Hotel review: The Albion cottage, Deal, Kent

This Kent seaside cottage has a 'terrific sense of space' and every bedroom faces the sea, says Sally Shalam

This week's destination sounds like that modern midwinter favourite, a pub with rooms but is, in fact, its springtime usurper, a cottage by the sea.

The Albion is in the coastal resort of Deal, a few miles north-east of Dover. According to the blurb, it is regularly used as a location for photo shoots. Well, it takes more than cotton ticking and a pebble collection to make a memorable weekend, but the postcard I've been sent of the property shows what appears to be the perfect seaside house. Time for its close-up.

The Shalam family descends on Friday evening weighed down with cheese, wine and supermarket pizzas. All six of us swarm excitedly through the cottage, a white, bow-front Georgian building which was once a public house.

The cottage is far larger than it appears from outside. There are staircases off both the sitting room and the kitchen. One leads to the main bedroom and bathroom (which has a balcony, how neat). The steep kitchen staircase leads to a smaller bathroom beneath the eaves, then up a half-landing we finally reach bedrooms two and three. There's a terrific sense of space and privacy, and every bedroom faces the sea.

"It's very nostalgic here," says my sister-in-law. She's spotted little plastic sailor key rings suspended from the bathroom light. "I'm sure I used to collect those."

Nostalgic, but not predictable. It doesn't shout "seaside" with ceramic fish lightpulls and dried starfish, but rather evokes a sense of holidays past with old annuals, postcards stuck on walls and a guitar leaning against the sitting-room wall. White paper lanterns are strung across a beam, there are fresh flowers, and silk ones poking out from an old green Thermos. "It's not sterile like most holiday cottages, it's as though someone lives here," says my brother.

In the unfitted kitchen - painted shelves loaded with tins of tea and spice jars, cheery blue and white tiles jazzing up the chimney breast - an enamel-topped table bears a wooden orange box filled with organic rations from a local supplier. There is a variety pack of cereals on the sideboard, and dry-cured local bacon, butter, milk and chocolate in the fridge.

We wake to the sound of the sea (and traffic, unfortunately - the road passes right outside). It feels like the first day of the summer holidays. No one lurks in bed (my mattress isn't the greatest, though no one else has any complaints), instead we hit the beach.

Sun streams in through the windows when we return to make breakfast. "I think I've seen this kitchen in a Boden catalogue," says my sister-in-law, prompting a spate of prancing about asking, "What's your favourite sandwich filling? Film star? Colour?"

Wishing we'd brought our bikes, we explore the town, then buy fish and chips, gamble two-pence pieces in an amusement arcade and sip tea in an ice-cream parlour. The only thing The Albion doesn't have is a garden, but that's enough sea air for one day, thank you - everyone's shattered.

"Great pub," says my brother with a grin, returning with a takeaway later that night. He's slipped into The Ship at the end of the road for a swift pint of Shepherd Neame en route to the curry house.

We're charmed by The Albion - and by Deal. When we close the door for the last time on Sunday and say goodbye, the youngest promptly bursts into tears.

Good Deal? The town's cool - but the astronomical parking charges are not.

• 167 Beach Street, Deal (01437 562058, Sleeps six. From £625 per week, three-night weekend break from £385.


Sally Shalam

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Beach huts: a humble haven by the sea

Forget sandy towels and flapping windbreaks, the beach hut is a home from home. Here are some of the best to rent, from the traditional to the hi-tech

Nell Card

06, Aug, 2010 @11:05 PM

Article image
British boltholes: The Yarrow, Broadstairs, Kent: hotel review
East Kent further education college has its own hotel, restaurant and spa, where students learn on the job. A great idea that makes for an enjoyable, endearing stay

Rachel Dixon

03, Sep, 2016 @10:00 AM

Article image
Hotel review | Belvidere Place, Broadstairs, Kent

An eclectic art collection and quirky style, not to mention a warm welcome, helped Sally Shalam feel right at home

Sally Shalam

06, Aug, 2010 @11:05 PM

Article image
Hook, line and sinker: fishing in Deal, Kent

Cute vintage shops, delicious delis and cosy cafes lure novice angler Juliet Kinsman to try shore fishing in the Kent seaside town of Deal

Juliet Kinsman

19, Mar, 2011 @12:04 AM

Article image
Christmas breaks: From From cosy country inns to tropical escapes to über-cool party houses

Still looking for an end-of-year break? From cosy country inns to tropical escapes to über-cool party houses, we've got every yuletide base covered

Gemma Bowes, Les Dunn and Abigail Flanagan

01, Nov, 2008 @12:01 AM

Article image
Hut parade: cool Scandi cabins on the Kent coast
The Romney Marsh coast is peppered with striking designer huts – and a new complex of cabins makes the perfect base for exploring Dungeness and Camber Sands

Gavin McOwan

12, Oct, 2021 @6:00 AM

Article image
Self-catering in a Devon cottage – the easy way

Want the privacy and space of self-catering but don't want to lift a finger in the kitchen? Ali Ray has the solution: using local gourmet food deliveries and services in rural Devon

Ali Ray

18, May, 2012 @9:44 PM

Article image
The Rose, Deal, Kent: ‘A riot of colour and character’ – hotel review
This eight-room boutique hotel mixes modern design, local heritage and fabulous food, reflecting the area’s burgeoning creative spirit

Jane Dunford

27, Jul, 2018 @9:00 AM

Article image
King of the castles: a cabin stay on Northumberland's mighty coast
In Alnmouth, new off-grid seaside huts make a great base for car-free exploring – whether you like your fortresses ruined or smartly kept

Robert Hull

19, Aug, 2019 @5:30 AM

Article image
Accommodation review | The Quarry, Ilfracombe, Devon

An old Devon house built for an admiral now has a modern feel and is fit for large groups and families too, finds Sally Shalam

Sally Shalam

06, Aug, 2010 @11:05 PM