A former Grade II listed brothel turned AirBnB Stone Court House in Maidstone is officially removed from the Heritage at Risk register

A former brothel turned AirBnB has been removed from the endangered heritage list.

Stone Court Hotel in Lower Stone Street, maidstoneoriginally ended up on the register in 2018 after the building suffered major dampness and structural issues.

Stone Court House is no longer on the endangered heritage register

The Grade II listed building has had a checkered 700 year history.

It was built in the 15th century as the private residence of Lady Sackville of Knole House before becoming a place of accommodation for judges visiting Maidstone to work in the Crown Court.

It then became a hotel but in 2012 it was found out it was running like a brothel where two men and a woman were arrested for prostitution-related offenses after a police drug raid.

The hotel closed in 2015 as the building fell into disrepair.

It was then bought by new owners Saban and Belinda Demirbasa in 2019 for £550,000, with the couple restoring it to its former glory with hopes to run an AirBnB-style business.

Saban and Belinda Demirbasa and the children
Saban and Belinda Demirbasa and the children

Speaking in January, Saban said: “We were about to move overseas but we saw it go up for auction and it was very popular.

“However, many people did not because the property was on the endangered heritage register in English history and there was a council imposed enforcement order.

“Two more winters and the house would have collapsed.

“When we received the funds, we phoned the auction house and said we would like to buy it.”

Saban is a successful entrepreneur who has had 21 patents to his name while Belinda is a leading psychologist helping treat patients across Kent.

Judge Scrutton's room.  Photo: Stone Court House Facebook
Judge Scrutton’s room. Photo: Stone Court House Facebook

Hearing the news from Historic England, Saban said: ‘It’s just brilliant that we’ve managed to save a historic property and convert it into a successful AirBnB.’

On their Facebook page, Belinda made a statement: “Stone Court House was one of 11 historic sites in Kent saved last year.

“Sadly 11 more have been added, it is an ongoing fight to save our historic sites, but for the current time Stone Court House is safe in our hands and enjoyed by our guests.

“It would have been a shame to lose this beautiful story. Forward and upward as they say

Alice Brockway, Historic England’s Buildings and Areas Inspector, is delighted with the transformation of the building.

Back of the stone courthouse
Back of the stone courthouse

She explained, “Saban and Belinda did the most amazing job.

“They poured all their passion and love into saving this incredible historic building, which now means it can be taken off the endangered heritage register.

“It was in very poor condition, with a major structural problem at the front of the building, but they approached the repair and conservation with an open mind and were very enthusiastic and passionate about learning and using techniques and traditional materials.”

Thanks to their efforts, the couple have been shortlisted for the 2022 Restoration Awards.

Stone Court House offers six en-suite double bedrooms to the front of the building and a two bedroom apartment to the rear.

En-suite rooms range from £80-£125 per night with apartment stays from £125 per night.

Judge Huddlestone's bedroom at Stone Court House.  Photo: Stone Court House Facebook
Judge Huddlestone’s bedroom at Stone Court House. Photo: Stone Court House Facebook
One of the bathrooms in Stone Court House, Maidstone.  Photo: Stone Court House Facebook
One of the bathrooms in Stone Court House, Maidstone. Photo: Stone Court House Facebook

Having only started taking bookings since June, the couple have already been inundated with positive reviews on their website.

Ricky Lambert said: “Absolutely fabulous. Thank you for your superb hospitality, in your beautiful home.

“The family suite was the best accommodation we have ever booked.”

Ana Feiteira said: “Absolutely beautiful building. Great communication from the host who was very friendly and accommodating.

“I only stayed one night on the way there but wish I could have stayed a bit longer.”

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