The Aspinall Foundation, the conservation charity protecting some of the most endangered species in the world, has unveiled the next exciting chapter in its work with the opening of the Mansion Hotel and rebranding the Port Lympne Reserve, near Hythe.
The refurbishment of the Mansion has created a boutique hotel and venue that can cater for private parties, weddings and corporate hospitality events, as well as provide a great place to escape to.
Bob O’Connor, Managing Director of Port Lympne Reserve, said: “This investment and renaming as a ‘Reserve’ is a major step forward in the future of our work here at Port Lympne, and underpins our efforts abroad. It is also a significant investment and vote of confidence in the future of the tourism industry here in Kent.
“For us to continue to fund our international conservation work we have to make sure we are delivering what our customers want and make the most of what we have here at Port Lympne, and sister wildlife park Howletts. We are now able to offer an unrivalled range of accommodation against the backdrop of this spectacular wildlife park and the English Channel.”
Built a century ago, the Mansion played host to lavish house parties and society gatherings in its stunning grounds, organised by creator Sir Philip Sassoon, a member of the Rothschild family and MP for Folkestone and Hythe from 1912 until his death in 1939.
In a fitting link to its past, the Mansion Hotel was formally opened by Damian Collins, the present MP for Folkestone and Hythe, who was joined by representatives from the local community and tourism industry.
The lavish former home has counted Sir Winston Churchill, Prince Edward and Mrs Simpson, Lawrence of Arabia and Charlie Chaplin among its many guests. The renovation of the Grade 2*-listed building has created six en suite bedrooms and suites, each decorated in the style of the period and tastefully referencing their former high-profile guests.
Bob O’Connor added: “The Mansion is stunning and thanks to the work of the team who carried out its sensitive conversion and refurbishment it is now the perfect place to escape to or celebrate with friends and family. Guests will be able to wake up and walk in the footsteps of some of the most influential people and celebrities of the 20th century.”
The opening of the Mansion as a six bedroom hotel enables Port Lympne Reserve to offer high-end accommodation in a historic setting, alongside the nearby four-bedroomed Livingstone Cottage, which was luxuriously renovated in 2012 and has proved hugely popular.
Visitors looking for a luxury glamping experience have booked into Elephant Lodge, which provides tented accommodation for up to eight guests, and views of the elephant paddocks at Port Lympne. To meet the growing demand six new tents and a restaurant have been added for the 2014 season.
The multi award-winning Livingstone Lodge completes the accommodation at Port Lympne Reserve by offering the UK’s only authentic safari experience as it sits in 100 acres of land with animals roaming freely.
Bob O’Connor added: “We are very optimistic for the future and have exciting plans to create a new Tree House Hotel, a luxurious treetop retreat offering breathtaking views across the park. Our plans for Pinewood would create an overnight education experience for school children in close proximity to the animal enclosures, giving our guests the real feeling of camping in the wild.”
For information on the short stay breaks and the experience on offer visit: www.aspinallfoundation.org