Kent’s Best Boutique Stays
From blissful bayside boltholes to country escapes oozing decades of charm, Kent is certain to have a unique boutique stay to suit your every want and desire.
Experimental luxury travel has been back on the rise in 2022, and with UK staycations as popular as ever, the two concepts have fully established themselves, coming together in a blissful union to result in a plethora of boutique hotels and stays across the UK. As ever, Kent, with its sandy seaside shores, rolling countryside blanketed in vineyards and quirky towns with winding streets, is brimming with exciting and experimental stays – from the sublime to the wonderfully weird and wild.
With such high demand for one-of-a-kind exclusive stays for everyone from Instagram-aesthetic driven Millennials to retirees searching for something new, hoteliers now deliver more than ever before, individualising their exceptional experiences to make them stand out from the crowd. Usually owned by individuals and families that add their own distinctive touch to the properties and their provisions, the essence of ‘boutique’ has now also come to encompass an almost personalised service that guests are sure to remember with fondness and pleasure.
Whether you’re a frequent traveller keen to experience something new, looking to mark a memorable holiday or occasion, or are simply wanting an intriguing place to stay in the Garden of England, look no further than our carefully curated guide to Kent’s newest and most original boutique stays. From wackily wonderful interiors to ultimate luxuries – you’ll find it below.
Brand new for 2022, the White Horse, which lies nestled in the tranquil village of Boughton-under-Blean, is guaranteed to provide a charming escape for those looking to taste a slice of the best Kent has to offer. A hotel, restaurant and bar, the White Horse is the perfect base for exploring the beautiful East Kent countryside, with both the coastal town of Whitstable and the historic city of Canterbury only a few miles away.
Formerly a 16th-century coaching inn, Natalie and Andrew Hennessy have lovingly renovated this charming building to create a destination with traditional open fireplaces and original beams complemented by carefully selected décor and furnishings. Hotel guests can look forward to a blissful night’s sleep in one of 13 rooms complete with comfy large beds and wonderfully soft bedding. There’s a variety of room choices including the romantic Nightingale Suite to ensure total privacy and luxury.
As well as elegant rooms, The White Horse also offers a restaurant with innovative dishes from chef Natalie, a tempting cocktail bar, and The Nest treatment rooms (opening later this year) which offer soothing massages and facials. Awarded Shepherd Neame’s ‘Licensee of the Year’ for 2022, Natalie and Andrew Hennessy’s other business is The East Kent pub in Whitstable, a thriving gastropub with a wood-fired oven, cocktail bar and large outdoor terrace – a spot definitely worth a visit during your stay here.
Described by Marina O’Loughlin of The Times, as ‘just the perfect, slightly eccentric joint this slightly eccentric town needs’, and ‘one of the most romantic hotels in Britain’ by Sheerluxe, The Rose in Deal has been a significant landmark on this quintessential seaside town’s highstreet for over 200 years. A handsome building with lots of character echoing its spirited past, today The Rose has undergone an extensive renovation, opening in May 2018 as a chic and gorgeously designed hotel and restaurant. The eight unique bedrooms combine bold colours, luxurious beds and a mix of vintage furnishings that encompass The Rose’s utterly en-vogue style, which photographs perfectly. All rooms have private bathrooms with walk-in showers, larger rooms have additional baths, a dressing table and seating areas; ideal for lounging after a long walk along Deal’s seafront towards the famous White Cliffs of Dover or Royal St George’s Golf Course in the other direction.
Every stay includes breakfast and guests are able to help themselves to tea, coffee, biscuits and even a whisky nightcap from the quirky hallway bars. If guests didn’t fancy that long seaside walk, The Rose also has vintage bikes including a tandem available to rent – a great way to explore Deal and its independent shops and cafés. If it’s dinner you’re after, look no further than The Rose’s restaurant itself, which offers a menu including delicacies of all kinds from gooseberry margaritas and cured sea bass to blackthorn ice cream with fresh honeycomb and green almonds.
