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Today’s news in brief – 17/5/24

Bovey Castle, an esteemed 60-room manor in Dartmoor National Park, has finished its Kitchen Garden after six months of development. The 1,400 sq m garden will supply fresh produce, including herbs, vegetables, and edible flowers, to its restaurants, the 3 AA Rosette Great Western Grill and 1 AA Rosette Smith’s Brasserie. The garden features diverse plantings, including vegetable, cut flower, potager, soft fruit, and salad beds, along with greenhouses and a polytunnel. Visitors can explore the garden and enjoy drinks and canapés, with plans for horticulture-inspired activities such as garden tours. Head of estates John Mann emphasised the project’s sustainable focus, reducing food miles and promoting a farm-to-table ethos for guests.

Cumbria Tourism’s latest Business Tourism Tracker indicates a positive trend for Cumbrian hospitality businesses, with 39% reporting increased bookings for June 2024. This optimism has bolstered confidence, with 93% of business owners feeling secure about their future, up from 89% six months ago. Additionally, 43% of businesses reported higher turnover, and 28% saw increased profits. This improvement aligns with Visit Britain’s forecast of 39.5 million overseas visitors to the UK in 2024, a 4.5% increase from the previous year, contributing an estimated £34.1bn to the economy. Despite these gains, challenges such as rising costs and recruitment issues persist. Cumbria tourism managing director Gill Haigh and Alasdair Swan from The Cumberland Building Society recognize the sector’s struggles but note the encouraging signs as summer approaches.

Bugis Kitchen has opened in the Copthorne Tara Hotel London Kensington, inspired by Singapore’s vibrant culinary scene. The restaurant offers a modern twist on traditional Singaporean dishes like laksa, Hainanese chicken rice, and fried wontons, reflecting a fusion of Pan Asian flavours. Inspired by Singapore’s hawker centres, Bugis Kitchen aims to recreate the bustling street food experience indoors. The Copthorne Tara Hotel also offers afternoon tea in Kensington’s only Tea Lounge and various English dishes at its Brasserie Restaurant and Bar. The hotel features 833 rooms, including suites and family suites. General manager Philip Bell highlights the restaurant’s blend of tradition and innovation, promising bold and aromatic flavours crafted with fresh ingredients.

Hilton’s premium economy brand, Spark by Hilton, will launch its first European hotel, Spark by Hilton London Romford, in East London. This 125-room property is part of a franchise agreement with Romford South Ltd. Spark by Hilton, the fastest announcement-to-market brand in Hilton’s history, first launched in 2023 and has since expanded to over 30 operating hotels with 175 more in development. Patrick Fitzgibbon, Hilton’s SVP of development EMEA, and Alissa Klees, Spark by Hilton’s brand leader, expressed enthusiasm about bringing the brand to Europe. They emphasised Spark’s commitment to providing value and reliable service for guests, aiming to redefine the premium economy segment.


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