"You walk in and your heart jumps because it's so beautiful," enthuses Sara Curran, the new owner of a boutique hotel which reopens in Cowes at the end of this month.

The media executive is brimming with excitement as she prepares to welcome guests through the (Grade II listed) doors of historic North House, on Sun Hill.

Working together with her film producer husband, Peter and their partner, Michelin starred Robert Thompson (Chef Patron), their love for the 14-bedroom business is infectious.

Their aim is to create an 'open and friendly' hotel with fine dining, an accessible brasserie and breakfasts, for both Islanders and hotel guests.

"North House is in the heart of Cowes and we used to come here all the time.

"If they told us we had to be out in a hour, we'd eat really quickly," laughs Sara.

"We want the people of Cowes to come - that's part of the reason for opening for breakfast."

North House's future was uncertain when, in 2021, its former owners opted to concentrate on their other ventures.

It was the hotel Judi Dench stayed in while filming Victoria and Abdul at Osborne and luckily, fate played a hand.

Just two years after moving along the coast from Fishbourne, Sara and Peter were in prime position to take it on.

Isle of Wight County Press: North House in Cowes.North House in Cowes.

"I turned to Peter and said, "It's just magical. It's a gem,"" recalls Sara.

"The pool, the gardens, the terrace, the stripped floor boards, the bespoke Farrow and Ball paint...We haven't changed anything apart from the kitchen.

"Robert's style is to have a open kitchen, so we've taken down a wall.

"We want people to see him, because he's the star of the show as far as I am concerned."

The couple are self confessed foodies and the nature of their work means they are also experienced hotel guests...ergo, they know exactly they want to offer.

"The challenge will be to deliver top level service all the time and we'll hold back rooms to do it."

A key factor is what Robert Thompson brings to the enterprise.

Read more: When Thompson's was rated top Isle of Wight restaurant for Valentine's Day

From his acclaimed arrival on the Island, through to the opening of Thompson's in Newport, Sara and Peter have been fans.

"When one of our neighbours called us and said "Would you like to talk to Robert Thompson?", I said "Would Robert like to talk to us?" We had one Zoom and that was it - Robert was all in!"

"It was a done deal," agrees Robert, who has now closed Thompson's and plans to use the Town Lane building as a base for his successful fine dining 'delivered in a box' business.

"We are aiming to grow North House and UB Chef together and we see a lot of synergy between them.

"Our guests can stay here and have a beautiful meal, stay in a beautiful room, have amazing service and then, if they want a little piece of North House when they go home, they can have it, with UB Chef."

(Think of it as a mouthwatering alternative to an emailed newsletter, delivering a taste of the Isle of Wight to wherever it is needed.)

Sara said: "Cowes has gone from strength to strength, despite the pandemic. There are more shops, bars and restaurants. It's humming.

"We can't think of anywhere else in the world we'd rather live. We love the vibrancy.

"It's really nice to add to that, retaining North House as a hotel, making sure it wasn't developed into anything else.

"The fine dining will be in the evening, on certain nights of the week.

"The rest of the time, it's going to be a beautiful brasserie with influences from Spain, France and Italy.

"There are so many good restaurants in Cowes and we eat out a lot

"There's no point in us going head-to-head. There needs to be variety."

Robert reveals plans for Cowes hotel eating

Robert's food will reflect the space it is being served in, delivered by him and many members of his existing team, along with others, currently being recruited.

He says North House is 'incredible' and a 'perfect mix' of multi-level dining.

Read more: AA awards Thompson's two rosettes

Read more: When Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes dined with Robert Thompson

"Thompson's was a special occasion place.

"At North House, guests might turn up for some drinks and you can send them a lovely little plate of Iberico ham, or they might come for an all-singing-all-dancing menu and stay a night.

Isle of Wight County Press: Robert Thompson outside North House.Robert Thompson outside North House.

"This place has got everything and for me it's a fantastic progression. It continues my Isle of Wight adventure."

Life beside the sea is 'calming' and it inspires Robert's food.

He thinks he could 'grow old' at North House and has even moved in bespoke solid oak dining tables, complete with individual cutlery drawers, crafted by his dad.

North House reopens at the end of April, but already has bookings for December.

A new online reservation system is being developed.

In the meantime, be patient and we will come back to you, Sara promises.

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