‘Chilled Out Luxury’ Coming To St Martin’s As Hotel Set To Reopen In August

Karma Royal Group's Neha Sharma, Chris Diplock and Vic Faulkner (left to right).

Karma Royal Group’s Neha Sharma, Chris Diplock and Vic Faulkner (left to right).

It could be the biggest boost to Scilly’s tourism in recent years.

Radio Scilly can exclusively reveal that global luxury resort brand, Karma Resorts will complete on their purchase of the St Martin’s Hotel on Monday. They’ve been negotiating the deal and leases for almost a year.

The hotel closed in March 2013.

The company operates high-end resorts, sometimes sold to clients as timeshares, in 21 locations, mainly in Asia. It’s not been decided whether this will be a timeshare operation, yet.

Their vision has been described as both “über-upmarket, five-star hippy” and “chilled-out luxury”.

Vic Faulkner is Group MD of the Karma Royal Group. He told us their customers are from all walks of life and are the type of people who lead successful lives but want to relax and enjoy themselves.

‘Karma Scillonia’ as the new resort will be called, won’t just be somewhere to sit back and do nothing though, says Vic.

He says they’ll provide great food and entertainment, with a spa likely to open in the future.

Neha Sharma operates Karma’s largest resort in Goa and she’s consulting on the St Martin’s project.

The hotel will reopen in August and, because they’re taking over mid-season, around one third of the 30 rooms will be on offer initially.

They’ll also open just one of the two restaurants to start with – the downstairs bistro.

Neha said as an Asian company, Karma will certainly be bringing the flavours of that region to the hotel, with plenty of Indian dishes and seafood.

Karma’s Director of Resort Operations for India and Europe, Chris Diplock says there’ll be a low profile launch this summer.

He says it’s been closed for some time and there’s “an awful lot to do to kick start it” in the next month. Over the winter, a major refurbishment will be undertaken as part of a multi-million pound investment.

Karma says external changes will remain in keeping with the islands, but they want to open up the inside of the building to bring in the views and provide easier access to the lawns.

When it’s fully up and running, they’ll employ up to 30 people and it could eventually be operated all year round.

Vic says the new destination will be distinctly different from anything on offer currently in the islands, particularly the focus on Indian cuisine. And he says they have the resources to bring in experts from the sub continent to make that work.

Chris says his team has had great support on the island so far and they’ve been met with very positive reactions to their plans.

There are of course some logistical challenges with launching a major new business on the islands, due to our location, but Vic says they’ve succeeded at bigger challenges

They’ve run hotels in remote islands before, including Rottnest off the coast of Perth and a tiny hotel on an island near Lombok in Indonesia.

“We’re not daunted at all by this,” says Vic.

And Karma’s team is confident that with their celebrity and PR contacts, both the new venue and the islands will benefit from the extensive publicity that the new business will bring.

13 Responses to ‘Chilled Out Luxury’ Coming To St Martin’s As Hotel Set To Reopen In August

  1. Beamer July 31, 2014 at 8:25 am

    Sad to see the negative comments…..give it a chance, it was always a wonderful hotel (holiday inn – rubbish) I’m sure the new owners will do it justice, look at their web site, very impressive. Why are people so negative.

  2. AnneMarie July 19, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    I think it is great to see the hotel reopening and that it will bring some more life to the place. I thought the hotel lacked character before. So it will be nice to see something different. Yes it is a pity that it will not look local, but something different an unexpected that is done well could be a good thing.

  3. johnny Mordaunt July 9, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    I hope there will be a wet bar for thirsty sailors,visiting yachtsmen, rowers and day trippers alike.

  4. mapwell July 8, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Not sure about this one – fish out of water.

  5. MAGGIE July 7, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    we stayed at the hotel many times. SOOO disappointed in what is happening. Why would you want to come to Scilly and eat Indian food? Surely need to eat local food. Will attract rich people who do not come for the Silly experience.

    • scillyfan July 10, 2014 at 11:35 am

      I would love to eat some Indian food here! Very pleased about this development. So sad seeing an empty hotel just sitting there.

      • maggie July 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm

        take you point but it will never be the same again I fear. Doubt they will open the upstairs restaurant again, probably be a penthouse suite. If you go again hope you enjoy. Maybe you are a lot younger than us and looking for something very different. Thanks for comment and enjoy. Regards Maggie (torquay) x

        • Ian T. July 11, 2014 at 4:02 pm

          Hope it’s not ever the same again. I was put off the moment I first walked through the door. I thought I had been transported to the nearest Holiday Inn. The interior was (is?) totally inappropriate to Scilly and not what one would expect to see in a building resembling a row of cottages.

          • maggie July 11, 2014 at 5:26 pm

            hope you enjoy the new experience and can afford it. WE never thought it was a premier inn or similar. Enjoy new experience. MAggie Torquay

  6. Simianavita July 7, 2014 at 1:49 am

    I’m dearly hoping that the newly branded hotel becomes an integral part of the island, there is indeed great potential to bring something worthy to St Martin’s and the islands as a whole.

    Views were a little mixed last year with some feeling that they were talked ‘at’ rather than ‘with’ during Karma Resorts exploratory visits last year. Let’s have faith that the message of what Scilly truly represents has got across to the new management.

    I’m looking forward to meeting the new team and hearing their fresh ideas for the hotel. I find the idea of Indian cuisine very exciting and like Kate, I hope I don’t have to climb a fence to sample the fare.

  7. Kate Stephens July 6, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Cassie, if you are paying through the nose for luxury and exclusivity, I doubt that thirsty visitors will be that welcome. I hope I am wrong and that this venture will prove to be successful and of benefit to our economy.

    • Ian T. July 7, 2014 at 8:45 am

      If this proves to be true, which I doubt, there is an opportunity for the pub next door..!

  8. Cassie July 5, 2014 at 10:56 am

    I wonder if they will still be open to the tired and thirsty day visitors waiting for the boat back to St Mary’s? Hope so! Good luck anyway…it has been sad to see the hotel closed up.