Local businessman and chef, Robert Thompson, who is also a tourism ambassador for the Isle of Wight, has made a shock announcement today that he is set to leave the Island, selling The Hambrough Group in the process.
The announcement comes after questions have been raised recently about the future of Ventnor Winter Gardens, which was acquired by the group two years ago. Since the acquisition, no work has begun on the project to transform the former glorious theatre into a 34-room hotel.
Back in October last year, Visit Isle of Wight named Thompson as an ambassador for the Island, in which he was set to lead the way in attracting tourism to the Isle of Wight on a nation-wide scale.
A statement from Robert Thompson explains that he is seeking a new challenge, but no information is given as to why he is leaving the Island and his role as an ambassador so suddenly.
It has been revealed that Chef John Campbell is making a sensational return to the hotel and restaurant scene following a 17-month hiatus.
The former two-Michelin-starred chef, who left Coworth Park in Ascot, Berkshire in November 2011, has now acquired The Hambrough in Ventnor.
Under his new business, John Campbell Restaurants, the double Catey Award-winning chef will oversee the food and beverage outlets and the accommodation at the one-Michelin-starred property.
The portfolio at The Hambrough includes the seven-bedroom hotel and 38-seat restaurant, The Villa Lavinia (a five bedroom villa and a two bedroom apartment), and The Pond Café (an Italian-influenced restaurant with 30 covers).
The deal also sees Campbell taking over the redevelopment of the Ventnor Winter Gardens project, incorporating a 34 bedroom hotel, food and beverage outlets and a 400 seat auditorium.
Olly Rouse, Campbell’s former head chef at restaurant John Campbell at Coworth Park, which held one Michelin star, will be heading up the team at The Hambrough.