This in from The George, in their own words. Ed
Yarmouth resident and Group Chief Executive of Camelot, Dianne Thompson CBE, has assumed ownership of the seaside hotel, bringing with her fellow Islander and Michelin Star chef, Robert Thompson.
The sale follows much speculation about the future of the hotel, previously owned by Dire Straits bassist John Illsey, and the role of each of the Thompsons in it. Ms Thompson says announcing the news is both exciting and quite a relief.
Ms Thompson said,
“There’s been a lot of interest on the Island, and in the media, about the future of The George, and rightly so – the hotel is an institution. As the new owner, it’s my pleasure to lift the veil on our plans to reinvigorate the hotel and also its dining offer.”
The George Hotel will be renovated and refreshed, but Ms Thompson insists that its charm and character will be maintained, with the main transformation being to the dining experience.
Ms Thompson went on to say,
“An Isle of Wight local resident since 2010, I’m very passionate about the Island and all it has to offer, and I’ve always been a fan of The George Hotel from when I first stayed here 20 years ago. This, combined with my love of independent businesses, means taking the reins from Mr Illsey was an easy decision to make and I am determined to make him, the team and the Island proud.
“As with any hotel, and even more so given its stunning location by the sea, The George has a big opportunity in dining. I want to make the most of this and I’m thrilled to say that Robert Thompson will be helping me do just that. Together, we look forward to nurturing this Isle of Wight gem.”
Mr Thompson, who has been working with Ms Thompson on the project since November 2013, stepped into his role as Head Chef last month to begin preparations.
Commenting on progress so far, Mr Thompson said:
“Over the last month the team and I have been hard at work getting ready to launch the enhanced brasserie and the new fine dining restaurant at The George. We’ve attracted the attention of many interested locals and foodies, and I’ve even heard a number of guesses at the name.
“The brasserie, to be re-named Isla’s Conservatory, is getting a new menu to reflect my personal style. The fine dining restaurant, Isla’s, will launch in the summer, the first of its kind at The George for more than six years.”
Mr Thompson shot to fame in 2006 when he became Britain’s youngest chef to win a Michelin Star at the age of 23. Since then he has had a trail of successes, most recently being credited with transforming The Hambrough Restaurant, also on the Isle of Wight.
Mr Thompson said,
“It’s an honour to be able to remain on the Isle of Wight and continue to contribute to its local food and dining renaissance. This is a beautiful and vibrant part of the country and Dianne and I plan to reflect that in the hotel and dining experience that we create.”
A seemingly unlikely partnership and one not to be mistaken for family, despite the matching names, Dianne Thompson and Robert Thompson share a love of cultivating independent businesses. Ms Thompson has a long-standing passion for such businesses, with current interests in a property company, a beauty spa and a restaurant and Mr Thompson has built his career on turning existing restaurants into nationally-celebrated establishments.