Enterprising business couple Mark and Andrea Bartlett say their plan to spend a ’six-figure sum’ on developing an island hostelry is a vote of confidence in the island’s hospitality sector.
The husband and wife are the new owners of the Shore Hotel in Laxey.
They told Business News that the recent ’phase one’ refurbishment of the pub has been a ’real community team effort’ using local traders who have done a great job.
And among those who have been lending their support has been long-time landlord Paul Phillips who has since retired. The couple said he had offered vital advice.
Now they have unveiled plans to demolish the rear extension replacing it with a six-bedroom boutique hotel and a 42-seater restaurant.
If the planning application is approved the Bartletts aim to have everything open for business in the summer of 2022.
The Shore was bought by the couple through their Ballasalla-based company BBG Limited.
Mr Bartlett, 56, is best known in the island as the chief executive of the global kettle safety control business Strix and he stresses that his role there will be unaffected by the new venture.
Mrs Bartlett 50, is very much at the helm of the operation.
The couple revealed how a dog walk led them on a trail of snapping up the pub which dates back to 1837 in Old Laxey.
Last summer they took their bichon frise pet Mia on a stroll through the village and remarked at the time how much they loved the Shore Hotel and felt it was ’something special’ nestled at the bottom of the hill.
Then purely by coincidence they took a similar walk in the same area a week later and saw the inn had been put up for sale.
The proposals include protections such as flood resistant doors and barriers.
Mr and Mrs Bartlett stress the ’six-figure’ refurbishment represents an investment in the tourism sector. They say the extension would have no adverse impact on the surrounding area.
The pub was opened ’informally’ last week. Lieutenant governor Sir Richard Gozney and Lady Gozney popped in on Friday night.
Mrs Bartlett, whose business experience is in human resources, said after opening the pub to customers: ’It’s been a bit of a baptism of fire but we are loving the challenge.’
She added that although they had never owned a pub before they have built up many ideas after travelling around the world staying in lots of hotels.
They want to make it an enjoyable and welcoming experience for people when they visit the Shore.
Mr and Mrs Bartlett said the building is a landmark in Laxey and the plans for future development recognise it is an investment in the future of tourism in the island.
’We are working with local architects to plan phase two for the hotel and restaurant.
Mrs Bartlett said she ’could not be more pleased’ with the response from the community.
’We have been made welcome and they have been so supportive.
’We feel we have been blessed and humbled to be in the position to be doing this.’