With an enchanting vintage vibe that entangles itself beautifully with Margate’s thriving arts scene and iconic chintzy seaside-town history, The Pink House is a spectacularly renovated Grade II listed Georgian townhouse on the seafront, welcoming guests from far and wide through its appropriately coloured front door. A two-suite adult-only B&B that opened in June 2021, The Pink House has already been heralded by The Times as ‘a fusion of impeccable style and warm service.’
Although the original shelter in which T.S. Eliot worked on his famous poem, The Waste Land, unlike Eliot, today’s guests can now see the iconic Dreamland neon sign from their bedroom windows, but still enjoy breathtaking, far-reaching sea views of Margate Bay. The house itself is home to Mark and Lydia Wood-Power, who will be sure to provide that boutique service as expected alongside their two poodles, Olive and Rolo, and two cats, Buddy and Elvis. A very pet-friendly property, The Pink House welcomes well behaved dogs and even provides beach towels for after beach rub downs for sandy paws! Margate is ready to explore the moment you step out of the front door, with the funky restaurants, wine bars and indie shops of Margate Old Town only a five-minute stroll away.
A boutique stay so wonderfully quirky and beautifully designed that despite being the other side of the county border in Sussex we just had to include it. With a funky 70’s inspired aesthetic fit to transport anyone back to a time of bold bright colours and geometric shapes, this space that sleeps six is one sure to stick in your mind forever. With a kitchen complete with today’s modern amenities (we love the 70s, but we love our luxuries too!) and three gorgeous bedrooms which boast groovy interiors, hairdryers and smart TVs, River House Rye is ideal for a friends or family getaway. Historic Rye and its sloped picturesque streets sit right on the doorstep, as does the magnificent sweeping beach and stunning dunes of Camber Sands.
A Grade II Listed Georgian townhouse, The Reading Rooms is another Margate seaside treasure. Built in the 1770s, the house has two spacious guest rooms, each covering an entire floor, with windows overlooking the tree-lined Hawley Square and less than five-minutes walk to the beach, the historic Old Town and its vintage shops, plus the Turner Contemporary art gallery.
An ode to Margate’s history, the inspiration for The Reading Rooms’ name comes from Margate’s 18th-century heyday when visitors to the town were entertained in the variety of spas and reading rooms Margate was home to. This is paid in homage beautifully throughout the venue. Winner of Dorset Cereals best overall bed and breakfast in 2016, The Reading Rooms boasts original floor-to-ceiling windows that let the light flood into the light, bright white and airy spaces that are the bedrooms. The Attic Room is situated at the top of the house on the third floor complete with a vaulted ceiling, exposed lime-washed wooden beams, views stretching out over the square and the rooftops to the sea, antique chandelier, solid oak parquet floor, large antique wall mirror, decorative period cast iron radiators and a super-king, hand-carved bed alongside modern amenities. The second room, The Salon Room, is on the first floor in what would have been the grand reception room of the house, boasting a similarly opulent interior which includes en-suite bathroom with decadent chocolate-brown mosaic tiles, a double-ended cast-iron roll-top bath, double basins, a walk-in shower, complimentary toiletries from Ren Skincare and decorative cast iron radiator.
Escape to the country at this delightful period holiday cottage retreat near Whitstable and Canterbury. An idyllic romantic retreat for a couple, perfectly formed to sleep two, yet offering the most surprising amount of space for guests to really relax and enjoy peaceful countryside tranquility. With quirky low doorways, a heavy beamed sitting room and a huge inglenook fireplace which adds to the charm of this listed building, guests at Plum Pudding are sure to savour the cottage’s comforting and homely character. In summer, the wraparound gardens are salvation at the end of a busy day exploring the nearby beaches of Whitstable and Tankerton, and sampling the famous Whitstable oysters. In winter, the fireside is perfect for huddling up next to after a pub lunch at the acclaimed Dove at Dargate (www.dovedargate.co.uk), which is less than a two-minute walk away.
