The Kingswell Hotel, Harwell
Magda and James took on The Kingswell Hotel knowing that it already had a great reputation for food and high-standard accommodation. Magda Spoke to OX magazine about their work so far, their ambitions for the hotel and what drew them to the beautiful village of Harwell.
Harwell and the surrounding areas is famous for its fruit trees, science and innovation. But beyond business, the area is also somewhere ideal to visit for a quiet weekend away. It is among the small English villages and gentle green hills that the Kingswell Hotel lies, providing it with the ideal backdrop for some time together, a business meeting or a nice meal with the family.
Food has always been a big feature of the Kingswell Hotel and with James in charge of the kitchen, this has continued to be the case. “The food is cooked by our head chef James...” Magda explains “…whose pub in Berkshire won the award for best food pub 2013, and he has since trained all the chefs to cook at his standard and produce multi culinary cuisine, in the aim to provide something a little different in comparison to other pub food in the area.”
As well as classic pub food, there is also a more complex a la cartè menu for long lunches and evening dining
The spring menu is based on locally sourced food from the Thames Valley and includes tempting favourites such as pan roasted partridge breast, lamb rack in a green herb crust and butter poached chicken supreme.
And to accompany the meal is a range of fine wines, many of which come courtesy of the hotel’s special relationship with Rickety Bridge winery. Alternatively, the bar stocks a great range of real ales provided by Hall and Woodhouse.
The hotel’s 20 bedrooms can offer guests a comfortable and relaxing stay, whether it is for business or pleasure. “Our staff are all very welcoming and accommodating to each guest when they visit our hotel. Whether it’s just to sit at the bar and enjoy a drink/eat in the restaurant, or if they’re staying for a lengthy period of time, our aim is to make their time with us as enjoyable as possible.
The hotel's theme throughout is Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and James Dean
3 influential stars that are still popular in society today. We feel that knowing guests will recognise the several pictures and canvas’ of these stars, they will share a joint interest with us, and wish to come again.”
A lot of work has already been done by Magda and James to put their mark on the hotel and as Magda explains, there are still plans afoot for more improvements. “The restaurant and lounge have been refurbished and improved, the reception area has also been renovated, and all of the 5 ground floor rooms and corridors have been updated and modernised. Our conference/function room has also been refurbished, and has been very popular since. We’re currently undergoing the renovation of our 15 rooms and corridors upstairs, and we have plans in the future for a large garden area to be put in place backing onto our function room, in the hope for a marquee to extend our events and introduce weddings and large parties.”
“It’s always a challenge taking over a business from previous owners and hoping to look to further improve its reputation. A lot of work has been put into the hotel and it takes time for a changeover to lift fully off its feet but we’re definitely achieving that and our success is showing with the popular responses to the changes we’ve made and the regular visits we’re receiving from guests in the restaurant and hotel."