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First look at former brothel and Stone Court Hotel turned Airbnb-style business in Maidstone


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An abandoned building in a town centre, which was once a brothel, has now been fully restored.

Stone Court House, formally known as Stone Court Hotel in Maidstone, will open its doors once again to the public as an Airbnb-style business.

Stone Court House, Maidstone, present day - returned to splendour after falling into disrepair
Stone Court House, Maidstone, present day - returned to splendour after falling into disrepair

The 700-year-old historical building, found on Lower Stone Street, has a rather tainted past.

In 2012, police executed a search warrant on the premises as part of a bid to bust a drugs and prostitution racket.

There was a certain irony - back in the 18th century the house had been used as lodgings for travelling judges hearing the most serious cases at the town’s crown court.

By 2015, the hotel had shut up shop and the building started to fall into a state of disrepair.

The Grade II-listed property was bought by couple Saban and Belinda Demirbasa back in August 2019 for the guide price of £550,000.

The property, formerly known as Stone Court Hotel, was shut down after a police raid. Picture: Martin Apps
The property, formerly known as Stone Court Hotel, was shut down after a police raid. Picture: Martin Apps
Saban and Belinda Demirbasa and their family have spent millions restoring the property
Saban and Belinda Demirbasa and their family have spent millions restoring the property

Speaking to KentOnline in January, Saban said: "Many people didn’t go for it as the property was on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register and there was an enforcement order placed on it by the council.

"Another couple of winters and the house would have collapsed."

After more than two years of extensive renovations worth millions of pounds, Stone Court House has been successfully removed from the register and is once again a proud addition to Maidstone's streets.

Since we visited the family, they have been busy sourcing furniture up and down the country.

Saban said: "I was surprised actually, it's been quite expensive.

Stone Court House will be open for bookings from next Friday
Stone Court House will be open for bookings from next Friday
The entrance to the property is now filled with leather chairs and sofas for guests to use
The entrance to the property is now filled with leather chairs and sofas for guests to use

"The leather sofas we have in some of the living rooms - we chose to buy refurbished, period, leather chesterfields - because they don't make the new ones like they used to.

"Trying to get an antique, four poster bed from the 18th century is really hard to find.

"When you do find one, they go into the tens of thousands, it's ridiculous."

The 52-year-old added: "We also bought 93 cushions and 36 pillows, which is quite astounding.

"Every room has to have a coffee machine and a kettle, cups, etc. The list goes on and on at the moment.

An old bridal suite at Stone Court Hotel, all the doors were kicked in and damaged during the police raid. It has now been named Judge Huddlestone and is the oldest bedroom on the property. Picture: Stone Court House Facebook
An old bridal suite at Stone Court Hotel, all the doors were kicked in and damaged during the police raid. It has now been named Judge Huddlestone and is the oldest bedroom on the property. Picture: Stone Court House Facebook
Judge Huddlestone room (Weekday £144 / Weekend £186 per night). Picture: Stone Court House Facebook
Judge Huddlestone room (Weekday £144 / Weekend £186 per night). Picture: Stone Court House Facebook
The Judge Huddlestone bathroom, which has been fully restored and decorated. Picture: Stone Court House Facebook
The Judge Huddlestone bathroom, which has been fully restored and decorated. Picture: Stone Court House Facebook

"But we are just about there now, and are very happy with what we have chosen."

The couple spent hours searching online, on both eBay and Facebook Marketplace, looking for the right pieces.

Saban says he travelled at least 4,000 miles in total to pick up items.

His favourite piece, an 18th century French Tudor mirror, took him two days travelling.

He said: "I drove to Carlisle for the mirror. I did 1,600 miles, there and back.

Saban's favourite item purchased - a 300-year-old French mercury mirror from the 18th century
Saban's favourite item purchased - a 300-year-old French mercury mirror from the 18th century
The Judge Melish suite (Weekday £134 / Weekend £171 per night). Picture: Stone Court House Facebook
The Judge Melish suite (Weekday £134 / Weekend £171 per night). Picture: Stone Court House Facebook

"It's beautiful, around 300-years-old and sourced from a castle up there - it was worth the trip."

