Giles Fuchs admits the first glimpse gets him every time. “You know when you come into Bigbury-on-Sea, just over the brow of the hill and you see the island? That just does it for me – a huge smile comes over my face. We are so lucky.”
Entrepreneur Giles bought Burgh Island Hotel in 2018, after seeing a picture of it and falling in love with one of Devon’s most remarkable buildings.
Built-in the Art Deco style in 1927 by filmmaker Archibald Nettlefold, the opulent hotel quickly became known as ‘the best hotel west of the Ritz’, and has a reputation for decades of decadence.
It famously became Queen of Crime Agatha Christie’s bolthole and inspired the settings for two of her novels, And Then There Were None and Evil Under the Sun.
The Beatles, Winston Churchill and Noel Coward are just a few of the other famous names who have made the journey across the water to stay on Burgh Island. Giles, who owns and runs a serviced office business in London, says he was immediately hooked by the appearance, location and history of the building – which he’d never heard of before.
“It’s bizarre but it’s true,” he says, describing the moment he was shown an image of Burgh Island over coffee with businessman Duncan Gray, who was planning to buy hotels.
“He said he was buying this island in Devon and I just went: wow! Can I get involved? He said no; he was fully funded. A week later, Duncan rang me and asked if I was still interested and I said: Yes, I’ll buy it. It was a no brainer. I’d just fallen in love with it.”
As a teenager, Giles failed his A-Levels before turning up on the doorstep of an estate agency and asking for a job.
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