En­joy Oc­to­ber

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The Mon­key Is­land Ho­tel re­opens and en­ter­tain­ment guide

Alot can hap­pen in two or three years... Pres­i­dent Trump, the Brexit vote, a Royal wed­ding and more Royal ba­bies. But when it comes to lo­cal news, one of the big­gest sur­prises oc­curred to­wards the end of 2015 when ru­mours be­gan to cir­cu­late that the ex­clu­sive Mon­key Is­land Ho­tel at Bray was clos­ing.

The re­views were no longer good, and then a cou­ple had their planned wed­ding there sud­denly can­celled. The writ­ing was on the fa­mous and his­toric walls and shortly af­ter that Mon­key Is­land shut its doors. But peo­ple who feared it might go the same way as Skindles, a cou­ple of miles away be­side the Thames (and you can read a ‘phoenix from the flames’ ac­count of that one later on page 80) should now get the bunting out.

The prop­erty even­tu­ally passed to the pres­ti­gious YTL Ho­tels and as we went to press the fin­ish­ing touches to an in­cred­i­ble re­fur­bish­ment were be­ing made. They like to get things right at YTL –

ev­ery­thing must be per­fect – so first there was an an­nounce­ment of a ‘late spring’ open­ing, and then July. Now they’re nearly there and Mon­key Is­land Es­tate, set across seven acres with 38 be­d­rooms and three deluxe suites, all de­signed by the award-win­ning New York based Cham­pal­i­maud De­sign, is set to re­open.

Cham­pal­i­maud or­ches­trated distinc­tive in­te­rior de­sign projects for YTL’s first Bri­tish prop­erty, The Gains­bor­ough

Bath Spa, as well as Green Leaf Niseko Vil­lage and the most re­cently launched Ritz Carl­ton, Koh Sa­mui. The fur­nish­ings of Mon­key Is­land will jux­ta­pose time­less glam­our and tra­di­tional fea­tures with a mod­ern, re­laxed coun­try­side style, cre­at­ing a unique blend of past and present.

There’s no of­fi­cial date, but they’ve al­ready had a ‘prac­tice run’, host­ing a sum­mer re­cep­tion for Gra­ham Barker, the county’s High Sher­iff, in the man­i­cured gar­dens of the newly re­fur­bished pri­vate is­land on the banks of the Thames.

Lee Kelly, pre­vi­ously food and bev­er­age di­rec­tor at The Savoy in Lon­don, is the new gen­eral man­ager and says: “Bray is such a beau­ti­ful part of the world, and famed for its culi­nary of­fer­ings – I can’t wait to ex­plore what we can add to this as a five-star ho­tel and how we can make our own mark.

“I have been sur­prised to learn how so many peo­ple I have met know of Mon­key Is­land, and peo­ple are so ex­cited to hear that it is fi­nally be­ing brought back to its for­mer glory.”

As for the new ex­ec­u­tive chef, Will Hem­mings, he worked most re­cently as Head Chef of the iconic Simp­son’s in the Strand. He is ex­cited to work along­side Bri­tish farm­ers and lo­cal pro­duc­ers to in­cor­po­rate their pro­duce in his dishes.

Menu high­lights may well in­clude salmon, smoked on the es­tate grounds , slow-cooked Welsh lamb rump and for those with a sweet tooth, his renowned Mon­key Shoul­der Cranachan. Of the ap­point­ment, Chef Hem­ming says: “Bray is al­ready famed for its im­pres­sive ar­ray of gourmet of­fer­ings, but we plan to of­fer so­phis­ti­cated yet in­for­mal din­ing, an ex­pe­ri­ence that Bray cur­rently doesn’t have.”

Now just keep an eye on mon­key­is­landestate.co.uk to be among the first to book.

ABOVE:The Mon­key Is­land Ho­tel sits on a tiny is­land on the Thames

BE­LOW: Artist’s im­pres­sion of the restau­rant at The Mon­key Is­land Ho­tel

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