When you say the name Sir John Madejski, the words entrepreneur and philanthropist spring to mind. Many sports fans would immediately think of Reading FC; most commercially aware business executives would be aware of his success as the founder of Auto Trader and many academics would know him as chancellor emeritus of the University of Reading.
But there is more to Sir John than meets the eye. His business interests extend to restaurants such as The Leatherne Bottel in Goring on Thames and to hotels including the exclusive Royal Palm Hotel in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, which he is currently looking to sell.
Sir John has been involved with the Royal Palm since its inception, having initially supported the project in partnership with a childhood friend who had acquired the land in 1974. The Royal Palm Hotel Estate opened in 2002 and enjoys the quiet seclusion of its own 480-acre plot in the lush highland forests of Santa Cruz, next to the Galapagos National Park.
Combining elegant colonial style with traditional island design, the Royal Palm enjoys amazing views across the Island and out to the ocean beyond. The accommodation comprises 21 spacious villas, scattered around the Estate; all with open fires and indoor Jacuzzis; the terraced casitas are closer to the main hotel building. The a la carte restaurant attracts guests and passengers from the cruise ships to sample the local and international cuisine. A friendly piano bar offers local cocktails during happy hour and the collector’s wine cellar houses some of South America’s best wines. A large terrace provides the perfect setting for alfresco dining whilst star gazing, making this boutique residence truly magical.
The property includes a temperate outdoor pool, spa and gym, tennis court, business centre and meeting & event space for up to 50 delegates. The Estate has its own Nature Trails and Lava Tunnel tour – an extinct volcanic cave with illuminated trails winding through an 800 metre labyrinth of tunnels over specially constructed bridges and stairways – as well as the ‘Plant a Tree’ initiative which helps to regenerate the declining Miconia forests; this is as close to nature as it gets . . .
Further afield, guests can enjoy horse riding, scenic hiking trails, jogging paths and off-road cycling routes using the hotel’s mountain bikes. Just off the coast, you will find some of the world’s most spectacular snorkelling, diving and surfing.
Taylor-made adventure itineraries allow families and individuals to choose activities to suit their interests. All packages are designed to provide close encounters with the Islands’ friendly and exotic creatures, including the marine iguana, blue footed boobies, sea lions and giant tortoises, some of which are endemic to the Archipelago. The Royal Palm Hotel offers the ultimate Galapagos experience.
The Galapagos Islands attract a wide range of people, from high-profile visitors including royalty, presidents, dignitaries and celebrities to bespoke tour operators and individuals, all of whom are attracted by the opportunity to see the stunning wildlife and landscapes for which these Islands are famous. Any poll or survey will have the Galapagos up there in the top 5 “places to visit before you die!’ The Telegraph’s Ultimate Travel Bucket list 2018 has the Galapagos at No. 2, only surpassed by the Northern Lights and ahead of Machu Picchu.
Santa Cruz Island, where the Royal Palm is situated, is in the heart of the Galapagos, located nearly 1,000 km (600 miles) off the west coast of Ecuador. There are several flights daily from Quito or Guayaquil on the Ecuadorean mainland to Baltra Airport at Santa Cruz. Flight from the UK depart London Heathrow and connect through Amsterdam and Madrid.
The Royal Palm is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts and is one of a small number of exclusive hotels in the Galapagos. Sir John is looking to pass on the ownership of this special place to an individual or company who can take it to the next level. This is a rare and exceptional opportunity to own an estate in one of the most unique places on earth. In December 2014, the Royal Palm was valued at US$9.5 million by HVS Buenos Aires. However, Sir John Madejski will consider all reasonable offers.
Enquiries: Tanya Hardy, PA to Sir John Madejski