It was the height of high society.
Now, after a lavish restoration, the Moroccan Courtyard at Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve in Hythe is back to its Roaring Twenties glory.
The courtyard, which once hosted high society parties, was designed by Sir Philip Sassoon, the baronet and Conservative MP for Hythe, who create Port Lympne mansion - now a four star hotel at the heart of the Port Lympne Reserve.
Reopened by Damian Collins, the current MP for Hythe who has written a book about his flamboyant predecessor, Charmed Life,
the mansion and its courtyard were the setting during the 20s and 30s for exotic parties for Sassoon’s influential friends. They included the Prince of Wales and Wallis Simpson, Winston Churchill, Lawrence of Arabia and Charlie Chaplin.
After falling into disrepair after the Second World War, the courtyard was finally restored by hotel and reserve owners Damian and Victoria Aspinall.
The team have lovingly restored the courtyard’s original features including marble flooring, pillars, octagonal fountain, baths and balcony.
Features, such as bespoke roof tiles, have been carefully recreated by local artisan potters, while antiques for the renovation were hand-picked from Marrakesh.
Victoria Aspinall said: "The Moroccan Courtyard is evocative of another era, a stunning vision of Moorish culture sitting at the heart of a glorious English landscape. It is an amazing part of Port Lympne’s aesthetic heritage and we have remained faithful to its original unique design."
WHAT'S TO COME
The courtyard renovation is part of a range of accommodation at the hotel and reserve, including a new Giraffe Manor, a 20-bedroom luxury hotel, where giraffes will give guests an unrivalled close up view of these most majestic creatures.
Also announced is a multi-million pound investment in a new, bespoke Lion Hall and Wolf Lodge accommodation and a second Tiger Lodge, all due to open this summer.
Also coming this year is the Bubble at Port Lympne, a bubble pod from which visitors can observe the wonders of the sky at night over the reserve.
The Moroccan Courtyard will be open for intimate wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions, private dining and celebrations.
To book and find out more about the Moroccan Courtyard, visit aspinallfoundation.org/port-lympne