It has won numerous accolades for its food during the past decade, and now The Sportsman in Seasalter is hoping to win acclaim for its hospitality.
The Michelin-starred Shepherd Neame pub, run by brothers Stephen and Phil Harris, has started offering bed and breakfast accommodation in five new luxurious log cabins.
The spacious purpose-built cabins are designed for two adults, and comprise a lounge and dining room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. They are all equipped with free wifi, and every care has been taken to ensure a comfortable stay, with a roomy double shower in every bathroom and a kingsize double bed with bespoke mattress and premium linens in every bedroom. All the cabins have a flat screen digital TV and digital radio, and the kitchens are equipped with a cooking hob, microwave, kettle, toaster, selection of quality utensils and cupboard packed with essentials such as sauces and canned goods. In the lounge, a selection of books and board games are provided.
Phil said: “We have received a lot of enquiries over the years from customers who wanted to stay over, but the pub didn’t have any accommodation facilities, although it had a large plot of surrounding land. A few years ago we started thinking about ways of utilising that land to create external accommodation, and with support from Shepherd Neame we were able to build these cabins.”
Each cabin is painted a different colour, with its interior décor themed to match. The blue cabin was designed by Whitstable artist Kimmy McHarrie, and her handmade mosaics are among the wall decorations. Phil said: “We wanted them all to have a distinct character, and our team had great fun coming up with themes and sourcing all the items. We even had umbrellas made in the colour of each cabin. It’s those fun little touches that people remember.”
The cabins are located to the rear of the pub, and each one has a covered veranda with seating overlooking the wild flowers and wealth of birds, insects and other wildlife that surround them. Paths have been created to each cabin lit by subtle brass lamps, and there is also a quaint painted bridge over the shallow brook running through the site. Phil said: “Part of The Sportsman’s charm is its remote, rural location, and we wanted the cabins to reflect that. There isn’t any light pollution here, you can just see the stars. It really feels like you are away from civillisation. Our cabins are only for adults and we don’t allow dogs as we want to ensure that our guests enjoy a restful, quiet experience.”
The cabins are also well-located for exploring the local area, just a stone’s throw from the beach and the Saxon Shore Way coastal footpath, perfect for walks to nearby Faversham or Whitstable. In his role as head chef, Stephen takes full advantage of the history and agriculture of the pub’s rural location, churning his own butter, making his own salt, baking his own bread and using produce from local farms and fishermen. Continuing this emphasis on provenance, the morning breakfast package delivered to all guests includes homemade granola, butter, wholemeal bread and marmalade, along with local eggs and yoghurt. Phil said: “We are also happy to provide ingredients for a full English breakfast for an additional fee, including our own cured bacon and sausages, and homegrown tomatoes and mushrooms. Whether our customers are visiting our pub or staying with us, our aim is to showcase the best local produce and create a memorable experience.”
Phil added: “Gastronomic tourism is on the rise, with people choosing to stay in an area and eating at three or four restaurants. These cabins aren’t just aimed at Sportsman customers, we hope that they will encourage people to come and enjoy the amazing array of fantastic pubs and restaurants in this area. It has been a really exciting project, and we have been delighted with the response so far.”
Shepherd Neame’s director of retail and tenanted operations Nigel Bunting said: “We have been working with the team at The Sportsman for almost two decades now, and are very proud of our relationship. When they came to us with this idea to utilise the pub’s unique location by introducing accommodation, we were delighted to offer our support. We have been very impressed by the stylish individuality of the finished cabins and are sure that they will prove a beneficial addition to the local area.”
The cabins are available all year round excluding Christmas. They are priced £150 for the first night, then £125 for any additional nights, with breakfast included.
For more information or to book call The Sportsman on 01227 273370.