Updown Farmhouse, Deal, hotel review

Kent’s latest holiday destination is all about the food, which is elegant, uncomplicated and will have you wanting to lick the plate. The garden kitchen, light-filled dining room and lawn for lounging are a slice of serenity just 10 minutes out of Deal town centre, and dinner and breakfast are both served here.

If pleasing on the eye and stylish is how you like your hotels, Updown Farmhouse will not disappoint with its period charm, modern comfort and excellent food.

Updown Farmhouse, Deal, hotel review

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This 5-room hotel is in a 17th-century listed building surrounded by gorgeous countryside just 10 minutes outside Deal. The farmhouse has been renovated, keeping the building’s natural charm but bringing the interiors up-to-date with gorgeous artwork, furnishings and an enviable eye for colour palettes. As well as the four rooms in the farmhouse itself, there’s a Gardener’s Cottage which offers a kitchen and mini bar for those guests who prefer a bit more privacy.

The rooms are  styled in relaxing shades of green with luxurious bedding and plush seating in every room, along with the usual coffee, tea and snacks. Bathrooms are thoughtfully decorated with marble sink tops and antique taps on the baths, plus upmarket toiletries from Noble Isle. The restaurant, though, is where this place really shines, having become a local dining destination since opening in 2022 and reaching 78 on the UK’s top 100 list at the National Restaurant Awards. The culinary action takes place in a former barn in an open kitchen whose calmness belies the quality of the food coming out of it. This Kent icon is the ideal accommodation for those looking for a weekend of tranquility, aesthetic enjoyment and excellent food.

Why it’s great

You won’t find a more idyllic spot for a weekend of reading, eating, and getting away from it all. Updown Farmhouse joins The Rose as Deal’s other trendy hotel for those who appreciate the finer things in life, but where The Rose is set amid the action on the high street, Updown Farmhouse sits in a bucolic idyll of fields and forest. The advantage is an overwhelming sense of calm as soon as you enter the doors.

Upon arrival, you’ll be met with a smile from the team who will give you a tour of the bright lounges and guide you to your room. A booking at the restaurant for lunch or dinner is strongly advised (it’s open Wednesday to Saturday for dinner and for lunch on Sundays). Breakfast is served from 8-10am and is well worth getting up for.


Should you want to stay a few nights and make the most of Deal itself, a car would really aid things, although you can grab a taxi into town for just over £10. On offer nearby is Deal’s seaside, classic fish and chips, charity shopping and spots for a wine or beer in the sunshine. We visited the (aforementioned) Rose, whose terrace offers the perfect sunbathing opportunity, as well as Smugglers a low key record-shop-cum-pub that serves brilliant Belgian beer and more. For those with vehicles, Dover, Sandwich and Walmer Castle are all within striking distance, but you might not want to stray far from the hotel once you’re there.

What’s the food like?

As I said, its the food that really makes Updown Farmhouse standout from the crowd. Fresh, seasonal ingredients, clearly lovingly sourced, are turned into an exquisite menu. Currently helmed by chef Oli Brown, the restaurant is a joy to eat in, with its roof windows, tomato plants and simple but comfortable furniture.

When we visited, highlights were courgette flower fritters the size of my head (well almost), as well as grilled quail with an aioli that managed to be punchy but not overly aggressive. The peach and tomato salad here is becoming somewhat of a signature dish – it’s dressed simply in a way that let the fruits’ natural sweetness shine.

Mains were generously sized: grilled cod with tomatoes, basil and agretti –Italy’s version of samphire, and roasted pork with apple sauce, the crispiest roast potatoes and shards of shattering crackling. Desserts did not disappoint either with a gorgeous raspberry millefeuille and an apricot sorbet with a welcome kick of vodka. Bread is from excellent local bakery Gilda and the cocktails – be they an amaretto sour or a cucumber margarita – are well-made. The children’s menu on offer needs a mention too: pasta with tomato sauce, and cheese omelette, just the homey comfort that a child enjoys and almost tempting enough for adults.


Breakfast the next day is all about Cacklebean eggs: they’re orange as anything and served scrambled with smoked salmon, folded into a fluffy omelette filled with courgettes and comforting ricotta, or cooked anyway you like with bacon and tomatoes. Truth be told I went back and toasted more slices of Gilda’s still-warm-from-the-oven fresh bread than I should but it was so hard to resist. Take your time over the day’s papers and enjoy as much tea, coffee and orange juice as your heart desires.


For such a small hotel, we were particularly impressed that room service is offered. There’s a breakfast-in-bed option, as well as drinks and light meals of meat and cheese offered until 11pm.

What’s in the rooms?
You’ll want to spend as much time in the rooms as possible – they’re just that peaceful (there are no TVs but there’s a large one downstairs in the fabulously sunny orange living room). It’s nice just to lounge on the super-comfy superking bed and take in the artwork and trees outside while sipping a cup of camomile or Earl Grey. Spacious bathrooms offer powerful taps and showers (the bath filled at an impressive rate), and a hairdryer is supplied as well as bathrobes.

Our room had a feature fireplace, arm chairs, umpteen velveteen pillows on the bed, a desk with refreshments and bedside tables offering the chance to settle down with a novel or magazine from one of the many library shelves… Bringing a dog? Four-legged friends are welcome on arrangement but please note  there’s a £50 extra cleaning fee.


The hotel has 7 acres of land to explore but it is well-suited to those who fancy a weekend of doing not very much. The lawn in front of the restaurant is the definition of tranquillity. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy lounging in the post-meal fog of satisfaction while you finish your bottle of wine or cup of coffee. Indeed lounging opportunities is what this hotel offers in spades: with many places to sit back, all gorgeously decorated.My favourite was the back living room honesty bar, in which you can mix yourself an out-of-hours martini or enjoy a wine or beer whenever you like, with plenty of ice in supply.

What’s not so great?

Updown Farmhouse itself is very little and it’s not a hotel in the traditional sense in that there’s no reception desk and no front of house staff on-hand after 8:30. There is a lot of communal space, which you’ll enjoy if you’re someone who likes striking up conversation with strangers but which might leave you feeling awkward if you’re not one for small talk.

If we were being picky, we might ask for hooks on the bathroom doors to hang towels and those who don’t love bathing might like a wall-mounted shower too (it’s offered in the biggest room). The restaurant is a big pull, but the hotel is definitely better suited to readers and daydreamers than up-and-at-em types.

What’s the damage?

Rooms start from £190 per night including that gorgeous breakfast. Dinner is served on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in the restaurant. Find out more about Updown Farmhouse via their website.

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