1/2 hour Animal Encounters may be just the treat for you.
If it is a safari you are interested in then there are a range of new safaris to choose from. Due to the popular demand of the Dusk Safari, an experience that takes you out onto the wilds of the Kentish savannah known as the African Experience (when the park is closed to other visitors and includes a fabulous 2 course meal), Port Lympne Resort will also be offering seven new safari experiences. These include the Ranger Trail, a 2.5-hour walking trail; the AAA Safari; the Platinum Safari; a Rhino Safari; a Gold Safari; a Night Safari; and the ultimate bespoke package of the Sunrise/Sunset Safari. Each of these safaris is escorted by an experienced Ranger who will guide you through a personal tour of the wildlife, including some of Africa’s ‘big 5’, whilst educating you about the animals, the park’s breeding and conservation efforts and entertain you with stories of their own unique experiences.
For further information and to book please visit http://www.aspinallfoundation.