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After a number of visits to the Isle of Wight, my wife and I came to love the place and, in 1996, decided to try and find a suitable hotel for our future trips to the Island. We had noticed The Royal Hotel in Ventnor, and watched it being transformed, over the years, from what had been a rundown Trusthouse Forte hotel, into a beautiful hotel that married modernity with the building’s original Victorian elegance. We planned an exploratory visit, and went for dinner at The Royal Hotel’s restaurant. So successful was the evening that we booked a holiday to the hotel for later that year, and we have been holidaying at The Royal ever since! Indeed, a quick count identifies over seventy-five visits, eighteen of which are family holidays at the hotel.
Over the years, we have seen the hotel continually update its facilities and décor, whilst maintaining the excellence of its services. From the moment we arrive to our very reluctant departure, it is just like visiting old friends and being made to feel completely at home. We have enjoyed so many marvellous occasions, filled with fun, laughter and wonderful memories.
The décor of the hotel, and comfort of the bedrooms, is first class. 
Service at the restaurant, brasserie and throughout the hotel is always carried out with friendly professionalism. Indeed, I think the continuity of established staff goes a long way towards maintaining the standard of excellence that is noticeable throughout the Hotel.
Quality and the choice of food from the varied menu, together with an extensive wine list, fully justifies the many accolades which the restaurant has received. Outside, the gardens surrounding the hotel are developed and maintained to a high standard, while the Riviera Terrace provides a quiet haven, with amazing views over Ventnor and the English Channel.
Overall, as we travel extensively, my wife and I continue to use The Royal as a high benchmark to evaluate the quality of hotels, wherever we are in the world. And we look forward to returning for many more happy visits.
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On Saturday evening, November 26, The Royal Hotel held its annual gala dinner for the Isle of Wight Youth Trust, a charity that supports local children suffering from challenging circumstances. Since the first Gala Dinner in 2009, this event has become a favourite with local celebrities including Youth Trust patrons Rob and Josie da Bank and Level 42 frontman, Mark King. Over the eight years that The Royal has been hosting this event, it has helped raise a staggering £310,000.

The funds raised supports professional, free counselling service the Youth Trust offers to Island children and Young people. Last year alone, more than 800 children and young people accessed this invaluable service.

Bestival organiser Rob Da Bank comments that,“the gala dinner at The Royal is such a treat…an incredible charity having loads of money raised for it in the luxurious environs of The Royal - I love that hotel, it feels like stepping back in time…just for the night!”.

The evening kicked off with a champagne and canapéreception, and after guests had enjoyed a splendid four-course meal accompanied by unlimited wine, they had the opportunity to bid for 'money can’t buy' prizes to raise money for the Trust. As Wightlink’s Mark Persad observes, “Donations from these gifts allow needy families to enjoy happier times.”

Thank you to the following businesses.

This fund raising gala dinner for the Youth Trust would not be possible without the generosity of local businesses. These include: Rebecca Ball – Hose Rhodes & Dickson Auction Rooms, Peter Tautz – Toastmaster, Wight & Wessex Wines, Isle of Wight County Press, Rob da Bank, Style of Wight, Widget Productions, Beardsalls, Galvin at Windows, Mike Thompson, Camp Bestival, Tapnell Farm, Ticketline, The Cabin, Wight Karting, The Garlic Farm, Ryde School, Mark Waldron & Linda Dennis, Ryde Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, PhysioCare and Sport Injury Clinic, Gianpaolo Mario Photography, High Adventure Paragliding,Lisa Heath Wearable Art, The Constant Doodler, Great Rail Journeys, Olivo Restaurants, Yoga with Emma, Land Rover BAR, Powered Now, Wine Therapy, Keats Cottage, Living Larder, Tipsy Wight, BeCalmed, Maplin, BAFTA.

Dinner pan fried pollock
Pollock fillets are an inexpensive, environmentally sound alternative to white fish such as cod and haddock. 

Did you know?
For those who regard cooking fish as difficult and demanding, frozen pollock is a gift. Delicately-flavored and fine-textured, frozen pollock is customarily cooked without thawing, making it easy for beginning fish cooks to handle. Pollock fillets - like almost all white fish - are too delicate to cook using low-fat methods such as broiling or grilling. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy pollock. 
With a few basic ingredients, some kitchen tools, and a little knowledge, you can turn pollock fillets into low-fat, delicious pan-fried fish.

