England's Scilly Isles Just Got Some Unlikely Karma
August 21, 2014 at 9:39 AM
Bali. Lombok. Mykonos. St Tropez. Isles of Scilly. WTF?
In what appears at first glance to be the most bizarre new opening on earth, Karma Resorts, which own three hotels on Bali, and one in each of Lombok, Mykonos and St Tropez, have just soft opened their newest property: Karma St Martin’s, in the Scilly Isles, with 30 rooms spread out in a row of little cottages, right on the beach.
If you don’t know where the Scillies are – and why should you? – they’re a tiny archipelago of islands 28 miles off the southwest tip of Cornwall – which is itself the southwest tip of England. There are 145 islands, but only five are inhabited. St Martin’s, which earned its Karma on 1 August, is the third highest populated island, with 142 people living on its two square-kilometer area. Karma is the former St Martin's on the Isle hotel, sitting plum on Tean Sound and overlooking another island, Tresco.
Of course, there are similarities with Bali – the Scillies have white sand beaches, their own microclimate, and are a bugger to get to (ferry or a tiny plane from various points in Cornwall). But Karma is gunning for the same clientele, too – according to big Karma man John Spence, who talked to Scilly Today, they’re going after “affluent adults” who backpacked their way around Bali etc a while back, but now want spectacular scenery, beaches and high standard accommodation closer to home.
Some might say that already exists in Cornwall (probably the poshest vacation destination in the UK) but he has a point – and if he really can attract people to St Martin’s, he’ll transform the island, as it currently only lists B&Bs, self-catering cottages and a campsite as accommodation options.
Predictably, Scilly Today says that some locals have already objected to Indian food on the menu (way to go, little islanders! Never let anyone thing the southwest of England is parochial). Spence says that the menu will be a mix of locally sourced food and Asian dishes, for the clients he’s hoping to bring over from Singapore and Mumbai.
Karma St Martin’s is in soft open mode until 31 October to let
locals the staff adjust, before undergoing winter renovations to add a spa and kids’ club, with rooms to be redone as per the “five star hippy” Karma ethos. There's currently a special offer of two nights B&B, plus two 30 minute massages, for £149. We suggest you go now, because that is an insanely good rate for the Isles of Scilly - prices should at least double for the official opening next year.
Having said that, we can't wait to see what they do with it.
[Photo of Karma as the St Martin's on the Isle Hotel: Scilly Pictorial. Beach: Karma Resorts.]