Hotel and rooftop restaurant plan for Margate’s Imperial House ‘flatiron’ building

The impressive flatiron building

Margate’s impressive Flatiron building at the bottom end of the High Street could return to its original use of a hotel – with added rooftop restaurant.

A planning application has been submitted to turn Imperial House, which currently houses the Imperial Bar and 12 flats, into a 36 rooms boutique hotel over four floors.

Planning documents from FOB Design say: “Central to the proposal would be a roof-top restaurant, predominantly glazed and set-back from the building’s edge. This would afford unparalleled views over the harbour and close attractions such as Turner Contemporary arts gallery. Moreover, it would provide a distinctive and valued feature in support of Margate’ tourism industry, complementing the regeneration strategy underway throughout the town.

FOB’s artistic impression of how it could look

“When the idea was first mooted, there was a dearth of boutique or up-market hotels within either Margate or the nearest towns. Whilst the subsequent opening and success of the nearby Sands Hotel and Angela’s Guest Suites demonstrate a significant level of demand, Margate remains fundamentally under-equipped in catering for the needs and numbers of visitors attracted to the Old Town’s artistic and cultural quarter.

“The business case is reinforced through the fact that existing hotels in the area generally achieve high midweek occupancies, (typically 80% +), through a mix of demand from business visitors, contractors, midweek leisure stays, European tourists and from people visiting friends and relatives.

“Occupancies are typically highest between April and October, with many of the budget hotels consistently filling and turning away reasonably significant levels of business on most weekday nights during these months. Weekend occupancies are also strong, especially during the summer months.”

There are no plans for associated parking.

The application states 10 full and 15 part time jobs would be created.

Bernie Morgan shut the chocolate bar last August

A separate application has also been lodged for the former Bernie’s Chocolate Bar site – housed in the same building. The application requests permission to create a microbrewery. The chocolate cafe closed last August.

A decision is yet to be made on both applications.

Did you know….

Postcard via micropub crawl

Margate’s Imperial House, originally called the Imperial Hotel, was constructed in circa 1881 and is one of the world’s oldest flatiron buildings, predating its more famous and much taller cousin, the Flatiron Building in New York, by over 20 years.

Despite its impressive architecture the building is not listed.

It is said to have been built on the foundations of the Globe Hotel which traded in the 1850s but was fire damaged and then demolished to make way for the Imperial.

It has been home to numerous nightclubs, including the Ace of Clubs, Imps and Bar and was used as the backdrop to a Clarks shoes advertising poster. It now houses the Imperial Lounge, the former Bernie’s Chocolate Bar site and flats.

The building was saved from disrepair by former Summit Aviation owner and Thanet Local Radio chairman Ken Wills. Several radio broadcasts were made from the building and Ken even installed a helipad on the roof but it had to be removed after failing safety certification.


  1. Another pie in the sky… We need good quality bars not hotel with sky high cloud busting boutique hotel thanks thanet council

  2. Another three doom and gloom merchants.howmany more bars do we need in a small area of the town.should we not discourage alcoholism.
    We need more hotels or are we going back to dole on sea.
    Brian smith Stewart.

    • Correct. Build it and they will come. Forward thinking we need visitors who stay overnight and spend money on accomaddation and food

  3. Great investment idea. Probably attract more rich to send house prices even higher. Maybe wages will go London way too…..
    View of turner contemporary! Nice warehouse look lol

    • You’re right. Turner centre is not a pleasant building to look at. You would have thought that with all of the art inside something could be put on the outside! Maybe by projection at night?

  4. With the building not being listed we could end up with what. Surely its housing accomodation puts it to a better use than a hotel and with the one going up at dreamland where is the demand. The suggestion of employment is just a ploy.

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