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A stylish seaside boutique hotel that evokes the maritime spirt of Harwich and serves great, locally-sourced food and drink.

Harwich isn't perhaps the obvious location for a boutique hotel and a fancyish restaurant, but that's one of the things we love about this place, which is part of the excellent, Essex-based Milsoms group of hotels. They recently spent a large sum of money of revamping this wonderful old building, right on the harbour in Harwich, and have turned it into a boutique hotel with all-day dining restaurant that is as chic and stylish a place to stay as you'll find anywhere on the East Coast. Perhaps the best thing about the renovation is the way it references Harwich's seafaring past, with both its bar and restaurant and 14 upstairs bedrooms designed to make the most of the stunning sunsets and glorious harbour views. All the bedrooms are equipped with flatscreen satellite TVs, complimentary soft drinks and posh aromatherapy toiletries, and there's wifi throughout. There's a restaurant on the first floor that opens out onto the building's elegant period wrought-iron balcony and serves fish and seafood (among other things) fresh from the harbour, while downstairs the NAVYÄRD bar is a stripped-back and cool space with estuary views from every table, a good choice of ales and and cocktails and a bar menu inspired by the town's Scandinavian roots – open sandwiches, sharing platters and great oysters. We love it when any old building is brought up-to-date and given a bit of overdue love and care; when it's done this well, and with this much respect to its location, we like it even more. In short, The Pier is a great stop-off if you're catching an early Holland- or Belgium-bound ferry, but why stop there? At less than two hours from London, it's the perfect weekend escape.

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