Ingredients
To cook the beans
500ml water

300g borlotti beans
50g carrots
50g celery
50g onions
100g grilled streaky bacon
300ml Tomato sauce
50g pineapples
2g black pepper
14g salt
Bay leaf

Cook the beans in the water without any salt for about 15 minutes until they become soft, then strain and run under cold water to cool.
Sweat the vegetables and streaky bacon in a pan so light lightly colour. Add the pineapple, tomato sauce and seasoning.
Re-introduce the bean and leave to cool.
Chef’s recommendation: Best left chilled in the fridge before consumption.

Fishing
On the coast of a small island famous for its food, the Isle of Wight’s Royal Hotel restaurant constantly changes its menu to reflect the diversity of food on its doorstep. This hearty, seasonal and utterly delicious fare ranges from rich, creamy cheese to a rainbow of seafood, straight from the island’s clear waters.   

Local fisherman Justin provides the kitchens with fresh fish and lobster from Ventnor seafront. The morning’s catch makes its way straight from Justin’s boat to the kitchens, where the menu is written accordingly.

The Ventnor Haven Fishery supplies super-fresh crabs to the kitchen, the likes of which you’ll be hard pushed to find elsewhere in the British Isles! The Blake family have been fishing the seas off Ventnor Bay for decades and their fishery is a much loved destination for fish-lovers.

You may have heard of The Tomato Stall, or seen their award-winning products on your shop shelves. The company grows a huge range of sustainable tomatoes – which are all vine-ripened and picked by hand. As well as fresh toms, they make a fantastic range of juices, sauces and roasted tomatoes.

At the last count, the team at Living Larder is growing 52 different types of fruit and vegetables, some of them family favourites and others at the far end of diverse! Everything is grown outdoors and makes the most of the fantastic Isle of Wight climate – you’ll taste the difference in many of the hotel’s dishes.

The Boswell family has been growing garlic on the Isle of Wight ever since their Granny Norah planted the first few cloves in her garden over 40 years ago. Since then, The Garlic Farm has grown into one of the best known garlic suppliers in the UK. The Royal Hotel restaurant’s kitchens use the first-class bulbs wherever it can – they really are delicious!

The Mushroom Farmer grows a selection of exotic, gourmet mushrooms on the Isle of Wight. Their main varieties include Shiitake, Pink, Yellow and Grey Oysters, King Trumpet and Beech Mushroom. With occasional ‘guest’ mushrooms for people to try. So look out for some exciting fungus varieties on the hotel’s seasonal menus!

Finally, you can enjoy wonderful cheeses from the Isle of Wight Cheese Co. at the hotel. The dairy is based in converted barns, just inland of the south-eastern coast. They make Isle of Wight Blue and Isle of Wight Soft, as well as an unpasteurised cheddar type of cheese called Gallybagger.

pickled beetroot and goat's cheese
We believe in supporting the many superlative food producers here on the Isle of Wight, which not only cuts down food miles but guarantees we are using the freshest, most flavoursome ingredients in our kitchen.

This recipe, from The Royal, is a house favourite; it is made with goat’s cheese which has been made for thousands of years, and was probably one of the earliest made dairy products.

GOAT’S CHEESE MOUSSE
Ingredients:
300g Goats cheese/Cream cheese
1 clove of garlic
1 pinch of Cayenne pepper
1 pinch of salt
½ lemon (approx.)
2ooml cream
Method:
Chop the garlic with the salt until smooth. Blend the cheese in a blender until smooth. Add the garlic, cayenne
and lemon. 

PICKLED BEETROOT
Ingredients:
3 diced beetroot (1 cm cubes)
100g sliced shallots, 50g sugar
10 black pepper corns
1tsp coriander seeds
Sprig of thyme and tarragon
Sea salt, 400ml water
200ml olive oil
150ml white wine vinegar
150ml white wine
1 bay leaf
Method:
Put all of the ingredients in a pan, except the beetroot (all loose spices in a muslin bag). Bring to the boil, then
add the beetroot and simmer for 6-10 minutes keeping the beetroot al dente, take off the heat and chill.

Have fun and we hope you will enjoy your pickled beetroot dish!
strawberries_2

The hotel has been so called royal ever since Queen Victoria enjoyed taking afternoon tea at the hotel, whilst visiting her friend Sir John Hambrough, at nearby Steephill Castle. 

This fine tradition of a mid-afternoon spread, consisting of delicate pastries and miniature sandwiches,continues to this day, and The Royal excels in creating a high tea that is still fit for royalty. In the summer, our chefs use berries grown and picked from our own kitchen garden to make the strawberry jam that accompanies traditional scones and clotted cream. From plot to plate, you won’t find any fresher!


