A joyful seaside bed and breakfast has emerged from a once-dilapidated Victorian townhouse in the Cliftonville area of Margate on England’s southeast coast. Opened in July 2023 by London property developer Will Jenkins, Margate House is bringing a hearty dose of cozy fun to the sleepy but increasingly cool town.
The whimsical mid-mod space, imagined by London-based interior designer Charlee Allan Quinton and in collaboration with eco-friendly U.K. paint brand YesColours, is a study in the sometimes underappreciated red colour family, with a palette of deep burgundy, warm terra cotta, soft salmon, and pale blush. A crimson staircase connects the townhome’s five storeys, while brick fireplaces, an abundance of decorative moulding, and original flooring embrace the building’s historic charm.
Entering from Dalby Square, a short walk from the beach and Old Town, guests are welcomed into an inviting and eclectic drawing room and reception and encouraged to make themselves at home with an honesty bar, a plush sofa and armchairs, and a dining area.
Up the stairs, the nine rooms come in small, medium, and large—a refreshingly simple way to categorize accommodations in a sea of meaningless descriptors—with one of each per floor. The small rooms, for those who just need a place to rest weary bodies after a day of exploring, are compact but comfortable, while the large rooms have a lounge area and bay windows with ocean views. All have king-sized beds and are adorned in accordance with the hotel’s contemporary-meets-midcentury whimsy, with vibrant hues, scalloped edges, stripes, and textures aplenty. Sea breezes flutter in through sheer bistro curtains, and the squiggly headboards are a Margate House signature, populating the Instagram accounts of seemingly all who stay there.
Rather than relying on bowls of seashells or kitschy mermaid sculptures to capture the essence of the seaside community, Margate House instead fills its space with art, products, and furniture sourced from local makers and shops. With many of the items for sale, the hotel is something of a livable gallery and marketplace for all things Margate and U.K.
There’s also no shortage of interesting things to look at on the walls of Margate House, like colourful collages by local multidisciplinary artist Kavel Rafferty, funky figurative paintings by Henrietta Dubrey, abstract landscape pieces by Jemma Rowe, and vintage Polish posters from London’s Projekt 26. The bathrooms, which all have rainshowers, are stocked with Haeckels products made from seaweed handpicked in Margate.
Breakfast, delivered in a charming basket, is coffee and fresh juice along with a choice of fresh baked goods from local shop Staple or heartier offerings from nearby restaurant The Good Egg. Plans are in the works for an in-house dining room in the basement.
Beyond Margate House’s doors, peruse the town’s treasure-filled vintage shops, explore the mysterious shell grotto, or take a dip in the U.K.’s largest tidal pool. A 20-minute walk along the water will get you to Dreamland, one of Britain’s oldest surviving amusement parks, whose closure in 2003 sparked a renewed public interest that led to the park’s reopening in 2015—it’s a retro and playful continuation of the vibes within the colourful walls of Margate House.
Photography by Boz Gagovski.