Monkey Island Estate, Bray, United Kingdom hotel reviews

The island has always attracted well-known and well-connected people, its appeal of former visitors including King Edward VII, Siegfried Sassoon, HG Wells and lover Rebecca West (whose 1918 novel The Return of the Soldier centered on a case on Monkey Island), and singers Clara Butt and Dame Nellie Melba, while racing driver Stirling Moss and, going back further, 17th-century composer Sir Edward Elgar stayed in the private residences, Elgar writing some of his most famous concertos there.

The backstory

The original temple and pavilion buildings were built in the late 1730s, apparently on the rubble of the Great Fire of London, as a pavilion and fishing ground, respectively, for Charles Spencer, third Duke of Marlborough, resident of the Palace of Blenheim and distant relative. to Sir Winston Churchill and Princess Diana (we can also thank him for the Langley Hotel in Buckinghamshire, originally built as his hunting lodge).

It is said that the rather misleading name of Monkey Island is due either to the monks of the nearby monastery who liked to picnic on the land in the 10th century, or because in the early 18th century it became fashionable to paint monkeys like humans and lots. were painted there – or both. Either way, you won’t find any monkeys here.

Monkey Island Estate, Bray

The 1960s later saw the island, and Bray itself, become the center of the party, with parties such as the Oxfam Ball in 1964 attracting 1,400 guests and being widely reported in Tatler – although apparently like some sort of perma-Burning Man festival, being on the Monkey Island estate was much more about the events than you doesn’t talk afterwards.

Fast forward to 2015 when the current owners of YTL took it over – the imposing statue in front of the hotel is the late Yeoh Tiong Lay, founder of the family business, who visited the then slightly dilapidated estate in 2014 and, excited about its potential, broke it. YTL Hotels (also owners of Gainsborough Bath Spa and Thermae Spa) then spent four years and several million pounds refurbishing each room and adding sparkling new features.

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