Albion House

Ramsgate, South East England, United Kingdom Book from

Reviewed by Nadine Mellor
A stunning heritage building with beautiful rooms, great food and panoramic views across Ramsgate town and harbour
The Isle of Thanet on Kent's easterly tip is enjoying a moment. Those qualities that inspired Turner and Dickens - wonderful light, offbeat history, miles of glorious coastline - are punctuated by attractive resort towns. Ramsgate has a Royal Harbour (granted by George IV), big skies, golden sands and a wealth of architecture.

Crafted in 1791 as a private home, then gentleman's club and lodging house, Albion House has the finest setting in town, enjoying sunshine through its windows from dawn until the last rays of sunset. When Emma and Ben, with John and Gay (together they manage holiday lets here), took on these (by now) municipal offices, their artistic challenge was to honour the building's heritage and transform it into a boutique hotel and destination restaurant. They have magnificently succeeded. Every glance reveals a tableau of gracious Georgian hospitality: mantelpieces are works of art, vintage oatmeal fabric covers sheep bone chairs and sofas, fireplaces crackle in winter. The elegant Regency dining room is furnished in Bond Street blue and crisp tablecloths, while the showstopper Palm Court-style Town Bar (complete with original council desk) has orchids, a baby grand piano and deep sea-green walls clad in mirrors and vintage prints. Exquisite.

Highs

  • Perched on a hill overlooking harbour and town, 12 of the 14 rooms have sea views; one has wraparound water views
  • We loved the local, seasonal-focused lunch and dinner menus, not to mention the gorgeous dining room and stunning Town Bar for lounging
  • Picture-perfect refurbishment using authentic pieces and original features: parquet floors, vintage mirrors, all-marble bathrooms with rain showers
  • Ramsgate is on the up: 900 Georgian and Victorian listed buildings, lifestyle and retro shopping, convivial pubs, yacht marina and lovely beach (though don't expect a plethora of great restaurants)
  • Easily reached by rail from London in just over an hour

Lows

  • The smaller rooms are, well, cosy; though high ceilings and wonderful sea views compensate
  • A B-road passes in front of the hotel, with frequent (though not heavy) traffic; but bedroom windows have black out blinds and double-glazing, and you can always request a room higher up
  • There are no grounds attached to the hotel

Best time to go

The seaside beckons at any time of year, whether moody and magnificent in winter or joyous and jumping in the summer. Note that it can be windy at any time of year.

Our top tips

Ramsgate has a network of tunnels - some dating to the time of the expansion of the railways, others to the Second World War - parts of which have been reopened as a visitor attraction. Guided tours start from the Marina.

Great for...

Beach
City Style
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 14
  • Restaurant open daily
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Baby grand piano
Room: King Room with Sea View

Rooms

While the Regency dining room and Town Bar provide the wow factor, the 14 bedrooms deliver in understated style. Simply dressed, with Cornforth White walls and no gimmickry, they provide comfort, cosiness and cool charm. All have antique furniture, glass pendant lighting and (bar Terrace and Spacious rooms) sea views.

On the first floor are the two best rooms. The corner Suite with Balcony and Sea View has a wrap-around balcony and light flooding through Georgian windows. Sharing the balcony is the Super King Room with Balcony and Sea View, where we stayed (and where Queen Victoria who slept in 1835).

On the 2nd and 3rd floors are the majority of the other rooms. Some top-floor options have sloping attic ceilings and spectacular sunsets from their windows. In contrast, the no-sea-view Super King Room - Accessible on the lower ground floor is only accessible by a lift.

Beds are dreamy: pocket-sprung mattresses of British wool and cashmere, piles of white pillows and 600 thread count linen. Windows have original Georgian shutters, hessian blinds and double glazing to minimise road noise and draughts.

Carrera marble bathrooms have luxurious robes and White Company toiletries; all but 4 have baths.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Cots Available
  • Hairdryer
  • Phone
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Feasting is taken seriously at Albion House. The immaculate Regency dining room combines smart dark walls, crisp white linen, and a pleasing mix of contemporary lighting and period fireplaces. The breakfast menu might include pastries, delicious banana bread, croissants, berries and hot dishes: my Eggs Royale were cooked to perfection.

