‘More Le Touquet than Thanet’: review of No 42 hotel, Margate, Kent

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With its oyster bar, rooftop terrace and Turner-worthy sunset views, this breezy, elegant boutique hotel is a welcome new addition to the town’s seafront

When I first started visiting Margate, about 20 years ago, there were only two real options when it came to choosing a hotel: the Walpole Bay, an eccentric Edwardian time capsule in Cliftonville, with floral carpets, an original 1927 trellis gated lift and a collection of unsettling “antiques” in the corridors (dolls’ heads, vintage typewriters, prams); or the Premier Inn, which had none of those things but was handy for the station.

The first inkling that the long-hyped regeneration of Margate was more than just wishful thinking was when the Reading Rooms opened on Hawley Square in 2009 – two years before the arrival of the Turner Contemporary put the neglected seaside town back on the map. The motto of this boutique B&B with just three decadently beautiful bedrooms might as well have been “If you build it [they] will come.” The gamble paid off. They did come. And the trailblazing B&B has since been joined by a flurry of new guesthouses and hotels, from the stylish Fort Road hotel to the arty Margate House in Cliftonville.

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