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1000 Reviews & 30 Years of Family Ownership

Melville Hall Hotel Sandown 1986 Melville Hall Hotel
 Melville Hall Hotel 1986  ...and 30 year on...


One Thousand Reviews and Thirty Years Family Ownership of Island Hotel

This month (February) saw Melville Hall Hotel in Sandown receive its one thousandth review on TripAdvisor, making it the first hotel on the Isle of Wight to reach this milestone.

Mrs Purkis from Eastleigh, who had placed the five star review, was contacted by the hotel and thrilled to hear she was invited back for a completely free ferry inclusive spa break to mark the achievement. She had taken a short break last month including two treatments in the hotel’s Utopia Spa and this was the first review she had posted on TripAdvisor.


Lyn Ken Wells Melville Hall Hotel

Ken & Lyn Wells 1989 opening the newly
Palm Court Restaurant

This year also marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Wells family purchasing Melville Hall as their first business on the Island. Back in 1986 Melville Hall was a 39 bedroom hotel with just 21 en-suite rooms, the only leisure facilities being an ageing outdoor pool. Over the years Ken Wells has refurbished the hotel several times catering for the changing trends in business. The spacious public areas with sliding doors that once allowed for functions of up to 300 guests now form the treatment rooms and indoor leisure facilities of Utopia Spa. Ironically the installation of the indoor facilities for the spa resulted in the hotel’s first TripAdvisor review on 2nd September 2003, a scathing score of 1 out of 5 because workmen were carrying out maintenance work and building rubble and equipment were still evident in the grounds – no appreciation for the beautiful new facilities.

After many years of successful trading Ken went on to purchase Luccombe Hall Hotel in Shanklin in 2002, then Chine Court Hotel in 2007 – renamed Luccombe Manor and sharing the same clifftop grounds as Luccombe Hall. In 2009 he purchased the Burlington Hotel in Shanklin which, seeing a trend towards luxury self-catering breaks, he converted into eight contemporary holiday lets trading as Shanklin Villa Apartments.

Thirty years on, Ken is proud that the hotel continues to be under his family’s management with daughter Clare, now based at Luccombe Hall, having worked all her life for the family business – starting at a young age by collecting the daily newspapers for the hotel guests in exchange for her pocket money and now being a co-owner. Over the years both of Ken’s sons have spent time working and managing within the businesses. Even one of his nine grandchildren spent some years working on reception at Melville Hall.

In addition to Clare, Ken is delighted that some of his original team from 1986, or thereabouts, are still working for him, most notably Noel Rowlands, bar manager, who was working at the hotel before Ken and family moved to the Island.

Ken’s work is not yet done. Melville Hall is now starting another two year refurbishment programme to give the hotel a more contemporary environment in line with its clientele.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight said: “It’s great to see the Melville Hall Hotel gaining such well-deserved praise on TripAdvisor.

“The excellent feedback is a true testament to the dedication and hard work carried out by Ken and his team whose focus is to deliver a great service to their customers.”






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