Hotel review: The Apartment, Whitstable, Kent

{ Posted on Aug 14 2013 by B-man }
Categories : Travel news

Whitstable is not a place you automatically associate with the art deco movement, but in among the jaunty whitewashed B&Bs and artsy boutiques of the seaside town there is a quirky homage to the era. Occupying the entire top floor of a detached Edwardian house, The Apartment is decked out with owner Mark Arden's collection of deco furniture and objets d'art.

Brushing past vast aromatic rosemary bushes we knock on the front door and are met by Mark's wife, Frances. She greets us warmly and leads the way up two flights of painted wooden stairs, the walls dotted with ethnic finds collected on the couple's travels. So far there's no hint of the retro haven at the top of the house. But when we step into the living room, the sight of a Corbusier-style black leather chaise longue, fab deco cabinets and neat piles of old Vogues instantly make me want to stick on some Ella Fitzgerald and flop onto the battered leather sofa with a G&T.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, I keep a close eye on my two-year-old son, Ossian, as he investigates various ornaments and empties the basket of Dermalogica toiletries in the bathroom. The Apartment isn't particularly geared up for very young children, but there is a child's mattress available, and Frances has left out Peter Rabbit and Winnie the Pooh books and a lovely puppet theatre – fitting in this theatrical home. (Mark's an actor who also runs the monthly Whitstable Comedy Club on the East Quay; Frances is a make-up artist in film and fashion.) From the living room window we can see the immaculate gardens of Whitstable castle and an all-wood play area, a handily close toddler distraction.

The name, The Apartment, has more to do with the style and feel of the place than the facilities: while there are two bedrooms (light-filled, with beds and chests of drawers that are more elegant French than art deco), a bathroom with freestanding bath, and a fridge and kettle discretely placed behind a screen, this is a B&B rather than a self-catering apartment.

Not that eating out in Whitstable is a hardship. We had lunch at the much-lauded – and justly so – JoJos on Marine Parade (01227 274591, Calamari, pecorino cheese and tomato salad, skate wing in lemon and shallot butter and blood orange sorbet were all delicious and very well-priced – a skate wing from a shack on the quayside in town was twice the price. The BYO booze policy makes it even more of a bargain. We rolled out of there stuffed to the gills ... and worked off lunch with a walk alongside the beach huts.

In the morning Frances brought us fruit, yoghurt, granola and coffee on a tray, before disappearing back downstairs to a ground-floor treatment room where she offers facials and massages to both guests and outside clients. It's a suitably indulgent addition to a holiday pad with an air of decadence about it.

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