Welcome addition to Dover's hotel and dining scene: Dover Marina

A welcome addition to Dover's hotel and dining scene, the Dover Marina looks after cruise passengers, locals and visitors in an elegant restaurant overlooking the harbour...

Welcome addition to Dover’s hotel and dining scene: Dover Marina

 A welcome addition to Dover’s hotel and dining scene, the Dover Marina looks after cruise passengers, locals and visitors in an elegant restaurant overlooking the harbour 

Best Western’s coastal jewel, the newly refurbished Dover Marina, was positively sparkling in the glorious autumn sunshine we were lucky enough to experience on our visit.  

Set right on the seafront, overlooking the marina, with Dover Castle and the White Cliffs in the background, this couldn’t be a more Kentish setting if it tried and it certainly made me look at this busy port in an entirely new light.

A cool �4m was spent restoring this listed Victorian building, which was opened in March by John Penrose, Minister for Tourism and Heritage, who praised the sensitive and imaginative way the work has been carried out.

Indeed, the combination of 21st-century comfort and 19th-century period charm is seamless and the bespoke d�cor by designer Nicholas Hollinshead beautifully blends a colour palette of sea and sand shades with colour pops of crimson.

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Our destination for lunch was The Waterfront restaurant and it was so warm we were able to sit out in a glassed veranda area overlooking the pretty front garden (formerly crazy paving), and the ever-changing harbour beyond.

The restaurant itself is delightful – Regency-style striped-back chairs around polished oak tables, arched windows and lofty ceilings, a pianist gently playing in the background – and service by our young Lithuanian waitress Jurate was discreet and informed.

The menu is largely on the safe side, with the odd surprise – like my mini tikka lamb kebabs, which were a perfect size, not too spicy but with a definite kick that made the mint and yoghurt dip a lovely cooling addition.

Similarly, My Work Colleague enjoyed her large grilled field mushroom with a Kentish cheese dressing, noting the zing a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce led the dish.

Having had a sneak insight into our Sri Lankan chef’s signature dishes, we decided to test one each – MWC gave the thumbs up to her “perfectly cooked” pan-fried supreme of chicken in a creamy white wine tarragon sauce, while adding sizzled ginger, chilli and spring onions to my succulent grilled sea bass was inspired – and it looked as good as it tasted, too.

Other mains ranged from steak (beef and venison) to a vegetarian Thai red curry and seafood Thermidor.

Puddings are worth leaving room for and MWC’s  Bailey’s cr�me br�l�e was like an early taste of Christmas, though eclipsed I felt by my gorgeous dark chocolate pudding in a sort of giant spider’s web of cr�me anglaise and chocolate sauce. Incredibly yummy.

Our fellow guests included families, business people and of course cruise ship passengers, which is big business for the hotel. Next to the restaurant – which seats up to 80 – is the new Waterfront Caf�, a very useful addition for those in need of a quick bite or cup of coffee.

So next time you’re heading for the ferries, make sure you factor in time for lunch or dinner at this very welcome addition to Dover’s dining scene.