The walk from the train station at Margate was inauspicious. Darkness had descended as I asked for directions to my hotel. “Just past that block of flats, and follow the road round to the left onto The Parade” the station guard told me.
The Sands Hotel glowed, like a beacon of hope on the seafront. I entered to crystal chandeliers and cosy minimalism: A comforting world with ‘family business’ written all over it, such was the familiarity and warmth with which I was greeted.
Over supper, I rang the best ‘man’ for the following day’s nuptials.
“B, please thank Tel for recommending this place – it’s lovely and the music selection is truly eclectic – we’ve got some Mazzy Star at the moment!”
I heard Tel in the background: ’She won’t want to leave the hotel!”
“Well, I’ll have to tomorrow. Besides the wedding, I’m sure there’s a lot to see here – like the art gallery, the ‘Lanes’, the sea!”
A very ‘rock ’n roll’ Camomile tea at the bar before bed led to a conversation with Victoria and Justin.
“Back in the 70’s Margate was all bright lights along the seafront – like the Vegas strip – it was fabulous! My grandmother lived here and I used to come and visit.”Justin told me. “We’ve just bought a place close by – a six bedroomed Georgian house for a great price. We aim at commuting into London – so fast now with the high-speed train.”
That night I slept on a silk pocket sprung mattress cocooned in a ‘Jasmine silk’ duvet with the sleekest Eygptian cotton sheets, all of which made it very difficult to rise in the morning. Hunger forced the issue.
I sat outside for breakfast on the restaurant terrace, a fresh but warm hazy sea air softly caressing my face.
“When they bought the building the plan was to turn it into luxury flats, but the owner found out it had been a hotel at the end of the 19th century and decided to completely restore it” the waitress answered as I enquired about this snug but chic hostelry.
Couples, families and singletons surrounded me tucking in to Eggs Benedict, smoked kippers and other delicacies.
The papers lay on the table to be read. The beach – seaweed strewn – beckoned for a walk. Art to be savoured was two minutes walk away. I picked up my coffee cup. Perhaps I’d just head back to my room first: The bath tub had looked so inviting.