The lowdown . . .
The Reading Rooms is a luxury, boutique bed and breakfast in a restored, Grade II Listed, Georgian town house in Margate, Kent. Originally built in the 1760’s as a guest house for Londonder’s to come and experience the seaside and fashionable trend for sea bathing it later became home to a young musician as he co founded the band Hawkwind. By the 80’s the building had been converted into 10 bedsits until 2007 when current owners Liam and Louise bought the property and restored it back to it’s original roots as a guest house. The name takes inspiration from Margate’s 18th Century heyday when visitors to the town were entertained in a variety of spas and reading rooms. A famous library, Bettison’s could be found on Hawley Square itself back then.
A stay here has been on my lust list for a VERY long time after featuring countless times across the pages of interiors and travel publications.
The location . . .
An envious position on tree lined Hawley Square, less than 5 minutes walk from the beach and old town.
The interiors . . .
The original features combined with sophisticated styling are enough to set any design lover’s heart racing. The epitome of shabby chic, imperfectly perfect. High ceilings, ornate plaster cornicing and tasteful antique touches.
The rooms . . .
There are three spacious guest rooms in total, each spanning an entire floor.
We stayed in Room 1 which was situated on the first floor and boasts three stunning, original floor to ceiling windows overlooking the square. Back in time, this would have been the grand reception room of the house.
Polished antique wooden floorboards conceal a modern addition of underfloor heating while a decorative fireplace and folding wooden window shutters add a hint of nostalgia and old world charm.
I couldn’t help but wonder as I opened the shutters in the morning, of who else may have stood in this spot over hundreds of years looking out at the same view across the square. Historical buildings always fascinate me in this way and make me curious to think about who walked these floors before me and what their story was.
The spacious en-suite bathroom has a walk in shower, double ended cast iron roll top bath, and double basins, every couple’s dream set up.
The view from the tub was pretty spectacular!
A giant super-king hand carved-bed takes pride of place in the centre of the room and was blissfully comfortable to sleep in.
The Food . . .
Breakfast at The Reading Rooms is an elegant affair, served as private dining room service on a large antique butler tray at a time of your choice.
Each room has a dining table for 2 by the window and here you can sit and enjoy a generous selection of freshly baked breads and pastries, fresh fruit, pressed juices, tea, coffee and a choice of cooked items, without having to change out of your dressing gown and leave your room.
Such a simple detail but one which feels truly spoiling and a real treat!
Yay to . . .
The stunning interiors and delicious breakfast spread.
Nay to . . .
If you’re a light sleeper or sensitive to daylight, you might want to pack earplugs and an eye mask. The building is old and not well sound insulated so you can hear other guests walking around over head, noises from outside and the shutters do let some light in through the gaps. None of these things troubled us at all, I actually found it lovely to wake up to birdsong and the light creeping in but this could be an issue for some.
Worth Knowing . . .
Check in is between 4-7pm, check out is by 10.30am weekdays and 11.30 am Sundays. Parking is available on the square.
Getting there . . .
The drive from London is around 2 hours. Trains leave from London St Pancras and London Victoria direct to Margate station, times do vary but the faster service is around 90 mins.
Nearby and also worth a visit if you have time . . .
Margate has plenty of lovely places to explore. There’s a guide on The Reading Room’s own website of all of their favourite recommendations, click here to view.