There’s nowhere quite like beautiful Broadstairs in which to escape to the coast to enjoy some of England’s most treasured sandy beaches, winding streets and the overall laid-back surfer-style buzz of the town itself. Awash with open-front restaurants for dinner in the sunset and cool cafés perfect for picking up breakfast, a trip to Broadstairs will have anyone embracing that downtime they might just be in need of. Enjoy Broadstairs with convenience and in luxury from the tranquil seafront apartment Broadstairs Waterfront. With uninterrupted sea views, the quiet position of this apartment perched on the cliff edge on a private estate near Broadstairs also makes it the perfect place in which to sit back and watch the boats sail by, or enjoy a good book and a glass of wine on the balcony and feel a million miles away from reality. Magnificent coastal walks sit just outside the door and include the nearby sandy beaches of Joss Bay, Kingsgate Bay and Stone Bay. Beautifully furnished in a fresh, bold and contemporary style, this apartment offers everything you need to relax and unwind including all the amenities for an ultra-comfortable stay.
Lovingly redecorated and brand new to Keepers Cottages’ portfolio just last month, Noggin is a delightful, characterful holiday home located in the charming conservation area of Deal. The elegant Georgian three-storey building’s interiors have been lovingly designed by the owners with some fabulous finishing touches including extra thought and care to ensure guests have everything they need for the perfect stay. Situated in a quiet side street just off the main promenade and beach, Noggin is also just a few yards from lively Deal High Street with its delis, boutique shops, traditional pubs, cafes and restaurants. The house has a cosy sitting room with wood-burning stove, a lower-ground-floor kitchen and dining room, plus a delightful sunny courtyard simply perfect for wiling away summer mornings with a book and coffee in hand. Upstairs boasts three beautifully decorated bedrooms, including one with an en-suite shower room.
Palm Springs meets Pontins – enter Club Jupiter. Club Jupiter is a 2010 Willerby Bluebird static caravan located in the sleepy town of Birchington. Created by a trio of women, Whinnie Williams, Anna Hart and Emma Jane Palin, Club Jupiter is fuelled by a love for achievable travel and mindful interiors, as well as retro design. A project conceived in the midst of 2020, as a direct result of the global pandemic and the looming Brexit travel restrictions, it aims to put caravan holidays on the map as an option for the younger generation. With wacky, unique and highly Instagrammable interiors, the fact Club Jupiter has been poured and pondered over by its creative designers that each have their finger on the pulse of trendy interior fashions and know what photographs well, is very much apparent. Expect kitsch-print wallpapers, rattan light shades, a baby pink bathroom and a light-up, heart-shaped mirror perfect for snapping an artsy ‘mirror pic’ for Insta.
Built in 1791, the history of Albion House Hotel in the coastal town of Ramsgate is rich and colourful. As you would expect from a house that entertained royalty, politicians, actors and the wealthy, Albion House sits in pride of place on top of the town’s East Cliff overlooking Albion Gardens, the Royal Harbour and of course the ocean beyond. The harbour was given its status of ‘Royal Harbour’ by King George IV as a gift for the hospitality he received when visiting Ramsgate in 1820, a royal connection which has seeped through the walls of Albion House itself. Now, guests can sleep in the very room which once accommodated a young Queen Victoria shortly before she was crowned.
Today, Albion House boasts 14 sumptuous rooms for guests to stay in, with 12 of those having direct sea views; ideal vantage points for surveying the glory of the beach and the harbour beneath you. The Dining Rooms at Albion House provides a wonderful venue for guests to eat. A celebrated seafood restaurant composed of elegant Georgian rooms which overlook the harbour and the impressive Mayors’ Chamber, enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails with menus created by a renowned local chef.
Updown is a beautiful 17th century farmhouse located just outside of Deal. Along with Gardener’s Cottage, the house has been lovingly updated to provide five luxuriously appointed rooms, with the barn under refurbishment to become a restaurant this August. Set within seven and a half acres of rolling Kent countryside the 17th century grade II listed farmhouse, hidden within its own magical woodland and mature wildflower gardens, has been conscientiously restored to celebrate its working history and rural setting and will house seven rooms and two cottages.
Following on from owners, Ruth and Oli’s, successful series of supper clubs in the grounds and barn, they have been able to make Updown Restaurant a permanent fixture with Oli heading up the outdoor and offering a simple, Italian-leaning hyper-seasonal menu using carefully sourced, local ingredients.