History, quirkiness and a hint of magic with a unique 130 Harry Potter art work collection can be found at newly refurbished The Bay Tree Hotel in Broadstairs.
Owners Alistair Dixon and Robert Stone bought the property in April 2015 after deciding to ditch the crowds and stress of city life.
For their first season the couple, accompanied by their Bedlington Terrier Ben, ran the business as it stood, closing off individual rooms during the winter so some work could take place.
But in October 2016 the renovation really got underway as Alistair and Robert took on the job of creating a boutique hotel and restaurant that would reflect their own tastes and characters.
Robert, a former travel consultant for big business, said: “There hadn’t been any interior work for about 15 years and some areas were looking a bit dated.
“Work was supposed to take six or seven months, ready for reopening around May but there were some building delays. We finally reopened just before Christmas and will have a full-scale launch in February.”
In many ways, the duo has taken the building back to its Victorian roots. The aluminum windows have been replaced with traditional wooden sash windows, the original skirting and doors have been kept or copied, and stairs and landings have all been restored to their former glory.
The bedrooms are named after British trees, reflecting the hotel’s namesake Bay tree – thought to be the oldest and largest in Kent – that stands at the rear of the property, and many feature colours that reflect the sea and its surroundings.
There are ten en-suite bedrooms, eight of which have sea views, and one room that is accessible to wheelchair users, with a wet room and ground floor access, and is also dog-friendly.
The balcony sea view room, English Oak, incorporates pastel blues to reflect the colours of the coastline view, whilst the first floor corner room, Chestnut, uses creams to reflect the huge expanses of Stone Bay’s sand.
Robert has been responsible for much of the design, working closely with Suzy Nina Interiors, to turn his inspiration and ideas into reality.
He said, “Being located within a conservation area hasn’t been without its challenges, but there have been revelations along the way that have made it all worthwhile. Uncovering the original Victorian Minton floor to find it in excellent condition was one such moment.
“There is no structural work to do but the finishing touches take time, we still have pictures to hang and maybe some shelves.”
Pieces of pre-loved furniture have been bought at auction, some then recovered, to add colour and personality to the property, which also includes a library, sitting area with sea views and a 22 cover restaurant.
Hotel visitors can also see the unique Harry Potter art work by Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, who created the graphic universe of the entire Harry Potter film series.
Robert said: “We are the only people in the world to have a full set of 130 pictures. Some sold out but we had been given access to them. The artists thought Broadstairs was good for showing something like this because the town is quirky and Dickensian.
“There are 8-10 years of Harry Potter so it covers lots of different areas and we can have fun with that, in the library all the pictures feature school text books and we have copies of various Wizard newspapers (The Daily Prophet) and joke shop pictures (Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes).
“We are not sure whether we will have all 130 up at once or will maybe have some up for 6-9 months and then change them over.”
There are also some magic-themed touches scattered around, a straw broom, an ink well and feather quill, but the aim is not to be a Harry Potter themed venue, rather to add a unique point of interest.
The restaurant is Alistair’s domain, with his breakfasts receiving rave reviews on tripadvisor.
He now hopes that taking on new chef Keith Dunstane – formerly of The Sands – will reflect that excellence in the lunch and evening meal menus.
The restaurant is already open for guests but will also cater to the general public from Valentine’s Day.
The aim is to include local, seasonal produce.
Alistair, a former management consultant, said: “You can eat in the restaurant and be looking out at the sea where your fish came from. We think Thanet is becoming a real foodie destination with places like Stark. Thanet is sitting on a resurgence of interest in Kentish produce and it may be that people drive here to eat, but, of course, we do have rooms too.”
The hotel, which has parking for up to 10 guests, also makes sure guests can take a little piece of The Bay Tree with them through the sale of branded body lotion, liquid soap and body wash – with room spray and scented candles in the pipeline – made with green tea and lemongrass.
Find The Bay Tree Hotel at 12 Eastern Esplanade, Broadstairs. Call 01843 862 502 or click here for the website
Follow the refurbishment here: http://www.baytreebroadstairs.co.uk/blog/
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Brill. Fantastic. Well Done. Really looking forward to our visit in March. Will let you have final dates asap.
Well done, Robert and Alistair, looks fabulous. Can’t wait to book.