Monkey Island Estate
YTL Hotels UK’s newest property, Monkey Island Estate, has opened in the historic village of Bray-on-Thames, Berkshire. The island, with an intriguing history dating back 800 years, has been the haunt of monarchs, aristocrats and artists, along with writers, famous performers and Berkshire locals.
Following YTL’s superb renovation of The Monkey Island estate, visitors from London and beyond will yet again have their very own private countryside escape to enjoy. The striking white bricked Pavilion and Temple buildings now make up the main hotel areas of YTL’s Monkey Island Estate, surrounded by picturesque views of the River Thames and beautifully manicured gardens.
Set across seven acres, the restored Monkey Island consists of 38 bedrooms and three deluxe suites, all designed by the award-winning New York-based Champalimaud Design, who have orchestrated distinctive interior design projects for YTL’s first British property, The Gainsborough Bath Spa, as well as Green Leaf Niseko Village and the most recently launched Ritz Carlton, Koh Samui. The furnishings of Monkey Island juxtapose timeless glamour and traditional features with a modern, relaxed countryside style, creating a unique blend of past and present.
Monkey Island is the perfect retreat for those wanting to take a foodie pilgrimage to the culinary excellence of Bray. The only village in the world that lays claim to three Michelin-starred restaurants, including Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck, Bray has long been a destination for gastronomic-enthusiasts. Monkey Island is also making its own mark on the area with the relaxed Monkey Island Brasserie serving up modern British cuisine.
Chef Will Hemming brings his years of expertise and love of local produce to the menu at Monkey Island. Having grown up in rural Wales, Hemming has developed a real passion and respect for the provenance of British produce. He is excited to work alongside British farmers and local Berkshire and Bray producers to incorporate their produce into his dishes. Menu highlights include smoked salmon, smoked on the grounds of the Estate in the custom-built hickory smoke-house; slow-cooked Welsh lamb rump and for those with a sweet tooth, his renowned Monkey Shoulder Cranachan.
Of the appointment, Chef Hemming commented: “I am thrilled to be joining the YTL Hotels team and am eager to put The Monkey Island Brassiere on the culinary map of Bray-on-Thames for both local residents and guests to experience. Bray is already famed for its impressive array of gourmet offerings, but we plan to offer sophisticated yet informal dining, an experience that Bray currently doesn’t have.”
Steeped in stylish yet laidback luxury, Monkey Island is the perfect spot for weekend escapes from the city, weddings and romantic breaks. For those who want to enjoy Bray-on-Thames in comfort and style, Monkey Island will be the ideal retreat to experience the rejuvenation of this historic landmark to its full former glory.
Having recently completed two years as Food & Beverages Director of The Savoy in London, Lee Kelly has been appointed as General Manager of Monkey Island. He is passionate about delivering the absolute best guest experience on a daily basis, and ensuring positive and productive relationships with suppliers, partners and employees are all maintained.
As a previous director of an extensive food and Beverage operation at The Savoy, Kelly is looking forward to transferring his skills over to the full responsibility of every aspect of Monkey Island, from accommodation to guest services and of course, the grand event space, brasserie and bar.
He commented: “I am so delighted to be taking this step with YTL Hotels – a renowned and respected hotel group across not only Asia, but now the UK and Europe. Bray is such a beautiful part of the world, and famed for its culinary offerings – I can’t wait to explore what we can add to this as a five-star hotel and how we can make our own mark.”