Champalimaud Design creates country house feel for Monkey Island Estate at the heart of foodie country

It was through this project and others like it, that we learned that sustainable design can take many forms and doesn’t have to be explored through conventional definitions
– Ed Bakos, MD, Champalimaud Designs

Monkey Island Estate has opened in Bray-on-Thames, England, with interiors by New York-based Champalimaud Design.

Part of the Malaysian hotel group, YTL Hotels, the historic estate is set across seven acres on an island in the River Thames, with a rich history dating back 800 years.

Monkey Island was bought by YTL Hotels in 2015, after the late YTL founder Yeoh Tiong Lay visited and fell in love with the property.

The hotel has 27 bedrooms and three suites, as well as a range of dining options, including the Monkey Island Brasseries, with vaulted ceilings and an open kitchen, The Monkey Bar with garden terrace and The Monkey Room, which has a Grade 1 listed, 17th century frescoed ceiling.

A secret staircase leads to a Whisky Snug above The Monkey Room

Champalimaud have created a ‘contemporary, English country house feel’ for the new YTL property, with custom furnishings and rooms with views over the Thames.

Speaking to CLAD, Champalimaud's MD, Ed Bakos, said: "The furnishings of Monkey Island juxtapose timeless glamour and traditional features with a modern, relaxed countryside style, creating a unique blend of past and present.

"Monkey Island, was a complex renovation of a listed heritage building and we had to keep construction and construction waste to a minimum.

"It was through this project and others like it, that we learned that sustainable design can take many forms and doesn’t have to be explored through conventional definitions.

The hotel also features a Floating Spa on a bespoke crafted barge with three treatment rooms, a themed wheelhouse reception, and an Elixir Bar.

Inspired by monks who once inhabited the island, the treatments and spa experiences have been choreographed to fit the setting and concept.

Each spa treatment begins with a sensory ritual and ‘Elixir Tasting’ of one of the monk-brewed ancient herbal tonics.

The spa is peppered with touchpoints that celebrate the power of water, taking guests on holistic voyages through the history of the island and the River Thames.

YTL has partnered with British spa brand Moss of the Isles to create the bespoke treatments.

The nearby village of Bray is famous for its gastronomic credentials, with restaurants boasting seven Michelin stars between them, including two of Britain’s five three-Michelin-star restaurants – Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck and Alain Roux's Waterside Inn. Other highlights include Caldesi in Campagna and Heston's other operations – The Hind’s Head and The Crown.

Monkey Island Estate is the latest addition to YTL Hotels’ growing UK portfolio, a collection of hotels which already includes The Gainsborough Bath Spa, Threadneedles, The Glasshouse, and The Academy.

THE HISTORY OF MONKEY ISLAND

Charles Spencer, the 3rd Duke of Malborough, bought the land in 1723 to create an angling retreat, and commissioned two buildings from architect Robert Morris; a Fishing Temple and a two-storey Fishing Pavilion.

By 1840, the pavilion had become an inn; over the years the estate hosted famous guests including Edward VII, HG Wells, Siegfried Sassoon, and Edward Elgar.

YTL Hotels  Monkey Island Estate  floating spa 
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FEATURE: Top Team – YTL Hotels

Monkey Island Estate has opened in Bray-on-Thames, England, with interiors by New York-based Champalimaud Design. Part of the Malaysian hotel group, YTL Hotels, the historic estate is set across seven acres on an island in the River Thames, with a rich history dating back 800 years. Monkey Island was bought by YTL Hotels in 2015, after the late YTL founder Yeoh Tiong Lay visited and fell in love with the
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17th Century, Grade 1 listed frescoes have been restored
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