By Dan Thompson
A sun-faded seaside colour palette, worn linens and seagreen velvet, and a broad collection of work by local artists mean that No.42 by Guesthouse feels like a Margate hotel in a way its predecessor The Sands never quite did.
That hotel did a great job in saving an old High Street wreck from ruin, and gave No.42 good building bones, but it never quite had that feeling of Margate to me in the way Selina Margate, Fort Road Hotel, and now No.42 do.
No.42 has (or rather, will have – the preview opening was very much a work in progress, with wet plaster and a few unpainted walls) a spa at the bottom, the Pearly Cow restaurant and a cafe at High Street level, and a long tight staircase leading to a rooftop bar with great views – the way Turner Contemporary is framed by rooftops and chimneypots is glorious.
Rooms are arranged around a windowless lobby decorated in a neo-Georgian style on each floor (which look beautiful, but seems to be rather a waste of space). The room open for the hotel’s preview was long and thin, ending in a balcony making the most of the site’s views across Main Sands. Not a huge room, but not too cramped either.
The rooms manage to feel high end, but also comfortable, almost like a tiny studio apartment. They’re partitioned with a screen like the windbreak on an old pier, and other touches like the teamaking facilities being in a miniature beach-hut play on the seaside location.
Rooms come with art books (including by Ramsgate painter Bob and Roberta Smith), and a selection of vinyl from Northdown Road’s Ghost Papa (which is, like No.42, another second, successful attempt at the same business in the same premises).
Each room has a selection of artwork – exactly what you’d expect, Margo of Margate, Lisa McGuinness and co. And the show room had a twisting, Bloomsbury-esque line drawing over the bed.
It’s not the only art on show. There are more adventurous selections in public spaces, including paintings by Dan Bass and Hannah Lee’s cast concrete sculptures. In the bar and restaurant, the art is more adventurous than the decor, which feels a bit frilly in places.
But overall, it feels like a charming and comfortable hotel which will soon develop its own character. Quirky touches, like porter Kevin picking up guests’ bags from the station on a cargo bike, show there’s some thought gone into things.
With Fort Road Hotel playing to the high end art crowd and Selina Margate appealing to the yoga and sea swimming set up Cliftonville way, No.42 has found a nice niche in the middle of Margate’s historic town centre. With good rooms and great views, it’s certain to be popular.
No.42 Guesthouse opens on July 17.