A proudly modern boutique hotel that boasts a prime seafront location as well as a smart restaurant, buzzing rooftop bar and many of the trimmings of far larger properties. The slick, slightly superyacht-like interiors provide a soothing if incongruous contrast to Margate's renegade artsy scene.
- Gabriella Le Breton, Travel writer
Sands Hotel is set on Marine Drive, which skirts Margate's sandy beach. It boasts a winning location and sea views; all Margate's key attractions – the beach, tidal pools, Turner Contemporary gallery, Dreamland amusement park and Margate Museum – are within five minutes walk. High-speed trains from London St Pancras reach Margate in an hour and a half; the railway station is a three-minute walk from the hotel.
Style & character
In stark contrast to the quirky, renegade style that has come to define Margate. The hotel is a glossy, contemporary affair designed to reflect the cool, bright and luminescent nature of the sea with pearly silk fabrics, blue and silver tones, painted coral lamps, vast chandeliers and ornate silver-framed mirrors.
It just about works with the building's Victorian heritage, which is clearly visible in its brick façade and iron balcony and less so in subtle nods within, in the form of ornate cornicing and stained glass windows.
Service & facilities
Staff are eager to help; happy to share tips on Margate's best places to swim, drink and eat. In addition to its own bar, restaurant, seaview balcony and hip roof terrace, the hotel offers a gelato shop (open weekends and school holidays in summer) and a raft of services associated with larger hotels, including room service, laundry service, morning newspaper delivery and turndown service. Parking is in a nearby parking lot – pre-book through the hotel in advance to secure a spot (£6 for 24 hours).
- Room service
The 20 rooms are all decorated to a very high, contemporary (somewhat flashy) standard in a soothing palette of cream, sand and touches of grey with indulgent features such as superbly comfy beds with jasmine silk-filled duvets and pillows, rainfall showers, big bathtubs and mood lighting.
All feature minifridges, bathrobes, Noble Isle toiletries, tea and coffee-making facilities and adjustable climate control. There's a good range of options with according price tags: top dog are the Superior Sea View rooms with expansive beach views from private balconies; Sea View Attic rooms also offer views from their smaller, walled balconies but only when standing; Classic Sea View rooms offer Juliette balconies; the slightly snugger Town View rooms overlook Margate's Old Town; and Undercroft rooms are located at lower ground level with light from a lightwell above.
Food & drink
Chef Ross Barden has gained two AA Rosettes for The Bay restaurant’s contemporary European cuisine, serving tasty dishes such as New Haven scallops with pumpkin velouté and smoked bacon and almond crusted cod with Jerusalem artichoke and brown shrimp butter. Quality isn't entirely consistent – some dishes exceed expectations, others less so but it's all of a high standard and champions local produce.
Afternoon tea is a fantastic spread, best enjoyed on the seaview terrace (from £17, must be booked 24 hours in advance). Breakfasts are excellent with a wide selection of cereals, yogurts, fruits, breads, pastries and juices and cooked items to order. The equally delicious weekend brunches are popular with locals.
Value for money
Double rooms from £140 in low season; and from £150 in high. Breakfast included. Free Wi-Fi. If you can splash out the extra money on a seaview room (Superior Seaview rooms from £190 and Seaview Classic rooms from £170), it’s well worth it.
Access for guests with disabilities?
There are 18 rooms accessible by lift and there's one bedroom with a fully adapted bathroom.
Six bedrooms feature double-sized sofa beds with cots and bedding upon request. Children under six stay free; children six to 12 years cost £20 b&b; 12-18 years an additional £30.