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Interview with Giles Fuchs, Owner of Burgh Island Hotel

Mr. Giles Fuchs
How important was the restaurant refurbishment and why was it decided to be carried out?

We decided to introduce a new restaurant to Burgh Island due to a number of reasons. Primarily, it was instigated by the hotel management company we work with, Inn-telligence, after they recognised that there was a gap in the market for a good quality fish restaurant in the local area. Initially, I was a little apprehensive, but based on the amount of pre-bookings we have secured this confirms that Penny, CEO of Inn-telligence made an accurate assessment that it would be a good investment.

This is a restaurant that is not only for hotel guests but also those local to Devon, who will get to enjoy the superior produce the area has to offer. For us, this restaurant is a celebration of all things local, and we work hard to ensure that this is a priority.

Why was it called The Nettlefold?

The restaurant was named in honour of the Hotel’s founder, Archie Nettlefold. Archie commissioned his ‘Great White Palace’ in 1929 to entertain his friends with incredible and exclusive parties. It was his unique and theatrical taste and adoration of luxury that made Burgh Island ‘the smartest Hotel West of the Ritz’, a title we very much hope to live up to!

The location is stunning: talk us through the hotel’s design and how the new restaurant ties in with this

For some years, not enough money was spent on the hotel’s fabric and furniture, making what is a unique archive of the art-deco era look a little tired. It needed investment, refurbishment and a touch of art-decadence to bring the Hotel back it to its glory days. We have carried out a full refurbishment of the public rooms, the ballroom, the two bars, reception and The Nettlefold, which we have opened as a destination seafood restaurant. We have mixed the old with the new, expertly restoring our antiques while adding that superior luxury finish, we think Archie Nettlefold would have loved. In this respect, it made sense for us to name The Nettlefold after him, honouring his sense of modernity, foresight and vision for the hotel while staying consistent with the finest elements of 1920’s style and design.

What are the long term aims for the new restaurant?

For us, beautiful food served exquisitely, for the guests of the hotel, holidaymakers and the local residents. With some luck, the news will spread and the restaurant will be full every night!

How important is it to incorporate elements of heritage into the hotel as well as modernise?

When we bought the hotel, we inherited a famous art deco icon. The hotel has enjoyed decades of success owing to its unique history, outstanding heritage and eye-catching design. To change it to anything else would be foolish. It is important that we respect our current patrons who visit to experience the ambience and atmosphere of the art deco era.

What are the long term goals and aims for the hotel?

To keep improving the fabric of the building that will ensure it is around for another 90 years and beyond, building on the quality of service and design so that Burgh Island is considered THE place to be. In the shorter term, we have plans to add a spa to the Hotel, introduce a yoga retreat, incorporate golfing trips in partnership with the local golf club, and even introducing mini excursions such as sea-fishing so that the local area is appreciated and celebrated.