Feeling unusual?

Live out a fantasy and stay somewhere a bit different

Have you ever thought it would be fun to stay in a lighthouse, a cave or a castle? Maybe a windmill would sail your boat – or perhaps you’d prefer to stay in one of those? Host Unusual, a new holiday accommodation website, is offering these and all sorts of other unusual properties to book.

Lookout kitchenTo aid you in finding your dream stay, Host Unusual groups properties in various ways, so you can search by type – buses & coaches, boats, castles & follies, gatehouses & tollhouses, even private islands, for instance – or by what it calls ‘Inspiration’, so you can narrow your search to disability accessible; family, horse or pet friendly; urban; romantic and so on. It’s fun to go and take a look, even if you’re not currently looking for a break.

We went for ‘quirky style’ for three reasons. First, The Lookout was an apartment with a seaview, which is always a winner. Second, it was in Westgate-on-Sea, a lovely old-fashioned seaside town in Kent next to Margate, an area I didn’t know at all, but had heard was seeing a renaissance I was interested in checking out. And, finally, the Lookout is decorated in lovely retro shades of the 1960s, absolutely in keeping with the whole vibe of the area and an era I have a fondness for.

Lookout dining roomCrucially, it was also less than two hours’ drive from home, which made it an ideal escape for the weekend. So, we headed down on a Friday in January. What’s that you’re saying? January’s a funny time for a seaside break? Ah, then you don’t know this area well either!

But first the flat. It sleeps four, two on the pull-out sofa bed and two in the bedroom, which can be configured as two singles or a generous king. The heating was stonking, the place clean and full of kitsch charm, the bathroom had heaps of big soft towels with a shower over the bath; the kitchen was wonderfully equipped and, best of all, the view of the sea was unobstructed, as promised.

Lookout bathroomThe sun came out for us in the morning and we had the most fantastic walk along the promenade beneath the cliffs. It runs for over 13 miles, if you’re up for it, but is more like two to Margate. Fuel up first with breakfast at Pav’s Cafe then, once in Margate, there’s the Turner Contemporary gallery, the harbour wall with the lovely shell-lady statue at the end, plus – allegedly – ‘the best pizza anywhere’ at GB Pizza. Margate has plenty more of interest: a historical Tudor house, mysterious shell grotto and plenty of knick-knacky shops to wander round. Then, when you’ve had enough, come back to Westgate for your evening entertainment. For £3.50 (or £2.50 if it’s midweek), you can watch a first-run film at the family-run Carlton Cinema, which is wonderfully retro too, on the pretty high street.

You see? You don’t need high summer to have a great seaside break here.

The Lookout, in Westgate-on-Sea, Kent, costs from £65 per night through HostUnusual.co.uk

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Liz Granirer

Freelance journalist

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