With the arrival of the Turner Contemporary gallery in 2011 and the much anticipated Dreamland now open as the world's first heritage amusement park, the Margate renaissance is gathering pace as a place where art, fashion, fun and frolics all meet for a jolly seaside jaunt.
Margate Old Town is the perfect destination for those who love to hunt for vintage treasures, as it boasts a fine selection of shops and traders offering vintage and retro clothing, furniture, homewares and more. The only problem is, when I visit I never want to leave!
So, as a fan of seaside towns - and particularly Margate - I couldn't wait to get down to the sunny Kent coast to be one of the first guests in the Margate Retro Rooms apartments for a whole blissful weekend.
The Margate Retro Rooms are perfect for those who are looking for seaside accommodation with authentic nostalgic charm. Staying here really is a step back in time and feels like a true escape from 21st century hassles.
Kitted out in authentic mid-century style from top to bottom, you are transported back through time to a far groovier place as soon as you get through the door.
One of my favourite features is the fabulous orange floors, which make a real impact and give the rooms a wonderfully warm and welcoming feel throughout. Anything orange is good by me! I wanted to take the floor home with me, and that is not normal ...
The attention to detail is meticulous and clearly a labour of love; from the original vintage kitchenalia (cutlery, cookware, crockery and appliances) to the painstakingly sourced 1950s glass tiles in the bathroom and the panels of vintage wallpaper, there is something to discover in every corner.
The shower even features a historic piece of Margate - a wooden column salvaged from the King's Steps, demolished as part of a new flood defence scheme in 2012.
As well as the original vintage mid-century furniture, other features include a vintage 1980 Taito Moon Cresta space invaders table (with unlimited credits), Ladderax units, a vintage portable record player (so pack your box of 45s before you leave home!) and a working jukebox - yes, really!
There is also a selection of board games and books to peruse as you relax into the vintage lifestyle. The Mills and Boon collection is quite something; we could have spent hours admiring the retro romantic covers.
Some of the furniture and other items are priced, so if you fall in love with something you might actually be able to buy it and take it home with you; what a bonus (and a great way to allow the rooms to evolve and change with each visit)!
The apartments are literally a stone's throw from the town's glorious golden sands and within metres of at least four vintage shops too (bliss ...).
The middle apartment has a spacious balcony which is great for a bit of people-watching, and both apartments have sea views ideal for admiring those marvellous Margate sunsets.
Each apartment at the Margate Retro Rooms costs £120 per night (sleeps 2, minimum 2 night stay) - but see below for a special offer! There is also an option for two more people to stay on a sofa bed for £20 each per night extra.
For more information visit the Margate Retro Rooms page at Host Unusual.
Joe and Kelly at Margate Retro
Special offer for Candy Says customers:
Quote codeword: candy for £20 discount on each night you book (minimum 2 nights).
You can also claim free coffee in the morning at Margate Retro General Store in Fort Road, and a 10% discount on any purchases at Margate Retro. How nice - Happy Holidays!
Places not to miss whilst you are in Margate include:
- Margate Retro and Margate Retro General Store: Ever-changing selection of mid-century furniture, lighting and great vintage goods from architectural letters to kitchenalia to pintables. 16 King Street and 27 Fort Road.
- Madam Popoff Vintage: directly below the Margate Retro Rooms and choc-full of glorious goodies. 4 King Street.
- Breuer and Dawson: just across the road; a great selection of vintage for men here! 7 King Street.
- The Dreamland Expo: on the original Dreamland site, you'll find a wealth of pinball machines and other amusements together with information on the new Dreamland due to open in 2015 (squeal!). Dreamland Cinema, Marine Terrace.
Dreamland Cinema, Marine Terrace
- The Shell Grotto: a truly awe-inspiring and mysterious little place, encrusted in 4.6 million shells. 31 Grotto Hill.
- The Turner Contemporary gallery - built on the site where Turner stayed when visiting Margate, and the largest exhibition space in the South East outside of London.
- The home of Hattie Jacques and John LeMesurier: This famous couple lived in Margate in the 1960s. You can't go inside the house, but it's a must-see on a vintage pilgrimage. Corner of Trinity Square.