A lot of the period furniture is Georgian and Victorian, with the pair choosing regency colours for the rooms.

The entrance room for guests dates back to the Medieval and Tudor period, with it now housing its own suit of amour.

Multiple pieces that are from the 16th century are found in the front rooms, including a hand-carved oak coffer, which was once used to store bibles and blankets.

Saban and Belinda have been documenting the renovation on their Facebook page, and have now proudly posted the final looks of the suites that will be available for guests.

One of the oldest items in the property - a hand-carved oak coffer, which was once used to store bibles and blankets in the Medieval period
One of the oldest items in the property - a hand-carved oak coffer, which was once used to store bibles and blankets in the Medieval period
An antique pine bed in one of the rooms has been hand carved, and is around 150 years old
An antique pine bed in one of the rooms has been hand carved, and is around 150 years old

The page now has more than 6,000 members, all who have followed the couple throughout the process.

"It is really heart-warming," Saban explained. "It's so nice that people are really appreciating all the work we have put in to save this building.

"It has got us through the hard periods - we have had so much support from Maidstone, the surrounding areas and worldwide - lots of people from America have been sending in messages.

"This part of town has been slightly neglected and it would have been a shame to lose a building like this."

The couple will be using the property as a family home and an Airbnb-style business.

Doors were severely damaged during a police raid in May 2012. Picture: Stone Court House Facebook
Doors were severely damaged during a police raid in May 2012. Picture: Stone Court House Facebook
The Judge Rigby suite (Weekday £126 / Weekend £159 per night). Picture: Stone Court House Facebook
The Judge Rigby suite (Weekday £126 / Weekend £159 per night). Picture: Stone Court House Facebook

There will be six double rooms and a two bedroom flat available to book, with all the suites being named after judges - a nod to the building's past.

Saban says that after three years, he is very much looking forward to opening.

He said: "I am slightly anxious, but I think that's quite normal though?

"There will be little teething problems, and an initial learning curve - understanding what people like and what they don't like."

Stone Court House is set to be open for bookings when they launch next Friday (June 3) - see prices for each room below.

The Tudor fireplace that was discovered by owners Belinda and Saban is now on full display. Picture: Stone Court House Facebook
The Tudor fireplace that was discovered by owners Belinda and Saban is now on full display. Picture: Stone Court House Facebook

Prices:

Room rates weekdays (Mon-Thurs) / weekends (Fri-Sun)

First Floor

  • Room 1 - Judge Alverstone.

Double en-suite bedroom with small double sized four poster bed sleeps two (15sqm)

£90 per night / £105 per night

  • Room 2 - Judge Huddlestone

Large en-suite bedroom with double sized four poster bed sleeps two (42sqm)

£144 per night / £186 per night

  • Room 3 - Judge Melish

Large en-suite bedroom with double sized four-poster bed sleeps two (37sqm)

£134 per night / £171 per night

Second Floor

  • Room 4 - Judge Kay

Double en-suite bedroom with king sized four poster bed sleeps two (19sqm)

£98 per night / £117 per night

  • Room 5 - Judge Rigby

Large en-suite bedroom with double sized sleigh bed sleeps two (33sqm)

£126 per night / £159 per night

  • Room 6 - Judge Scrutton

Large en-suite bedroom with double sleigh bed sleeps two (37sqm)

£134 per night / £171 per night

  • Apartment - Judge Wright Suite

Large self-contained two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with private living room sleeps six (116sqm)

(Large bedroom with king sized four poster bed with separate bathroom, Large ensuite bedroom with super-king or twin bed and a living room with a leather Chesterfield Sofa double bed)

£292 per night / £408 per night

All accommodation has exclusive access to five living/dining rooms and a private courtyard - all rates above are inclusive of VAT @ 20%

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