Ambitious £5m Plan Announced For Scilly’s Oldest Hotel
The new owner of Tregarthen’s Hotel has announced an ambitious £5m plan to create a better visitor experience and offer additional bed spaces.
And if approved by planners, the project will transform the appearance of St Mary’s oldest hotel.
Nigel Wolstenholme says he had a vision for the business before he bought it last April.
He wants the hotel to regain its former status of around 15 years ago before, he says, underinvestment and the recession took its toll.
He’s aiming for 4-star status, to appeal to both the family market in summer and attract a more up-market clientele.
Nigel says he’s keen to tap into an audience that will bring more money both into the hotel and the islands as a whole.
The Hampshire-based property developer has applied for planning permission to demolish and rebuild some of the existing Tregarthen’s Hotel buildings, construct new self catering accommodation lodges and add two turreted cottages either side of the current entrance.
There would also be an arch between those buildings, over the walkway leading to the original 1848 hotel.
The project will be phased over 5 years, although Nigel says cosmetic interior changes to the lounge area don’t require Council consent and could start this autumn.
The rest of the work would take place over successive winters because Nigel says he doesn’t want guests and locals to experience “Spanish resort construction.”
Some of the plans have already changed following consultation.
Nigel had originally intended to knock-through some of the hotel bedrooms to create larger spaces but his staff have convinced him that keeping different sized rooms offers more choice and a variety in rates.
When the work is complete around 30 hotel rooms will remain. These will be supplemented by self-catering cottages clustered alongside the hill leading to the Garrison, in the centre of the hotel site and also adjacent to the Mermaid car park.
The 10 units will be mainly 2-storey and will offer between 1 and 3 bedrooms.
They’ll be built in 2017 or 2018 and Nigel hopes councillors will approve the self-catering plans because this will benefit more businesses on St Mary’s.
He says visitors in this type of accommodation will help spread money down into the local economy far more than those staying in the hotel on all-inclusive packages.
And the overall plan will boost employment. Nigel says the hotel’s staff is expected to grow from the current 25 full and part-time workers to 48 employees.
He says part of that will be a result of raising the level of service, which requires more waiting and bar staff.
Adding self-catering units could stretch the opening season by up to four weeks at either end and Nigel says that means it could then become more economic to stay open year-round.
He’s intending a public display of the plans, so residents and visitors can give their opinion.
The application is expected to go before the Council on 13th October but if it is rejected, Nigel says he’ll consult with staff, amend the proposals and apply for consent again.