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The Rose: Colouring Outside the Lines

July, 2018

The Rose sits three roads back from the sea in the coastal town of Deal. The gilt signage on the double-fronted facade reads: Family and Commercial House. It’s a handsome Victorian building that the current owners – two families with homes in the area – had coveted for some time. “I found I had a family link with the area,” says co-owner Christopher Hicks, whose great-grandfather managed the Thompson & Son Brewery, which owned The Rose up until the 1950s. A vintage enamel sign for the brewery hangs in the bar area, a testament to the building’s heritage and the story of its transformation.

On entering, there’s an immediate sense that something different is happening behind the red-brick exterior. A year ago, the owners enlisted the skills of architects Mad Atelier and interior designers Harding and Read to transform the tired high street boozer into a restaurant, lounge and eight-bedroomed hotel. Together with the owners input, they have created a vibrant, off-beat interior that defies categorisation. “We don’t quite know what it is,” says Hicks – an admission that is true to the spirit of modern-day Deal itself.

Interior designer, Nicola Harding describes the collaborative process: “We all sat down together and talked about how the new owners wanted things to be. They wanted the interiors to feel not only relevant to the building, but relevant to Deal. Whatever we did had to stand the test of time. Everyone and anyone should feel welcome here, so it was important that the interiors weren’t a million miles from what The Rose had been originally.”

Where possible, original fixtures and fittings have been kept intact. On the ground floor, the 50’s wood panelling, built-in banquettes and the bar were repaired rather than ripped out and replaced. Co-owner Alex Bagner (the former editor of wallpaper.com) worked with the stylist Michelle Kelly on colour schemes and furnishings, sourcing mid-century furniture, artwork and objects from eBay and local antique shops. On the walls are countless examples of nostalgia-inducing wall hangings (kitsch mirrors, small tapestries, nautical etchings), interspersed with prints of contemporary artwork by Tracey Emin and Gary Hume, curated in collaboration with Counter Editions.

Throughout, the hotel has been dressed in a variety of rich textiles, from jewel-toned corduroys to black-background Liberty print florals. In the bedrooms, maximal, oversized headboards give each room its own identity, whilst projectors or record players add to the sense of fun (The Room Service had the Beach Boys playing in Room 4). There are reclaimed roll-top baths in each en-suite (ours was deep aubergine) and Austin Austin toiletries in abundance. All this is set against a backdrop of bold, unexpected colour combinations (think calamine pink and sage green, egg-yolk yellow and inky black) that enliven each space, making it plain that The Rose is a place for colourful celebrations, rather than hushed formalities.

This intention is reinforced by the food and drink offering, which has been developed by executive chef Rachel O’Sullivan (formerly of London’s Polpo, Spuntino and The Towpath cafe). Moreish bar snacks (cauliflower cheese croquettes, house pickles, fried whitebait with dill aioli) and seasonal cocktails (rhubarb fizz, blood orange negroni) set the tone for convivial feasting. In the open kitchen, local ingredients are turned into comfort-food classics such as chicken schnitzel with fennel slaw, or smoked haddock, samphire and soft boiled egg. There’s a lovely kids’ menu and a sumptuous breakfast menu featuring a bacon roll with rhubarb ketchup, or a Scandi breakfast plate of smoked salmon, avocado and whipped cream cheese and dill that is worth lingering over before stretching your legs along the seafront.

As The Room Service checked-out, friends were gathering in the lounge for coffee, excited couples were checking in (the hotel was fully-booked just one month after launch) and an older gentleman sat the bar with a pint of Guinness and a scratch card: a colourful vision, fully realised.

The Rose, 91 High Street, Deal, Kent; 01304 389127

Rooms from £125 – £225 per night including breakfast.

@therosedeal

Love this Stye? Explore our Pinterest Board inspired by The Rose and keep your eye out for pieces from The Rose that will be available on The Room Service in the Autumn.

Want to know more? Find more words from Nell on The Rose in Remodelista.

Nell Card

The Room Service