When Kelly and Dan found this 18th-century coaching inn it was in a sorry state, having most recently done duty as an Indian restaurant. They saw potential and stripped it back to its bones, uncovering original wood, plaster and bricks. They turned the jungle to the rear into a cool courtyard with festoon lights, a fire pit and slouchy sofas; the car park became a welcoming beer garden. The ground-floor bar and restaurant is its beating heart, attracting locals and visitors alike. There are six utterly unique rooms on the top floor, each styled by local movers and shakers, plus a two-bedroom suite on the floor below. In-house guests get access to cute Reggie's Bar – a resident's lounge with an honesty bar – and the Zen Den for massages and meditation. Renovations in lockdown forced the pair to be inventive: headboards are upcycled from salvaged bar timbers; the original wallpaper unearthed during the restoration is now beautifully framed; the gold paint daubed onto plaster cracks creates a wabi-sabi feel. They even created their own craft beer and incense. A complete one-off.
- Crowd-pleasing bar and restaurant with additional social spaces open in warmer months to the front and rear of the inn; great drinks menu
- Excellent location in Margate's Old Town, just steps from the seafront; Turner himself used to live opposite
- A really warm and relaxed vibe from Kelly, Dan and team - you feel right at home straight away
- An ingenious renovation that speaks to Margate itself, with a loving mix of vintage finds, heirlooms and collectables; bedrooms crafted by local designers
- A strong sustainability ethos: careful restoration reusing materials, Kentish produce and drinks, eco pillow cases made of recycled plastic, bamboo bedding, eco toiletries & cleaning products, organic cotton towels
- Only 2 rooms have fully ensuite bathrooms: the Suite and The Hideaway (one of the top floor bedrooms). Two others share a bathroom across the hallway, while three others have in-room showers and sinks, with private toilets along the hall
- This is an old and listed building so rooms are compact (no extra beds), floorboards creak and slope, sound can carry (ear plugs are supplied)
- Not good for those with mobility issues as the bedrooms are on the upper floors
- As you've probably guessed, this isn't for you if you're after a more conventional hotel
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Inn
- 7 rooms
- Restaurant and bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Car not necessary
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
Ascend the winding staircase, past vintage Japanese posters and oversized wicker lights, to the top floor to find six unique bijou bedrooms, each created by a local designer, and each with its own Spotify soundtrack playlist.
The largest is The Hideaway, designed by Kelly and Dan themselves, which has a double-ended bathtub at the foot of the four-poster kingsize bed; a curtain shrouds the sink and loo.
Hollywood-styled boudoir Burley and Field (where we stayed) is at the top of the stairs. We loved its glitzy bedhead and glam bedspread, oriental touches and black wash basin. Adjacent is beach hut-inspired The Snug, clad in tongue-and-groove planking dressed in peach and leopard print. These two rooms share a cool, spacious bathroom, with a big walk-in shower and generous sink across the hallway. Families should book these two together.
At the end of the corridor (past Reggie's Bar and the Zen room), three rooms are similarly configured: a bed, a walk-in shower and a sink, with a separate toilet for each in the hallway. A pink and mint-hued homage to 1970s chic, Poodle and Blonde has hand-designed wallpaper. Studio Margate comes with a kitsch dressing table and velvet green headboard. Decadent Home Alone with Mrs Jones looks out over the courtyard and has a gold mosaic-tiled shower and a Biba meets Art Deco vibe. Each room has a memory foam mattress (we slept very well), and Haeckels toiletries are supplied in the bathrooms.
Since our visit the two-bedroom Heritage Suite with open plan living-dining area and TV nook has been added on the middle floor. The master bedroom has a luxurious feel with a velvet headboard, a kingsize bed and statement wallpaper; there's an additional twin bedroom with free-standing bathtub (beds can convert to daybeds if you're not with family or friends) and a wet room with walk-in shower.
At meals in the sociable restaurant (or in the Courtyard in warmer months) expect global crowd-pleasers. Small sharing plates include truffle parmesan chips, bang bang cauliflower, padron peppers or baked camembert. For starters, try sourdough with liver and cranberry pate or smoked butterbean hummus. Mains range from cheeseburgers to beef and Guinness stew; kimchi fritters to vegan kebabs. Finish with a good-sized cheese plate. Book ahead for Sunday roasts.
The excellent drinks selection includes botanical cocktails, local ales and craft beer (the house beer is named for Kelly's granddad), an array of spirits and liqueurs, and wines. At certain times pop-up restaurants take over – as when we stayed, and we enjoyed delicious fresh pasta dishes washed down with Chapel Down wine from Kent.
A continental breakfast is taken in Reggie's Bar on the top floor. Pootle along and help yourself to cereals, yoghurt, bread, pastries, jam, juice, tea, coffee and hot chocolate. There's a range of milks in the mini-fridge, including oat. Reggie's Bar is your own private members' space: there's an honesty bar, so you can make yourself a brew, kick back and browse magazines.
Margate has a dynamic restaurant scene with plenty of choice nearby, just ask for recommendations.
- Restaurants nearby
- Vegetarian options
- Explore Margate, with its layers of history. You're in the heart of the Old Town so check out its emporiums (some from talented folk who designed the rooms at the inn) and galleries, design studios and vintage shopping, fun restaurants and cafes. Margate has a growing artistic reputation and a design-led community
- Margate Sands and the Promenade are 2 minutes' walk away. Walk along the coast and cliffs south-eastwards for Cliftonville, Broadstairs and Ramsgate, or westwards for Westgate
- The Turner Contemporary gallery is a 4-minute stroll, much of the art inside is inspired by the legendary light and sights of Margate; free to enter
- Vintage amusement park Dreamland (closed in winter) offers hours of fun for young and old, and hosts great gigs in season (check before your visit)
- If you don't fancy sea swimming, there's a tidal pool on the beach
- Classic British seaside attractions include adventure golf, ten pin bowling, fish and chip shops and the arcades
While kids are welcome here and would like the character of the place as well as the proximity to the beach, there is little for them on the premises. There are no extra beds available, and you will need to bring your own baby cot.
Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
The best option for families is the Heritage Suite on the middle floor, which has a double and twin. The largest rooms on the top floor are The Hideaway or Burley and Field, which can take a baby cot if you are bringing one. Families with older kids could book one of these plus The Snug, which is a small double room between the two. There are no extra beds.
The George and Heart House is in the Old Town of Margate, just a block back from The Parade, close to all attractions. Margate is on the NE tip of Kent, between Broadstairs and Westgate.
This is by far the easiest way to get here. High-speed trains run frequently from London St Pancras (the Eurostar terminus) to Margate station; the journey time is about 90 minutes. Trains also run to London Victoria, London Charing Cross and London Waterloo East.
Margate is close to the M20 and M2 motorways. There are parking restrictions in the Old Town and Margate is easily navigated by foot, so a car isn't required. If you do want to hire a car, see our rental recommendations.
Fly to any London airport and get to the town by public transport or car. London Gatwick is the closest, and is about a 1hr40 minute drive.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.
- London Gatwick 129.0 km LGW
- London Heathrow 162.0 km LHR
- Beach 0.1 km
- Shops 0.1 km
- Restaurant 0.1 km