Islanders Get First Taste Of New Karma St Martin’s Hotel
The new Karma St Martin’s Hotel was packed with invited guests last night as islanders had their first chance to look around and meet management, ahead of today’s public opening.
The hotel will open for two months, to give staff a chance to learn about what their Group Founder, John Spence, calls the “market, people and property.”
Then, over the winter the building will be redeveloped before opening next year with a spa, kids’ club and accommodation in line with the group’s ‘5 star hippy’ image.
John says they’ll target affluent adults who backpacked in exotic places in their 20s, and still want scenery and beaches, but now expect quality accommodation as well.
And he feels St Martin’s is the perfect site for the only UK resort in his global portfolio. John says the Isles of Scilly are “magical” and represent everything about his company’s philosophy, which is about “being different and irreverent.”
John says their motto is that “it’s more fun to be a pirate than to be in the Navy.”
Karma has a database of 55,000 regulars who use their resorts all over the world and he says his company could have a major impact on the islands’ economy.
They’re keen to encourage their clients from Asia, Australia and New Zealand to visit St Martin’s as part of a longer trip to Europe, taking in the the company’s other properties in Greece and Germany.
He believes many of his Asian customers will love the islands, adding that for people living in Mumbai or Singapore, the weather isn’t that important. John says they spend their whole life in sun – what they’re looking for is clean air and sea, wildlife and local cuisine.
They’ll also be marketing the hotel in the UK, particularly to a “younger crowd” than is normally targeted in Scilly, with plans for in-house DJs and wine tasting weekends.
John says he’s surprised the islands haven’t attracted more young visitors in the past because it has everything they’re looking for.
The Karma ethos is simple and is based around their own style of chill-out music events, good food and drink.
John is a passionate wine-lover and says the hotel will have a very well stocked cellar.
Some locals have voiced concern over plans to serve Indian food as part of the menu, but John says he needs to offer a service that appeals to all of his guests.
He insists the company is environmentally aware and will source and serve a lot of local food, but clients coming from Asia still like to have some Asian-based foods while they’re away from home.
Karma has offered time-share opportunities at some of their properties, but that won’t feature for their St Martin’s hotel. John says accommodation will be filled by a mix of regular hotel room bookings and existing preference time-share users, who want to use their arrangement for a stay in Scilly
Looking to the future, John says the company will be using the planning permission trhat’s already in place on the St Martin’s property to build more accommodation.
And if there is demand, he says the company could look to obtain more properties in the islands.