Walpole Bay Hotel

Margate, United Kingdom | C.1914

Photo Credit: Emma Jane Palin

The Walpole Bay Hotel is a family-owned hotel in the seaside town of Margate, England. Originally built by Louisa Budge in 1914, this structure was very close to being lost to the wrecking ball in the late 1990s.

The hotel thrived through the decades until the idea of holidaying abroad caught on among the English public. The hotel started to lose revenue, and in the later half of the 20th century, the situation was dire, with the Budge family having to cut back on maintenance and upkeep to stay afloat. The hotel was eventually set to be demolished.

Luckily, Peter and Jane Bishop, a local couple, had been admirers of the hotel for some time. When they heard of its imminent destruction, they gave up their jobs and scraped together every penny they could find to purchase the building and restore it back to its original glory.

Their dreams were unfortunately not immediately fulfilled as the mortgage fell through due to poor survey results. Mrs. Budge nevertheless agreed to let the Bishop family have the hotel for five years to see if they could turn it around. Although finances are still tight, the establishment continues to welcome visitors today.

Each of the 41 guest rooms exhibits a sea view and its own unique, vintage style. There are a wealth of interesting features in the hotel, including traditional Otis Trellis gated lifts, which have been transporting guests through the five-story building since 1927.

This hotel also doubles as a museum, showcasing possessions left by the previous owners – including hotel registers going right back to the initial years of the hotel. Glass cases filled with items line the corridors, featuring an extensive collection of original linen napkins that customers have taken, decorated with their own artwork or poems and returned.

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