Strawberry jam 

  • 5kg strawberries
  • 20g pectin NH
  • 150g sugar
  • 500g glucose
  • 1550g sugar
  • 150g lemon juice

Method: Defrost the strawberries if you are using frozen ones, mix together the first stage sugar and pectin and add to the water, leave for 15 minutes and then add to the strawberries. Boil for 2minutes and then add the second stage sugar and glucose, cook out on a low heat for about 30 min stirring every now and then to make sure it is not sticking.The Jam should come up to 105c (Jam stage) if you don’t have a jam probe put a little in the fridge after 30 mins to see if it sets. Repeat this process until it sets


Royal Summer cocktail 

  • 2 strawberries (leave ½ for garnish)
  • 3 lemon wedges
  • Mint leaves
  • Crushed Ice

Method: In a cocktail shaker, muddle lemon wedges with whole strawberries and mint leaves. Add 25ml of Bacardi rum, fill with ice and shake well. Strain this into a highball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with half a strawberry and a sprig of mint.


Ventnor_Steephill
Ventnor & The Royal Hotel

My wife and I love the Isle of Wight, and have taken many short breaks (and some longer holidays) over the years.

We first discovered The Royal Hotel at Easter in 1982 - back when Lord Forte owned the hotel. Since then we have had many holidays on the Island, sometimes with long gaps in between whilst we travelled the world, but always returning to the Island - and The Royal. The hotel is in a wonderful setting, and provides great accommodation, service and food. The garden has always been a draw for us, and sitting on the veranda with an aperitif, before being called by Diane to go into the Appuldurcombe Room for a splendid three-course dinner, is simply the perfect way to end a day!

We have stayed at The Royal at many different times of the year, from New Year through the various holiday periods, such as Whitsun, Easter and Autumn. Probably our most memorable visits were in August, coinciding with Ventnor Carnival, Cowes Week, and the marvellous Chale Show. 

Held in a large field near the Military Road, the Chale show is a nostalgic take on traditional fetes, with everything from flower and cake stalls to “splat-a-rat” contests and ferret racing. There are old steam engines and vintage vehicles to admire, but also helicopter rides and motorcycle acrobatics, as well as animal shows in the arena. It all adds up to good old-fashioned fun, and a super day out for the family!

The Ventnor Carnival and firework display is another highlight of the summer calendar, and amongst the best I have ever seen. It is truly amazing what can be achieved by a small but enthusiastic team of locals! The floats are outstanding; with a different theme each year, there are always some highly imaginative designs and detailed costumes. The carnival takes place on a weekday, and is repeated on the next Saturday evening, illuminated by fairy lights, which is just spectacular. Fireworks from the pier follow, and we like to watch these from the hotel’s Riviera Terrace for the best view. As the Carnival ends near The Royal, its leaders and organisers often drop into the bar afterwards to quench their thirst and round off the evening with an impromptu party. It really is a great evening of local entertainment.

An excellent place to watch the yacht racing during Cowes Week is Gurnard promenade. You can park on the road beside the seafront, sit on the sea wall or shingle beach, and enjoy a ringside seat to all the action on the water. We like to take a packed lunch and refreshments, but you can walk into Cowes past the starting canons outside the Royal Yacht Squadron. Whilst these look very shiny and decorative, they are used throughout the day to start and finish all the races, to deafening effect!

Other Attractions
If you have any time left during your stay, the Isle of Wight Zoo, and Dinosaur Museum in Sandown are both well worth visiting. Godshill Model Village and the IOW Pearl showroom both make  fascinating trips too. Closer to home, Ventnor Botanic Gardens is just a short stroll from the hotel and features some amazing plant species that you would normally only see in hotter climates like the Canary Islands or Amazon jungle! A favourite haunt of mine in Ventnor is nearby Steephill Cove, where I like to treat myself to a fresh crab lunch, and walk back along the paths behind the cove, before heading onto the coastal road to return via Ventnor Park.

In the hotel’s own grounds, The Royal’s swimming pool is a favourite of visiting children. Rain or shine, the pool’s water is always heated, so parents can sit back and relax in the garden, whilst the kids splash to their heart’s content! 
I cannot recommend a stay at The Royal highly enough. Perhaps I will even meet you on their veranda one day, enjoying a pre-dinner drink or afternoon tea. I shall definitely be there again soon myself.

Cheers!

T.C. 

seafood risotto Cook The Royal’s seafood risotto recipe
At our recent Gastronomic Weekend, guests enjoyed guided tours around an Isle of Wight farm and brewery, met passionate local food producers, and were treated to a wealth of fine dining in our award-winning Appuldurcombe Restaurant.

