Malaysia-based YTL Hotels has been expanding into the U.K. in recent years, adding some prime properties to its portfolio including The Gainsborough Bath Spa. Another new hotel we’re excitedly anticipating is Monkey Island Estate, slated to debut this spring in Bray-on-Thames, a historic village 30 miles west of London in Berkshire. Devout foodies know Bray as the famed gourmet home of The Waterside Inn and Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck.
Monkey Island is a storied place; the private island in the middle of the Thames has hosted royalty, artists and writers. (Apparently it takes its name from an Old English term for resident monks, and not from the painted monkey art installed by the Duke of Marlborough.)
Now, after an elegant renovation, Monkey Island will be reborn. To oversee the makeover, YTL Hotels recruited New York-based Champalimaud Design, the acclaimed studio that also waved its wand over prestigious projects like The Gainsborough Bath Spa, The Green Leaf Niseko Village, The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur, The Carlyle in New York and The Dorchester in London.
Surrounded by manicured lawns and gardens on seven acres, the white bricked Pavilion and Temple buildings will house 27 bedrooms and three deluxe suites. The look is said to combine “timeless glamour and traditional features” with a “modern, relaxed countryside style.” We hear there will also be a stylish restaurant, bar, lounge for Afternoon Tea, and a floating spa (occupying a converted barge).
YTL Hotels aims to position the Monkey Island Estate as a perfect spot for weekend escapes from London, weddings, and romantic vacations.