The Rose, Deal, Kent
31 August, 2018
Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside, oh, I do like to be… tucked up in a seaside room at The Rose in Deal. Things weren't always so cosy here, mind - the Kentish coastal town of Deal has seen a fair share of drama in its time, with a history that includes a castle belonging to King Henry VIII, a hotel where Admiral Nelson wooed his mistress, and drinking dens brimming with rowdy sailors. Just this year, one of those boozing boltholes has been transformed into a hotel as colourful as its past.
And it's the colours of The Rose that are bound to catch your eye from the High Street. The entrance comes alive with teal tiles, red velvet curtains and lots of greenery, while upstairs rooms sparkle with jewel tones of the ocean - that's sea blue, sand ochre and sunset orange. Interior designer Michelle Kelly has given the middle finger to the millennial penchant for pastels and championed design that's bold, fun and fresh.
As fresh as the sea breeze that rolls along the long pebbly beach of Deal's seafront, whipping up storms and seagulls beside the pier. And as fresh as the burgeoning creative scene here. In-between the town's wealth of charity shops and defunct pool halls there are independent coffee houses, art galleries and vinyl shops (like Smuggler's Records, which is part coffee house, part record store, part bar). Nearby Margate gets all the buzz, but Deal is quietly pitching forward. Watch as the town - and The Rose within it - begins to bloom.
The Rose, Deal, Kent
There are eight of them, each with a distinct character and colour palette. We stayed in number one, with rhubarb-pink walls and a bed framed by a striking Liberty-printed headboard. In the bathroom - stone blue and mustard yellow - we washed off the sea salt in a cavernous Lefroy Brooks bathtub with products by Austin Austin.
What's for breakfast?
À la carte options - such as butter-roast mushrooms and goats curd on toast - are included in the room rate (or begin at £4 for non-guests). The Rose is a popular weekend brunch / bloody mary spot for locals.
How about lunch and dinner?
Touted as a modern British take on comfort food, the menu offers up starters like taramasalata and chicken-kiev balls followed by mains such as buttery plaice served with samphire and new potatoes. The pork schnitzel is so good that we came back a second time for it.
Is there a bar?
Yes and it was created by Tracey Emin's carpenter-brother, Paul. As such, expect an artfully curated wine list and a selection of reasonably priced cocktails (anyone from London will surely agree that £7.50 for a negroni is an absolute steal). Co-owner Chris Hicks' grandfather ran the local Thompson & Son Brewery in heyday, and he's got designs to bring back the most popular ale.
Wifi and tea making facilities are at hand but the Rose is more of a (insanely stylish) B&B than a hotel - so don't expect room service or spa treatment.
Things you should know
There are no televisions in the rooms, so head to the beach for cinematic scenes.
Within a short walk you can find...
Market Street Fish Bar for the best fish and chips in town, best eaten on Deal's long pebbly beach or the hulking concrete pier. Head west and walk about 45 minutes to the white cliffs of Kingsdown for killer views.