Work to modernise the former Thorley Taverns’ hotel on Ramsgate’s Harbour Parade includes a nod to its history by reverting back to the Royal Oak Hotel name.
The 34 bedroom venue has been taken on by Margate dad-of-three Stefano Draper who has completed the façade and is working through a refresh of the interiors.
The function room and bar with a balcony overlooking the harbour is open to all on Friday through to Sunday and there are plans to introduce Sunday afternoon teas, a range of events and Stefano is also offering the facilities for chefs to have pop-up nights.
The 48-year-old is no stranger to the hospitality trade having previously owned the Dalby Rooms between 2016 and 2018.
Stefano said: “This is three times the size of my old hotel but it has been well maintained, it was tired but I’m hoping to give it a new lease of life.
“We are bringing it a bit more into the modern age, including with our booking systems and housekeeping apps.
“We have done the front and we are in the process of a programme of works starting with the front, sea view rooms and working our way back.
“We have gone with blue as it is a bit more regal and it gives it an update. We have gone back to the Royal Oak Hotel, being on the marina and harbour it has to be that name.”
Stefano plans to return to the 1930’s style signage which once ran across the front of the Grade II listed property.
The site was known as the Royal Oak Hotel and Royal Oak Tap from 1828 up until the change to Oak Hotel in around 2018. The premises was a Thorley Tavern site up until its sale to Thanet businessman Dayne Gooding last October.
Stefano and daughter Jasmin, who is helping to run the business, have taken on around 10 staff for the venture and say working alongside other independents is a positive experience.
Stefano, who was in the Army Reserves during the pandemic and manned the testing station at the port, said: “There are now four new owners on the seafront, all trying to make a go of something and make the harbour area great.
“Ramsgate is a holiday destination, it isn’t just contractors here Monday to Friday, and there a shortage of accommodation.
“Our bookings have been going through the roof.”
The hotel will be busy with veterans this weekend who are in town for Armed Forces Day tomorrow (June 24) and on Sunday there will be a DJ event in the main bar which is open to the public as well as guests.
Stefano is urging any chefs who would like to host a pop-up at the venue to get in touch.
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