Top UK destination gets top hotel

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    Voted one of the 2013 top ten holiday destinations in the world by the Rough Guide, Margate is on its way to regaining the glory of its heyday, but this time, with its feet firmly planted in the 21st century.

    Its revival has brought a thriving, vibrant arts scene to the town, led by the opening of the stunning world-class Turner Contemporary gallery. Add to this the wide, sandy bay, a cobbled Old Town with quirky shops, galleries and great places to eat, open-air live music bringing big name Jazz musicians to the area, the promise of Dreamland, and there’s never been a better time to visit the great British seaside.Now the attractions of the original seaside town have been boosted by the opening of the boutique Sands Hotel on Margate’s sea front. The Victorian building, which was most recently a sweet shop, was snapped up by Nick Conington in an auction in 2011. Inspired by Margate’s renaissance, Nick has invested in the town’s bright future:

    “I fell in love with Margate the instant I came to view the building pre-auction in September 2011. I was stunned by the glorious views across the Sands, the vibrancy of the nearby Old Town, and the magnificent new Turner gallery just along the bay. I’d originally planned to convert the building into luxury flats but discovered that it had been a hotel in Victorian times and was excited by the possibility of recreating a hotel and trying to capture some of the building’s original splendour. I brought Conrad Bigham, my co-director, into the picture to conduct feasibility study and we moved forward from there.

    “I was encouraged by the enthusiastic response of everyone in the town, and it’s been supremely satisfying to contribute in some small way to the town’s undoubted renaissance.”

    The hotel also features a restaurant – Bay @ Sands, serving imaginative modern British cuisine in a sublime setting. Nick, with business partner Conrad Bigham and head chef, Ryan Tasker, have devised a menu that shows off the region and reflects the restaurant’s seaside location, with dishes inspired by the fresh, seasonal produce of the Garden of England.

    Set on the first floor, the restaurant is beautifully designed, with an airy, bright, warm atmosphere, high ceilings and a stunning fireplace. Full-length glass doors lead to an outdoor terrace, commanding breathtaking views of the sea and Margate’s golden bay.

    Nick and his wife Karen worked with Margate-born designer Dawn Pirie, who interpreted their vision for the look and feel of the hotel and restaurant, incorporating her own ideas to balance the building’s original Victorian features, such as columns and cornices, with a contemporary interior.

    Daniel Fountain / 05.07.2013

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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