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EXCLUSIVE: New dining room at Gravetye Manor opens up new demographic as F&B business booms

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The new botanical-inspired restaurant at Gravetye Manor has helped open up the luxury country house hotel to a new demographic and safeguarded the business for the ‘long term’.

Andrew Thomason, managing director at Gravetye Manor since 2012, told Boutique Hotelier that the launch of the iconic new glasshouse dining room last May has seen the property appeal to younger people, as well as striking a chord with foodies in the local area.

“More and more younger people are coming,” Thomason says. “Plus on Sundays and Mondays we are the only Michelin star restaurant open in Sussex so we get a lot of foodies come here. We are selling far more tasting menus too.”

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The Michelin-star restaurant is headed up by executive chef George Blogg, with the business mix now almost exactly 60% F&B and 40% bedrooms. Thomason explains that the 17-bed hotel is ‘very lucky’ that owners Jeremy and Elizabeth Hoskins, who bought the lease for the building in 2010, are investing in the long term.

“Really Gravetye reopened in May,” he adds, “as the same hotel but a new hotel, because the new dining space completely changed the dynamic. We are now safeguarded for the next ten years which was the strategy really – how do you keep Gravetye prominent and top of its game for the next ten years?

The 16th century hotel closed for three months in January 2018 to allow for construction of the new restaurant, with care taken to ensure the style and design fitted in with the Grade-listed building that first opened as a hotel in 1958.

The new space was designed by architect Sir Charles Knowles of Charles Knowles Design, with Nelson Design assisting with decorative finishes and artist Claire Basler creating iconic works of art.

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH ANDREW THOMASON AT GRAVETYE MANOR IN THE MARCH ISSUE HERE 

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Zoe Monk

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