By Katie Wilson
Margate has had something of a hotel makeover in the past 12 months and Fort Road Hotel, which opened in summer 2022, has been leading the way.
The first of a flurry of new boutique hotels openings in Margate, Fort Road Hotel is enviably located close to the seafront, opposite the Turner Contemporary gallery.
This smart hotel has a restaurant and bar open to non-guests that are definitely worth visiting, plus a rooftop terrace with standout views of Margate’s famous skies that is the perfect spot for sundowners.
Here’s what happened when The Boutique Handbook checked into one of their sea view rooms for the night.
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Fort Road Hotel is easily one of the best located hotels in Margate. You can walk there from the train station in around 10 minutes along the seafront, or grab a taxi outside the station and you’ll be there in five.
The reception is within the restaurant/bar area on the ground floor. There is also a small seating area where some guests were drinking coffee when we arrived.
Decor is chic and calming with hues of cream and olive greens. Tables and bar stools look out over the Harbour Arm for those all-important sea views. Staff are friendly and attentive and within minutes of arriving we had been led up to our room.
There are 14 individually styled rooms at Fort Road Hotel, ranging from King rooms to a sea view Suite on the top floor that looks out over the Turner Contemporary gallery.
All are stylish and feature cool artworks, vintage furniture, king or super king beds and colourful hand-tiled bathrooms with rainfall showers or baths. Extra touches include toiletries from local Margate brand Haeckels, freshly ground coffee, tea, filtered water and complimentary cookies on arrival. Connect your phone to the Roberts Smart Speaker to play your own music or read one of the books specially selected by The Margate Bookshop.
We stayed in room 10, a King room on the second floor of the hotel with a partial sea view from the cute reading snug in the window. For special stays, we’d recommend booking the Suite or Superior Sea View, but whatever you choose you won’t be disappointed. Rooms start from a very reasonable £140 a night.
FOOD AND DRINK
Even if you’re not staying at Fort Road Hotel, book a table at the restaurant. It’s a lovely spot for breakfast, served daily from 8am until 10.30am, as that magical Margate light floods through the dining room in the morning.
Note, the rest of the week the restaurant is open for lunch from 12pm to 2.15pm Wednesday to Sunday. Dinner is served 6pm to 9.30pm Wednesday to Saturday.
Food changes with the seasons, but all is quality fare and served in decent portion sizes. The menu is a mix of snacks, small and large plates meant for sharing. We couldn’t help but order the moreish Seaweed Crisps (£5) sourced just round the corner in Botany Bay, one of the best bathing spots in the area.
When we visited, we also tucked into the ‘it shouldn’t work, but it definitely does’ Deep Fried Aubergine with Rosemary Honey (£7) and scrape-the-plate-clean Muhammara dip and Fennel Crackers (£4.50). Favourite large dishes were the Fresh Courgette and Ricotta Raviolis (£16) and Scallops, Potato Puree, Fennel and Smoked Anchovy (£22).
There is always a larger sharing dish on the menu each month, such as the Whole Roasted Bream with Sea Aster, Sorrel and Olives (£35). We couldn’t quite manage a pudding but next time we visit, the Treacle Tart (£9) has our name on it.
The split-level bar downstairs is also open to non-guests from Wednesdays to Sundays in the evenings. At weekends it serves until 1am, so is the perfect spot for a nightcap. Look out for artwork on the walls from local artists, such as Tracey Emin.
If the sun is shining in Margate, there’s no better place to be than a rooftop looking out over the sparkling sea. Fort Road Hotel has its own and non-guests are invited to book a table for lunch, dinner or drinks.
Margate is easily accessible by car with the M20 and M2 motorways providing easy routes from London in around two hours. There is no on-site parking at Fort Road Hotel, but there are free parking spaces within a five-minute walk of the hotel on Fort Crescent and Lower Fort Promenade. A pay and display car park in Trinity Square, a two-minute walk away, has fast charging for electric cars.
Or be green and get the train, as you don’t really need a car when you get to Margate. Everywhere is walkable and you can get trains further round the coast to Broadstairs and Ramsgate. Journey times take 1 hr 30 minutes to 2 hours and go from London Victoria, Waterloo East, Charing Cross, St Pancras International and Stratford International.
Fort Road Hotel is top of our list for a stylish, but affordable stay in Margate. It’s got everything you need, from the bar and restaurant to rooftop if its sunny. Art lovers will love its close proximity to the Turner Contemporary gallery and charming Harbour Arm.
Prices start from £140 a night
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