Hotel's foreign fame
JANE Bishop owner of the Walpole Bay Hotel, in Cliftonville, says the establishment is "the best-kept secret in Thanet".
On Tuesday, May 1, with a nod to Frank Sinatra, she's about to start shouting the news, at a free open day with morning and afternoon tea.
Despite being featured on TV's The Hotel Inspector in 2009 Jane says that more people know about the hotel abroad than in Thanet.
She said: "It's true! Seventy million Americans have heard about us, I can't go to New Zealand without being recognised after the programme has aired five times there, but people in Thanet still don't know about our museum, the events we hold such as our recent antiques fair or that they can just come here and have a cream tea – they don't have to stay overnight."
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The "living museum" is the five-storey 1914-built hotel itself which has retained many of the original features.
In the TV programme, Jane was advised to ditch most of her nostalgic curiosities. However the collection has doubled in three years.
"The public saw the programme and was worried that I'd got rid of the collection but I'd only hidden it away. Now people have donated even more."
Among the many curious that can be seen is a 100-plus autographed linen napkin collection, now on both ground and first floors.
"It began after a guest wrote a message on a napkin describing his "magical stay". Another followed with a poem. Now, most exhibiting Turner Contemporary artists who have stayed autograph a napkin and even Tracey Emin has promised to leave an artistic message on one.
"I don't have it yet, but I have kept the Christmas card Tracey sent me two years ago promising that she hadn't forgotten she was going to do it."
The Walpole Bay Hotel open day is for businesses from 11am and for the public from 1pm to 5pm. Entry and tea are free.