‘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.

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