Iconic Burgh Island Hotel announces major expansion plans – Devon Live

One of Devon’s most iconic hotels has unveiled huge expansion plans designed to meet a boom in visitor numbers.

Burgh Island Hotel wants to increase the number of guest rooms by 50 per cent, improve staff accommodation and renovate the historic Pilchard Inn pub.

The hotel, built on a private island in the South Hams in 1929, is famous for its art deco design, the sea tractor that brings guests from the mainland, and former guests such as Agatha Christie and the Beatles.

Read more: Multi-million pound Sandy Park Hotel project nearing completion

Burgh Island Estate says its expansion plans are supported by the high demand which the hotel has experienced in 2021.

Despite the lingering effects of the Covid pandemic, occupancy did not dip below 97 per cent throughout June-August of this year and the hotel is all but booked up until 2022, with demand strong in the winter months.

The new plan is to build at least 11 new guest rooms and is subject to getting planning permission.

The full costs have not been revealed, but it is hoped the new look hotel will be ready for guests in early 2023.

Giles Fuchs, Owner of Burgh Island Hotel, said: “Everyone at Burgh Island is extremely excited about this development, which will only serve to further enhance the estate’s unique heritage and expand its offer for guests.

“We very much look forward to welcoming members of our community to the consultation, and eventually to bringing the first visitors to the newly developed site.”

(Image: DevonLive)

Architects have been chosen for their understanding of the local area and commitment to preserving the heritage of Burgh Island, says the owner.

Staff will have newly built accommodation, while visitors will be able to enjoy an extended Bay View Restaurant, a restored tea shop, and improved walking routes around the island.

The proposals for the new development have prioritised respect for the island’s unique setting, and preserve the glamour of Roaring ‘20s for guests.

The development will also have one eye on the future and energy efficient materials.

Burgh Island Hotel
Burgh Island Hotel
(Image: Victoria Gibbs)

All new construction work will adopt a ‘fabric-first approach’, which uses building materials with energy efficiency credentials above regulatory standards.

The new staff accommodation will consist of timber-frame low-energy housing set behind dry stone earth shelter walls.

The existing building on the island will take installation of run-around coil heat exchangers which will maintain a comfortable climate in the hotel’s dining areas using surplus heat generated in the kitchen.

The proposals are the latest development in the history of the island.

(Image: DevonLive)

Links with the entertainment industry go back to the 1890’s when a music hall star called George H Chirgwin built a wooden house there.

Filmmaker Archibald Nettlefold took over in the 1920s. Illustrious former guests include Agatha Christie who made it her second home, Winston Churchill, Josephine Baker, Amy Johnson and Noel Coward who stayed for three weeks.

The island served as the setting for Soldier Island in Christie’s And Then There Were None and for the setting of the Hercule Poirot mystery Evil Under the Sun.

After a period of post-war decline it was renovated in the early 2000s.

Giles Fuchs - the man who has bought Burgh Island

The man who has bought Devon’s iconic Burgh Island is Giles Fuchs – the A-level failure who went on to become a multi-millionaire.

Today he describes himself as ‘a self-confessed serial entrepreneur’ but the day after he failed his A-levels Giles knocked on the door of the biggest estate agent chain in Northamptonshire looking for a job.

“I’ll be the best negotiator you’ve ever had,” the teenager told the manager. “Can you start on Monday?” was his response.

Today he is the co-founder and boss of UK serviced office business Office Space In Town (OSIT), and he says that the three years he spent working for that estate agency in the East Midlands gave him an invaluable grounding.

This is how he describes himself: “I was born in 1964 in Welwyn Garden City and educated at Pangbourne College in Berkshire. I now reside in Oxfordshire and commute each day in to the city.

“I was 22 years of age when I set up my first business which was an estate agency based in Northampton. Moving on from there, further businesses were or still are City Executive Centres, my first experience in the serviced office industry, Disaster Recovery Solutions Ltd and Benchmark Law.

“I am a keen sportsman with rugby being my game of choice. I played my last game when I was 44 and now enjoy keeping fit, albeit of a sporadic nature. I integrate my work life with my role as Governor of Northampton Academy where I lend my experience and guidance to this environment.

“On the 14th May 2009 my sister, Niki Fuchs, and I started Office Space in Town and I have never looked back. I am the proud CEO of a successful and growing serviced office group who, in my opinion, employs elite staff that share our family, core values and offer the best service to companies of any size looking for office space.

“My role is to create both financial and business strategy for OSiT whilst also finding new buildings and project managing their refurbishment and launch, and this involves quite a lot of lunch, not to mention late trains home!”

The Pilchard Inn is part of the Burgh Island Estate and dates from 1336.

Its renovation involves ‘extending the dining experience for guests’, say the owners.

The tractor which transports guests across Bigbury Beach to the tidal island will not be affected by the development plans.

Penny Brown, managing director of Inntelligence, said: “This development is the latest and most exciting chapter in the history of Burgh Island’s evolution.

“The increase in capacity has been carefully devised so that it blends gently into the existing construction, maintaining the intimacy and magic of the guest experience.

“We will continue to remain faithful to the art deco origins and I am sure that the planned changes will further cement the hotel’s position as one of the most unique and iconic in the UK.”

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