Skip to main content

Hidden Gem: The Walpole Bay Hotel, Margate

By Vanessa Chance
07 September 2020

By Vanessa Chance

The Walpole Bay Hotel is an institution in Margate known by locals as the best place to get a cream tea with a view of the sea. Having grown up near there, I have been going to this hotel since I was a child to celebrate weddings, birthdays and all manner of special occasions but I had never actually stayed there until this summer and it did not disappoint.

The Walpole Bay was built in 1914 and extended in the 1920s and has been lovingly restored in all of the main areas. From the moment you step into the hotel, you are surrounded by beautiful 1920s features including a working Otis Trellis lift from 1927, that looks like something out of The Great Gatsby.

There are also plenty of interesting objects throughout the hotel including bespoke artwork from Margate-born Tracey Emin, fossils from the nearby coastline through to vintage furniture pieces including an unfortunately named ‘Corona’ typewriter in the bar.

The hotel has been cleverly designed so that all rooms have a view of the sea. Despite the age of the hotel, my room was very comfortable combining traditional elegance with modern convenience. Breakfast is included with your stay and you have a choice of full English or continental. I tried both while I was there and they were lovely.

A huge bonus for me is that the hotel is dog-friendly. I took advantage of lockdown to get the puppy I’d always wanted and needed to stay somewhere that could accommodate us both. Dogs are allowed in all areas of the hotel except the restaurant but you can eat in the bar and on the terrace with them. Next to the hotel there are two beaches which are great for walking. The closest one allows dogs but they must be on a lead between 10am and 6pm, the next one along permits dogs off lead all year and we went to this every day.

The cream teas are amazing – I managed to get four in over a three day stay with various friends and relatives! On busy days its wise to book, especially if you want a seat in the sunshine, but you can usually walk up and get a table.

In terms of Covid-19, the hotel is taking more precautions than anywhere else I have been. Masks have to be worn everywhere in the hotel except where you are eating and drinking. All those visiting the hotel, even just for tea, have their temperatures taken and their details recorded. There is one -way system in place and plenty of hand sanitizer everywhere.

Sadly, the hotel is closing over the winter period (31 October to 1 April) due to the uncertainty of Covid-19 on their bookings. If you can get to Margate before then, I really recommend that you go. I am so glad to have rediscovered the hotel and will certainly be going back next year.