‘A jewel in the town’ – Banyers House opens in Royston after £1 million revamp

The Banyers House team.

The Banyers House team. - Credit: Archant

Four long years after it closed, the Banyers reopened last week with a bang – and that was just to get the Prosecco flowing.

Pizza chef Jordan Howe.

Pizza chef Jordan Howe. - Credit: Archant

Prominent figures, from town councillors to business owners, all packed in to the refurbished Royston hotel, the broad smiles and popping eyes all signs that its £1 million resurrection by Oakman Inns & Restaurants has already been deemed a success.

Banyers House, as it’s now known, is the 17th Oakman Inn by chief executive Peter Borg-Neal. But with such high expectation placed on the town landmark, the Crow asked him if there was a pressure to get it right.

“I wouldn’t call it a pressure,” he said.

“To be able to restore this stunning building as we have, I’d call it a privilege.

Mayor of Royston, Sarah Dingley, town crier Graham Pfaff and Rev Heidi Huntley pull the first pints

Mayor of Royston, Sarah Dingley, town crier Graham Pfaff and Rev Heidi Huntley pull the first pints at Banyers House. - Credit: Archant

“Royston is a great town and it’s getting better all the time. We’ve been delighted and humbled by the positive reaction this week and have been made to feel very welcome.

“I am confident that, under the guidance of our General Manager Fabio Santos, our talented team will ensure that Banyers House will be not only a wonderful place to visit, but also, an integral part of the Royston community.”

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Home counties high-end pubs is Mr Borg-Neal’s speciality. He started with a vision to create the perfect casual dining experience, and his first pub, The Akeman in Tring, opened in 2007.

Not only is every aspect of his food and service carefully carved out, so is his staff training programme, something Mr Borg-Neal is passionate about.

The Banyers House launch party crowd.

The Banyers House launch party crowd. - Credit: Archant

“We have an approach to business where without the people, it’s just a building, so we want to incentivise people to bring out the best in all our employees,” he said.

Considering staff raved about the Oakmanology model and the business has featured in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For, it can only be classed as another enriching ingredient in their recipe for success.

Fabio Santos is the dedicated general manager at the helm of Banyers House.

“I’m very excited,” he said.

“We have a great team and are all all looking forward to playing a key part at the heart of the community.”

The revamped interior is simple and classic – complete with an orangery, Victorian dining room, lounge bar and nine guest rooms.

The food at the Melbourn Street bar and restaurant is Mediterranean-inspired. Their Athens-born head chef with 20 years experience is Vasileios Totolidis. Vas’ background is in fine dining with the likes of Raymond Blanc, and the 33-year-old is enthusiastic about what lies ahead – and he’s not the only one. North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald said: “I know that many local residents will feel delighted as I do that the Banyers is back in action.

“I wish Fabio and all at Banyers House every success with this exciting venture.”

Royston town manager Geraint Burnell said: “For the business community in Royston, possibly the biggest impact of the Banyers House opening is the addition to the ‘Royston offer’ of nine quality rooms for rent. With big companies thriving and expanding on the industrial estate and a significant number of active professional companies in the town centre, there is a strong demand for rooms to accommodate visitors during the week. If the two rooms I’ve been shown are representative, I have no doubt that it won’t be long before the bookings flow!”

So the stage was set and, after months of hard work, it was for town mayor Councillor Sarah Dingley to officially welcome Oakmans and guests to Royston at the exclusive opening party on Thursday last week.

“We are ecstatic that a company like Oakman Inns, who have earned a reputation for bespoke style and quality service, decided to adopt this iconic building and invest their expertise,” she said. “Banyers House is now resplendent, a jewel in the town of which we can be proud.”

After the party, it was business as usual the next day. And with plenty of Christmas bookings and people wandering in for an impromptu drink or bite to eat, it’s clear that Banyers is well and truly back in Royston.

Go to www.banyershouse.co.uk for more information.