Devon’s luxury Burgh Island Hotel has bought a care home in order to transform it into some of the best staff accommodation in the UK. Korniloff care home in Bigbury-on-Sea will be converted to the tune of £500,000 into living quarters for staff, complete with large gardens, sea views and ample space for relaxation including a gym.
Daniel Clark www.devonlive.com
Korniloff will take six months to complete and will provide 22 high end ensuite double bedrooms when finished. The provision of such quality staff accommodation will ensure that Burgh continues to attract and keep the best staff; bucking the trend of some hospitality venues, which find it hard to find staff.
This is not the first project Burgh has undertaken to provide staff with accommodation. In 2018 as the hotel expanded, Burgh bought Warren Cottage in Bigbury-on-Sea to help staff who were based further away from the island. As business continued to grow, often fully booked, it was clear that additional staff accommodation was needed.
Burgh had been interested in buying Korniloff for the past few years, but it only recently became available. Korniloff was originally built as a hotel in the early part of the last century and the intention is to give staff living quarters that match those on the island.
Giles Fuchs, owner of Burgh Island Hotel, said: “Since I bought the hotel, we have always tried to provide suitable accommodation for our staff, which is challenging given its location on a tidal island, so I am delighted to announce the purchase of Korniloff. Once renovated it will allow us to provide our hard-working and highly valued staff with a very high standard of accommodation. Our success over the past few years would not have been possible without them so it is very much deserved.
“South Hams is very expensive both in terms of rent and house prices, which makes it difficult for people to pursue a career in hospitality at the Burgh Island Hotel. Through providing quality accommodation, we hope to attract and retain the best hospitality talent to help give them a good quality of life and ensure that our guest enjoy the best experience while staying with us.”
At the height of summer, when over six million tourists flock to Devon’s magnificent coast, Burgh employs almost 100 members of staff to run, maintain and deliver its first-class service to guests throughout the hotel. In return the Burgh’s owners want to make sure that the staff have equally great accommodation to look after their wellbeing and happiness.
With only 16 staff bedrooms currently on the island and, given its remote location where access is controlled by the tide, it’s important that staff can live nearby. Burgh’s purchase of Korniloff is a move to shield employees from rising house prices and increasingly unaffordable rents, allowing them to focus on their roles at the hotel and progress their careers.
In 2022, amongst the 29 local authorities in the Southwest, South Hams recorded the highest property price rise, increasing by an average of 24.3%. Average house prices are now over £400,000 as the area becomes a popular destination for second homes and summer holidays.
It comes as plans for the huge expansion of the plush Devon hotel to meet a boom in visitor numbers and make it ‘the best hotel west of the Ritz’ are still under consideration by South Hams District Council planners. The aspiration for Burgh to be the ‘best hotel west of the Ritz’, and the scheme includes developing rooftop rooms which would rank among the country’s most sought after settings, as well as provide a new bar to allow for new guests and to allow casually dressed visitors to be split from those in 1930’s costume.
Proposals for the ambitious new development have prioritised respect for the island’s unique setting, and preserve the glamour of Roaring ‘20s for guests. An additional 15 hotel rooms in addition to the 25 already would be planned to be built, as well as 11 rooms of accommodation for staff, while a Glazed extension and first floor terrace over the Pilchard Inn, with the reinstatement of the café selling Cream Teas to rear.
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.