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Stay: The Rose, Deal

Want to stay in a boutique hotel that's the real Deal? Grab the other half and make a beeline for this seaside bolthole - with stunning interiors, tasty dishes and oodles of artistic charm - all in the heart of this cool coastal town...

THE LOCATION

Have you been to Deal? It’s one of my favourite spots on the Kent coastline, with a striking pier from which you can easily see France and a creative community. It’s also smaller – and less crowded – than popular Whitstable, Folkestone or Margate.

Still a little bit of a hidden gem, there remains something of the salty-old-sea-dog about the place – which is of course why we love it so. And The Rose is where to stay if you go!

Centrally located, set amongst boutiques, vintage shops and Deal’s charming conservation area, this restaurant, hotel and bar is just one road back from the seafront and a two-minute saunter to the beach and the pier. It is also a short stroll from Deal train station, where the high-speed train to London takes just 1hr and 20mins and runs every hour.

THE LOWDOWN

Husband and wife team, Christopher Hicks and Alex Bagner, run The Rose together – ensuring the three magic ingredients are mixed just right here – hotel-style comforts, seriously good food and more quirky charm than you can shake a washed-up-on-the-beach stick at.

Several years ago, when the couple took ownership, they supervised a complete interior transformation of The Rose, which turned this previously no-frills pub into a chic seaside escape. From the gorgeous terrace at the rear to their deliciously decorated bedrooms, vibrant colour meets antique character in every nook and cranny.

THE VIBE

When Chris and Alex took over The Rose they were living in London. Which makes sense because if Hackney had a love child with this bit of the Kent coastline – The Rose is exactly what you’d get.

Here, they tread the line skillfully between making sure they appeal to those visiting from London or elsewhere in the UK while also keeping locals and a sense of place very much central to everything.

Become too glossy and you no longer feel like ‘the real Deal’ – so they don’t do that. When you ask for tea-for-two with your breakfast – you’ll get two teabags in two mugs. Bosh.

So while it’s fun and stylish – with an element of luxury about it – this is actually a very down-to-earth destination and deliberately so.

PILLOW TALK

Rooms, like the rest of The Rose, are low-key – effortlessly cool without trying too hard. The escape here isn’t so much about the room, which is cute and comfy, but not wildly extravagant – there’s no roll top bath or drinks making station (the tea facilities are shared and outside on the landing) as discovered by Mr Muddy in his threadbare boxers.

Staying here is more about the overall experience of dine, stay and explore. Use The Rose as your springboard to soak up the sea air and saunter around the streets full of galleries and indie shops.

SCOFF & QUAFF

The kitchen credentials here are red hot, with the ever innovative Nuno Mendes (previously of Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone, no less) onboard as executive chef. Nuno collaborates on menus with The Rose head chefs Luke Green and David Gadd and together they create seasonal dishes with a twist.

Time for a drink at the bar before dinner – I opted for a Rhubarb Shrub (gin, rhubarb, lime and soda) cocktail. It was a little bit different and a lot delicious, and, turns out, the perfect way to kickstart the evening before heading to our table just a few paces away.

Then we kicked off with Sevenscore Asparagus as a Starter (see below)

For Mains I choose the Barley & Oat Risotto with Courgettes and Spinach (see above), while Mr Muddy Kent went for the Roast Saddle of Hogget, Fresh Cheese and Ancient Grain Salad (pictured below).

The food here is very good indeed – definitely a bit part of the overall positive experience. Fully snuffed and slightly squiffy – so all the better to only have a few stairs to climb – no worrying about rushing back for babysitters or like-gold-dust taxis to book (weeks in advance).

OUT & ABOUT

I love a mooch – and there’s many a store to explore here. From galleries to interiors stores and fashion to food – Deal is brimming with lovely, local indies. I had always wanted to visit women’s clothing store Tamarisk who, in previous years, have done very well in our Muddy Awards.

So popping in, for research purposes only – oh and a gorgeous skirt, I had a good nose around. Run by the wonderful friendly Emma and Patty this is a treasure trove of a store, with loads of on-the-money items but with down-to-earth prices tags. Think cross-body bags, Ibiza-vibes floaty dresses and gorgeous Indian fabric printed robes. You can read more about the store here and the wonderful story behind its conception.

Once you’re done with the shops, there’s the beach of course – and the pier stretching out to sea, with Deal Pier Kitchen at the end of it – somewhere that can boast to be one of Kent’s best spots for brunch.

THE MUDDY VERDICT:

GOOD FOR: Weekenders down from London, or elsewhere (hey, west Kent folk, get visiting!) – makes a great couples break or girly getaway. A characterful townhouse stay with seaside charm and indie stores on your doorstep – without the crowds.

NOT FOR: Anyone wanting a swanky stay or romantic roll top bath and four-poster bed extravagance. It’s down-to-earth and a bit edgy – but what’s not to love about a bolthole escape by the sea?

91 High Street, Deal, Kent, CT14 6ED, therosedeal.com, 01304 389127, hello@therosedeal.com

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