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Royal Garden hotel to close until 2022 with over 250 redundancies

10 December 2020 by
Royal Garden hotel to close until 2022 with over 250 redundancies

The Royal Garden hotel in London's Kensington will remain closed until at least January 2022 with more than 250 roles made redundant, including executive chef of nearly 25 years Steve Munkley.

The property's three-AA-rosette Min Jiang restaurant on the top floor of the hotel will remain open and operate a collection service.

General manager Oliver Bateman said: "It is an extremely difficult time for the hospitality industry and, of course, a sad time for our loyal workforce. Nevertheless, I am pleased Min Jiang will remain open, where we have seen our regular customers return following both lockdowns.

"We will now take this opportunity to evaluate our product and services ready to reopen in 2022 for the modern day business and leisure traveller. I am optimistic the improvements we make will provide a better experience for new guests and familiar faces alike."

The five-red-AA-star, 394-bedroom property, owned by the Singapore-based Goodwood Group, has become known over the years for its staff retention and long-serving individuals, including Munkley.

Munkley joined the venue in 1996 having previously worked as executive chef at the London Kensington Hilton and is a well-respected member of the industry and supporter of chef education through his other roles, including chef-director of the International Salon Culinaire at the Hotel, Restaurant and Catering Show, vice-president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, and founder of the Craft Guild's Graduate Awards.

The Royal Garden hotel opened in 1965 under the Oddeninos Hotels banner. Located alongside Kensington Palace, it hosted the England football team on winning the World Cup in 1966.

Taken over by Rank Organisation in the 1970s, in 1996 it was bought by Tan Sri Khoo Teck Puat, chairman of the Goodwood Group, which operates two hotels in Singapore. When he died in 2003, his eldest daughter, Mavis Oei, stepped in.

The hotel underwent a £45m refurbishment in time for the 2012 Olympics and has been decorated with awards including Human Resources Team of the Year at the 2011 Hotel Cateys, the same year in which Munkley also won Hotel Chef of the Year (more than 250 covers).

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