Up the steps of the Rosedon Hotel’s wide, welcoming veranda of the type enjoyed by Mark Twain in his day, awaits a 40-room boutique property that began humbly as a bed and breakfast in the 1950s before emerging as a world-class destination.
“My grandmother Elizabeth Kitson bought the main house in the 1950s and turned it into a bed and breakfast,” says Lee Petty, co-owner and creative director. “It grew from there.”
The property was managed by generations of Elizabeth Kitson’s descendants, each year refining its approach, until this past February it was ushered in to a class of properties listed with world-renowned Relais & Chateaux.
“Becoming part of the Relais & Chateaux family gave us a world-class ranking, which really helped people understand the level of service and experience we provide,” Petty says. “Relais & Chateaux has discovered gourmet restaurants and luxury boutique hotels around the world. And we’re thrilled they have discovered us.”
From the rooms decorated with fine British fabrics and furnishings, to its gourmet restaurant Huckleberry, named in homage to Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Fin character, the Rosedon Hotel has arrived!
In this week’s Q&A with Boxerbrand blog Recipe for Success, Lee discusses the hospitality industry and its deep family roots.
Boxerbrand: What does it mean to be part of the Relais & Chateaux global fellowship in hospitality?
When you become part of their family, you achieve a world-class ranking. Relais & Chateaux, which is out of France, started off being all about food. So, it’s a real honor that our restaurant Huckleberry is included in that.
Boxerbrand: Your restaurant recently did a complete turnaround. Please explain.
We initially thought we’d outsource our restaurant. But, being in such a small space as a 40-room hotel and restaurant, it didn’t make sense for us. In the past, we had one vision and our restaurant had another. We decided to take it over and we hired our amazing chef Matt Weber from Texas. And we also hired food and beverage manager Rob Bruni. The two of them have elevated our restaurant to a whole other level. The food they create is like art.
Boxerbrand: What else can you tell me about Huckleberry Restaurant?
Since Bermuda is British, we offer a traditional afternoon high tea using teas from London. We serve the full tower, beginning with champagne and filled with amazing little sandwiches, scones and homemade jams.
And we serve honey produced by a local bee farmer who has been working to support innovative ways of increasing the bee population and supporting their hives.
Our restaurant is named in honor of Mark Twain, who loved Bermuda and visited often. We’re a white tablecloth experience, but not stuffy. And we try to use locally grown and organic ingredients in menu items that combine British and Bermuda roots.
Boxerbrand: How did you get involved in the hospitality biz?
I joined the family business after going to school for graphic design at Boston University. My focus has been on our interior design.
After my grandmother started the business, my Dad and brother joined. When I was in my 30s I used to work with my grandmother on the interior design and loved it.
Boxerbrand: What has been your biggest obstacle?
The biggest obstacle has been the lack of beach access. We’re a five-minute walk to Hamilton, but it was a challenge for us that we weren’t right on the beach. We solved this by buying a van and shuttling people back and forth. It’s worked great!
Boxerbrand: What advice would you give to someone entering the hospitality field?
Getting into this business requires a lot of awareness of new technology, especially related to online bookings. And it’s very hard work. Location is a key, for sure. But it’s also very important to create a unique environment that is like no other. I think in order to be really successful at this, you need to step out of the pack and create something that really stands out. — Rosedon Hotel uses Boxerbrand menu covers Linen Naturals line in its table presentation. Thank you!