But a highlight for many of these gastronauts were the cookery demonstrations hosted by our talented chefs. After showing guests how to fillet a sea bass, sous chef, Jon Paul Carlo, made a delectable seafood risotto, incorporating fresh crab alongside other locally caught fish. Crab meat adds a luxurious depth of flavour to this deceptively simple dish, and elevates a comforting mid-week supper to a dinner party delight. We are fortunate, here on the Isle of Wight, to be able to source fresh crab and seafood from the richly stocked seas around our shores, but if you are unable to find fresh crab, simply use a selection of seafood from your local fishmonger.

If you would like to see our chefs in action, why not book onto our next Kitchen Experience, which includes a morning’s workshop in the hotel kitchens, followed by a three-course meal in our Appuldurcombe Restaurant. This also makes a fantastic gift for a foodie friend.

In the meantime, you can cook our popular seafood risotto at home, following our head chef Steve Harris’s recipe below:

SEAFOOD RISOTTO, WITH VENTNOR BAY CRAB, TOMATO AND CHERVIL

Ingredients for 4-6 people

1 tablespoon olive oil
300g risotto rice, such as arborio (roughly 50g rice per person)
120 ml dry white wine
900-1350 ml fish stock (about 225ml per 50g of rice)
Selection of diced fish and fresh crab (110g raw fish per portion)
25g parmesan cheese, grated
50g unsalted butter
80g chopped parsley
Salt, to taste
Lemon quarters

To garnish
Fresh chervil
Tomato, chopped finely

Method

Warm a slug of olive oil in a saucepan, then add the rice, and stir to coat each strand in the oil.
After a few minutes, pour in the wine and allow the rice grains to absorb the liquid by stirring every couple of minutes.
Start to add the fish stock a little at a time, until the rice is almost cooked.
At this point, add the diced fish and a little grated parmesan and butter. Keep stirring until the fish is cooked through.
Finally, add the parsley, and season with salt and a squeeze of lemon to taste.
Allow the risotto to rest for two minutes, to ensure that the rice absorbs any surplus liquid before serving.
Garnish with fresh chervil and diced tomatoes.

tom2
Island Producers - Gastronomic Weekend

Our Gastronomic Weekend promises a unique insight into the Island’s food scene. 

Less than an hour’s sailing on the ferry from Southampton, the Isle of Wight makes an ideal weekend getaway. Just a few miles off the Hampshire coastline, but a world away from the hustle and bustle of the mainland, visitors are transported across the Solent to a twenty-three mile wide slice of sunshine and laid-back charm. With its stunning beaches, legendary music festivals and world-class sailing, it’s no surprise that the Island has been a favourite holiday destination for decades.

On the Island’s south-eastern shores, Ventnor has been home to the historic Royal Hotel since 1832. Once frequented by Queen Victoria, the hotel’s restaurant has featured in the Michelin dining guide ever since its inception, and has held two rosettes from the Automobile Association for over eighteen consecutive years. Owner William Bailey says of the hotel’s gourmet reputation 

“Dining at The Royal is always a highlight for our guests, and we are proud to support local farmers and food producers. Thanks to the Isle of Wight’s mild climate, there is a wealth of superb homegrown produce, including locally caught fish, crab and lobster, award-winning cheeses, free-range meats, and game, when in season”. 

To celebrate the Island’s fantastic food scene, The Royal has organised a Gastronomic Weekend on 22nd April, introducing guests to some of its favourite suppliers. Tours of The Garlic Farm and 

Goddards Brewery are followed by a cookery demonstration in the hotel kitchens, and tasting sessions with The Tomato Stall and Isle of Wight Distillery. There is also the chance to meet fruit and vegetable growers from nearby family-run farm Living Larder, and enjoy three-course gourmet dining in the sumptuous setting of the hotel restaurant.

As the first event of its kind on the Island, April’s event was an instant sell out, but there are already plans for a similar foodie event to be held in the Autumn.
Di and Ann
We were thrilled with the reaction to our first edition of the Royal Hotel’s newsletter, and have enjoyed reading the many reviews that have flooded in. It is hugely important to us to communicate well with our customers, and we are delighted that so many of you enjoy hearing our news too. From special offers and upcoming events, to our favourite local haunts and housekeeping tips, we aim to share with our loyal guests regular updates from the Royal.
One particularly popular article was the interview with Di and Anne, our longest serving staff at The Royal:
Working as hostess, and chef de rang, Di Andrews and Anne Dixon are our longest serving staff members, with a total of forty-four years of experience at the hotel between them - although, as Di laughs, “I only agreed to work one shift as a favour…and twenty three years later I’m still here!”. She’s clearly doing something right, so we asked her and Anne about their experiences of service at Christmas is the time of magic and sparkle and what better place to enjoy all of that festivity than here at The Royal.

The interview continues here, in the full online version of the newsletter. Do tell us what your favourite feature is, and what you would like to see in future editions. We are always pleased to please!