A Warm Welcome from Garden Isle Hotel Director, Clare Farrelly
Here is Our Family Isle of Wight Story So Far…..
In January 1986 Ken Wells and his late wife Lyn took over as the proud owners of Melville Hall Hotel in Sandown on the Isle of Wight.
They moved over from Southsea after looking at a few hotels on the island, deciding on Melville Hall Hotel in Sandown after over hearing a couple of ladies discussing their choice of wedding reception destination as having to be at Melville Hall as it was the best hotel…
Back in the day, Melville Hall was a 39 bed hotel with no en-suites but with sinks in every bedroom and a few strategically placed communal bathooms and toilets along each corridor.
Over the years Ken has refurbished the hotel many times catering the trends in place at the time. Spacious public areas with sliding doors that once allowed for functions of up to 300 guests now form treatment rooms and indoor leisure facilities and all rooms now do of course enjoy private en-suite bathrooms!
After a few years of successful trading at Melville Hall Ken went on to purchase the Luccombe Hall Country House Hotel due to its superior cliff top setting and then later went on to buy Chine Court Hotel which he later re-named the Luccombe Manor Hotel. A few years later Ken purchased the Burlington Hotel which, seeing a trend towards luxury self catering breaks, renovated in to 4 and 5 star contemporary apartments.
Ken’s work is not yet done, although the day to day operation is successfully managed by his daughter Clare. Melville Hall is just undergoing yet another refurbishment programme with all Classic Bedrooms being upgraded along with some of the public areas.
Ken is most proud that the hotel continues to be under his families management with daughter Clare, now based at Luccombe Hall in Shanklin, running both the hotel and group as a whole, having worked all her life for the family business – starting at a young age by collecting the daily newspapers for the hotel guests in exchange for her pocket money and is now also a co-owner. Over the years both of Ken’s sons have spent time working and managing the hotels too, with the youngest now Head Chef at Luccombe Manor Country House Hotel. Even one of Ken’s 10 grandchildren spent some years working on reception at Melville Hall too.
In addition to Clare, Ken is delighted that some of his original team from back in 1986 – or thereabouts – are still working for him in some way. The most notable being the ever popular Noel who works behind the bar and assists in the Melville Hall Hotel’s Summerhill Restaurant. He was actually working at Melville before Ken! Mary who works as breakfast waitress was also there almost from the beginning as was Pam who is now Housekeeper at Luccombe Hall. Pam’s daughter, Kirsty, was a baby at the time, but later went on to become Assistant Manager to Clare at Luccombe Hall before leaving to start her own family!
How ever many changes Ken has made to his hotels over the years his objective has remained constant: To provide a service that gives you, the guest, an experience to remember…