Jump on a train in Kent and you could be in Paris in two hours. Even now, 15 years after the Channel Tunnel opened, it can be hard to get your head around that. But travelling by train, whether you're taking your car to Calais with Eurotunnel, or going to Paris, Lille or Brussels on the Eurostar, is an incredibly quick and easy way to get to the Continent.
But while it's perfectly possible to be in Brussels for that 9.30am meeting, or to start your weekend break in Paris with croissants and coffee in an old-style cafe, it does mean an early start. With mainland Europe an hour ahead of Britain, getting to that 9.30am meeting means a 6.30am check-in at the latest. Add to that your travelling time to the station and, well, let's just say a lie-in is not on the cards.
This is where Holiday Extras comes in. We don't want you yawning through the boss's crucial presentation, or your main memory of your weekend break to be how exhausted you felt. We want you to enjoy a restful night's sleep in a comfortable bed before you travel, then wake up refreshed and ready to make your way to the terminal just a few minutes away. Our range of hotels in Ashford and Folkestone allow you to do just that.
Think you can't afford it? Take a look at our prices - you'll be amazed. Our Kent hotels offer real luxury - they are all four-star - at an affordable rate.
And if you're going on a longer break, why not use your hotel stopover as a chance to extend your holiday? The ground-breaking refurbishment of Ashford town centre has attracted nationwide attention, and the pretty countryside and villages around the town are well worth a visit, as is the charming town of Tenterden, known as the Jewel in the Weald. Folkestone not only has its sandy beach, harbour and miles of promenades, but is close to Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, Samphire Hoe nature reserve, the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway and the Kent Battle of Britain Museum.
Treat yourself to a facial in the spa or walk in the eight acres of grounds at the Ashford International Hotel. This sophisticated hotel is just five minutes from the station and boasts a delicious restaurant, a swimming pool, a gym and a whirlpool. The Holiday Inn Ashford Central is just a couple of minutes further away - and your taxi to the station is included in the price. Its former life as a 17th-century barn is reflected in everything from the dark wood in the bedrooms to the wooden beams and high ceilings in the Junction Restaurant.
Hythe is an exquisite, upmarket seaside town likely to make you wonder why you're not taking your holiday there - and the same goes for the Mercure Hythe Imperial Hotel, Spa and Golf Club. It's hard, but if you can take your eyes off the spectacular views of the English Channel, you'll be equally admiring of the 50 acres of grounds. However you want to relax before your trip, the hotel has it all, from a golf course and tennis and squash courts to spa facilities and an award-winning restaurant which uses herbs from the hotel's own garden.