Uncertainty Over Future Of Scilly Hotel

St Martin's Hotel

St Martin’s Hotel

There’s uncertainty over the future of the St Martin’s Hotel after its owner unexpectedly closed the business for the season.

A notice posted outside says that owner Peter Sykes, who lives in the Bristol area, has decided to liquidate the company with immediate effect.

Three staff members have lost their jobs.

The hotel, which opened in 1987, has enjoyed some successes including gaining a Michelin star for its restaurant and becoming a favourite destination for celebrities including Jude law and Gary Kemp.

But more recently there have been difficulties. Planners approved a refurbishment and extension of the hotel with the introduction of some self-catering units in 2010.

Regular visitors were told that the hotel would be closed for the following season and many re-booked accommodation elsewhere. But the work was not carried out and the business instead remained open.

Last year a judge forced the hotel to be sold after people in charge of the estate of the owners’ late wife wanted to realise the value of her share of the business.

Ben Julian, owner of Churchtown Farm, St Martins’ biggest employer, says the situation is very sad, primarily for the people who worked there and whose families and livelihoods depended on the income it provided.

He says that the impact on the island economy with no pub or hotel cannot be underestimated. But he adds that St Martin’s has several excellent businesses who will pull out all of the stops to serve visitors to the island.

Ben says this may act as a catalyst for islanders to pull together for the common good with a, “creative solution to the situation, at least for this season.”


13 Responses to Uncertainty Over Future Of Scilly Hotel

  1. Simon Fraser March 11, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Very sad, and they have our deposit too. Fortunately I was a bit disorganised and was late sending our balance (to get the 10% off) and the bank returned our money.

    I only hope that Neil, Lani, Rachel and Kamal (I can’t remember any more staff names) will be OK.

  2. Jonathan Smith March 10, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    I don’t know how many of these businesses will be open on Sunday this year, as I’m sure everyone is having a re-think about opening hours and times in light of recent developments. Indeed there is an island meeting tomorrow evening to discuss just this.

    There is always at least one place in Higher Town open on a Sunday, so there shouldn’t be any worries from visitors in getting something to eat or drink on any day. Everyone just needs to remember to drop in to Higher Town, not Lower Town for refreshments during their day trip to St Martin’s.

    Long term visitors to Scilly will remember that it was the norm to take a packed lunch on day trips to other islands, as it was often difficult to get more than a cup of tea and piece of cake! Times have changed a lot; what we have on St Martin’s now even without pub and hotel is pretty good really…

  3. JeffEastick March 10, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    St. Martins was always a favourite destination when our children were younger , and remains so now that our grandchildren visit , but with closure of Hotel and Seven Stones , surely important that ALL facilities mentioned by Trent remain open 7 days a week during Summer , as seem to recollect Polreath closes on Saturday , which seems nonsensical as surely they need to make most of whatever number of visitors arrive this year.

  4. Alison March 9, 2013 at 8:57 am

    You are right Jonathan. As regular visitors, a trip to St Martins on a sunny day is one of the highlights of our holiday and the beaches at the ‘back’ of the island are spectacular! I hope the negative comments on all of this website don’t put new visitors off because once you get people to your wonderful islands I’m sure they will return again and again.

  5. Jonathan Smith March 8, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    This is, of course, sad news for the employees that lost their jobs, but let’s put this in context. St Martin’s may not currently have an operating pub or hotel but it does have a lot else to offer visitors!

    Apart from the best beaches on Scilly and some beautiful scenery, it also has Polreath, Little Arthur cafe & bistro, Adam’s fish and chips, the Bakery, the Shop/P.O., two galleries and other facilities.

    The island will be fully open for business and welcoming guests as usual in 2013. Please don’t think nothing’s happening just because the pub and hotel are closed.

    • Trent March 8, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      And how many of these businesses are open on a Sunday?

  6. Bob F March 7, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Particularly disgusting is the fact that a few days ago friends of mine paid the full amount for their 2013 holiday in order to take ‘advantage’ of a 10% off offer. The cheque had cleared literally hours before they heard the news.

  7. Tony Cherry March 1, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Sad but predictable. We stayed three or four times when our children were small and High Tea was still served in the Tean restaurant. Once the children were edged towards burgers and chips in the “bistro” we gave it up and reverted to St Mary’s leaving the Tean room to the footballers who got all the tables in the window. The footballers are gone. We aren’t. As adopted Bristolians, incidentally, nothing about this story is surprising. I’m sure both the hotel and the pub will re-open but with a lower and more manageable capital base for the new owners.

  8. Gary February 28, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    What a shame for St Martin’s and for those that have lost their jobs. I hope that something is sorted out for the future for this lovely spot. Is there any news on the future of the Seven Stones pub? We come over in August each year and love visiting that end of the island. It won’t be the same with both the hotel and pub closed.

  9. Gromit February 28, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    What stops the Duchy taking it on?

  10. Stavropol February 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    What the hell is going on with the islands! No chopper, St. Martin’s is now a ‘dry zone’, what next, strip club on Tresco to attract business clientele from the Far East???
    You might laugh but who would have expected this situation 12months ago, and who’s to say leggy girls aren’t on the menu soon!

  11. Alison February 28, 2013 at 9:02 am

    What a shame…we stayed at the hotel for a special birthday a few years ago and it was fantastic. When we came to Scilly in the past we used to eat lunch at the Sevenstones (how sad that is looking now) and have tea in the grounds of the hotel. Just an observation…the Polreath Tearooms are shut on a Saturday…could they open this season? St Martins is our favourite island so we will just have to carry our supplies with us this year!!

  12. Judge Judy February 28, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Community right to bid scheme might be something that St Martins residents could look at.