A couple of weeks ago we were invited to stay at Knoll House Hotel in Dorset for a couple of nights. We have not been in this part of Dorset before so we were really excited. It is about 2 to 3 hours drive from London. We left on a Friday and came back on a Sunday. The day when we left was very cold, dark and a bit wet too. We were worried our journey would take longer but we managed to arrive just in time for dinner which we had already arranged in advance.
You will find Knoll House at Studland Bay on the Isle of Purbeck between Poole and Old Harry Rocks. Purbeck is a quiet landscape of coast, cliffs, heath and woodland, and a haven for wildlife. It’s perfect for cycling and exploring, and a wonderful place for dog walking all year round.
We made a video of our weekend at Knoll House, which you can see below:
HISTORY OF KNOLL HOUSE
The hotel has an interesting history. Apparently, Knoll House was built at the start of the 20th century as a summer retreat for a member of the Bankes family of Kingston Lacy. Over the decades the Bankes leased the house as a summer let, including to the Duke of Hamilton in the 1920s.
Panoramic view of the hotel
The last tenants were Francis ‘Chris’ and Marjorie ‘Poppy’ Smith who eventually bought the house and opened it as a hotel in 1931. After the war, Chris and Poppy Smith slowly began to repair their hotel, and eventually reopened in 1946. The couple retired in 1959 and sold Knoll House to Kenneth Ferguson who continued to manage the hotel for years to come.
In summer 2017, the hotel passed hands to new owners, Kingfisher Resorts, a luxury hotel group. They are very respectful of the history and heritage of Knoll House.
ARRIVAL TO THE HOTEL
Arriving at 8:30pm, we went to the reception to check-in. The lady that was doing the night shift was very nice and helpful. We gave our vehicle registration (done via a tablet) so we could park in the hotel car park.
Family photo at dinner time
We were super hungry after the journey so we went straight to the restaurant to have our dinner. As I mentioned we had already booked in advance so there was a table reserved for us. We were given the same table that Enid Blyton, the famous writer, used to sit at when she was visiting the hotel. It has a fantastic view which is obviously much better during the day or perhaps on summer evenings when the sun is out. I will talk more about Enid Blyton later.
We were actually given this same table to use for the rest of our stay. I thought that was lovely! It made us feel more at home. We were served by the manager of the restaurant who was very nice and told us a lot of stories about the hotel as well as what things we could do in the hotel and outside the hotel.
We were given the menu to order our meals so Sienna had fish fingers with chips and veggies; Bella had chicken nuggets with chips and veggies, Nick had Asian Crispy Duck for his starter and Pork Belly for his main meal. I ordered the soup of the day which was butternut squash and Spinach & Ricotta Tortellini as my main meal. The girls also had garlic bread with cheese on top.
We were super full from our starter and mains so we asked if we could take our desserts to our room to eat later, which they were happy for us to do. The girls ordered ice creams, Nick ordered a tiramisu and I ordered a cake with berries. Everything was yummy!
The girls were very excited!
After dinner, we went to our room which we were very curious to see. It was a double room (double bed) with an en-suite bathroom and access to a balcony with sea view. There was also a connected room with 2 single beds and a large sink.
Yummy cakes left on our room! Very thoughtful!
When we entered the room we found 2 towel swans on our bed as well as some cakes to try too! I thought this was a lovely touch. The room also had a Roberts classic-style digital radio, TV, hairdryer, tea-coffee making facilities and telephone.
MORE PHOTOS OF OUR ROOM ON DAY LIGHT
View from our balcony
The following morning the girls woke up very early because they were so keen to explore the hotel and its facilities. The first thing they wanted to do was to go outside onto the balcony to see the views we had. We were very lucky because our view was amazing and we were able to see the sea. It was a very windy and cold day but still, the feeling of being so close to the beach and being able to breathe in that fresh air was mesmerising.
Sitting area immediately before the balcony doors
Kids Room (Sienna slept there)
Kids Room (Bella slept there)
The double room was very big and comfortable. If you watch the video you will see my little tour of it. It had a lot of wardrobes and drawers, so there was plenty of space to put our things away. This would be particularly handy if you are staying for a week or more.
The en-suite bathroom looks recently renovated as it has a very modern look. They also provided Elemis shampoo, conditioner and bath gel which was nice. The only problem we had was that the water pressure was a bit low in our room so it took a lit longer to fill the bath and the shower wasn’t as strong as we’d like. But we spoke with the hotel and they have fixed this now.
We went to the restaurant to have our breakfast. Now there was daylight we were able to appreciate the view from our table. The views from that spot were so beautiful. I can understand why Enid Blyton chose this table. These were the same views we had from our balcony so we were able to see the sea from there too.
For breakfast, there was a buffet as well as a menu if you wanted to order something different. The buffet was really good with a lot to offer. They had the typical English breakfast but you could also have fruit, yoghurt with different toppings, cereal, croissants, cakes, muffins as well as toast and for the girls what they love the most, Nutella!
EXPLORING THE HOTEL
After breakfast, we explored the hotel. The manager kindly gave us a tour, explaining a little bit of the history to us. There are a lot of different rooms and areas to relax and have some time resting with your family. The main sitting area near the reception has an open fireplace which was nice to be around in the evening after dinner. They also had a communal TV room. In the past this used to be the only TV room but now each room has one.
I really like that this hotel is dog-friendly. We don’t have a dog at the moment but it is definitely a possibility in the future so knowing that Knoll House is a dog-friendly, is of course, a bonus. My parents in law have a dog so this would be very appealing to them.
They welcome up to two dogs per booking. There is a £15 charge per dog per night and they ask that you bring your own pet bedding. They have a special area where you can eat with your dog. Dogs are restricted from the main restaurant, children’s areas and leisure facilities. Apart from that, you can freely walk your dog around the hotel grounds and gardens.
Library & Reading Room
The reading room has a selection of books to choose from so you can have a lovely time getting lost in a book. There is also a dedicated games room with a pool table, table tennis and table football, as well as some vintage arcade games.
The manager also took us to a hall where they had a lot of original Enid Blyton books, an English children’s writer whose books have been among the world’s best-sellers since the 1930s, selling more than 600 million copies. Enid would often stay at Knoll House hotel in the Spring, Summer and Autumn. She got a lot of inspiration being there and wrote a lot of her books from Knoll House. She is famous for writing The Famous Five and Noddy. It was lovely to know all of that!
This is the end of PART ONE of our visit to Knoll House. Please, check PART TWO to read about the rest of our stay there.
Have you visited Studland Bay before? What do you think of Knoll House so far?
*Disclosure: We were invited to stay at Knoll House for two nights, so the food and accommodation were complimentary for the purpose of this blog post.
Thanks for stopping by,
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