For lunch there's a set menu (two or three courses) with dishes such as petit pois soup, wood pigeon salad or pancetta pork tenderloin. Evening meals are a la carte: I loved the hake with roasted beetroots, while eyeing up the chermoula spiced vegetable salad. Desserts include vodka, lemon and lime posset and sticky toffee pudding. All were simply and stylishly presented, and inspired by the setting. Ingredients, where possible, come from within a 40-mile radius – all fish is locally caught, of course.

The Town Bar also serves food – nibbles and small dishes as well as meat, veg, local cheese or smoked fish deli plates. And from Thursday-Saturday, sandwiches, cakes and scones are laid out on the baby grand for afternoon tea.

There are plenty of eateries within a stone's throw or further afield in the Garden of England, from fish and chips to posh nosh; Emma and Ben can advise.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Private dining
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • The Isle of Thanet is the most easterly point of Kent, most noted for its wonderful Blue Flag rated beaches; Ramsgate's is right below the hotel
  • Ramsgate has some wonderful architectural gems dating from its Georgian and Victorian seaside resort heyday. Be sure to walk around the Royal Harbour, which has a small Maritime Museum. There are independent clothes, lifestyle and interiors shops, plus a 1950's ice cream parlour, seafront fish and chips, and traditional tea room
  • On-trend Margate is just 11 minutes away by train or 15 by car – check out its shiny new Turner Contemporary Gallery, traditional bucket-and-spade beaches, Shell Grotto, Museum, and vintage and antique shopping in the Old Town
  • Stroll along the cliff top and beach in Ramsgate, or tackle the 32-mile Viking Coast Trail by foot on or a bike. Watersports including surfing, sailing and windsurfing are nearby
  • Sandwich & Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve is just south of Ramsgate on the coast

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Windsurfing

Kids

Ramsgate is a great destination for a family holiday and easily accessed by high speed train from London. Albion House is sited right above the beach, is close to shops, sights and eateries, and rooms can connect to make a family suite of rooms. That said, the hotel is a grown up enclave with a formal feel to its beautiful dining room and Town Bar, and loud, unruly children will embarrass their parents and annoy other guests. Baby cots are provided free of charge.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

A travel cot can be provided free of charge. For parents travelling with children a second interconnecting room can be reserved subject to availability. On the first floor and second floor, 2 rooms can be connected by an outer door to make a family suite – on the first floor these are the Super King room with Sea View and Balcony and the Super King Room, or the Suite and a King Room with Sea View, on the floor above 2 Super King Rooms with Sea Views can connect. All rooms bar 4 (Super King - Accessible, 2 Queen Rooms and one King Room with Sea View) have a bath

Babysitting:

Available on request

Baby listening:

Baby monitors will work in the restaurant, you'll need to bring your own

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cot
  • High chair

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

There's a kids menu for lunch and dinner (between 5 and 6.30pm only): choose between sausages, fish fingers or roast chicken with a choice of potatoes and vegetables. The breakfast menu can be tailored to requirements with advance notice. Children will enjoy the scrumptious afternoon tea offered in the Town Bar

Kids Activities on site:

  • Board games in the snug

Kids Activities nearby:

  • The beach is on your doorstep, plenty of other Blue Flag beaches in the Isle of Thanet
  • Maritime Museum and Royal Harbour
  • Ramsgate Tunnels
  • Margate is a 15-minute car ride away (beaches, amusements, two indoor playgrounds, Shell Grotto)
  • Sandwich & Pegwell Bay Nature Reserve, and Monkton Nature Reserve with bat cave and observatory
  • Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Museum
  • Broadstairs has Helter Skelter indoor play, Revolution Skate Park which has climbing walls and skate areas, and surfing
  • Birchington has the Powell-Cotton Museum (dioramas of animals) and Jungle Jims (soft play, maze, falconry, craft village, playground, indoor Nerf combat arena)
  • Cycling the Viking Coast Trail

Families Should Know:

The hotel is sited right on a road, which can be busy at times

Distances:

  • Airport 1hr40m (either London Gatwick or London Stansted)
  • Hospital: 15 minutes
  • Shops: 1 minute
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
9/
Food
9/
Service
8/
Value
9/
Overall

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