Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Dino Johnson, 58, snapped up The Captain Howey next door to his hotel in New Romney, Kent after learning housing developers wanted to transform it into flats.

He had been approached by a company from London who were interested in buying the boozer on the condition that he sold them his hotel too.

But Dino turned them away and wasn’t keen on the idea of having “a building site” next door.

So when the Captain Howey was listed for sale in June, Dino quickly put in an offer for the pub as he wanted to keep the venue as a community space.

With no other potential buyers interested in taking it over as a pub, Dino’s offer was accepted and got to work on renovating it.

The Captain Howey – which comes with nine guest rooms – will be run alongside Dino’s Littlestone Hotel, which has 16 rooms.

Dino, who is also a school governor, said: “The pub had been quieter over the last few months and the property was a leasehold and the lease was coming to an end at the end of the year and he decided to give it up earlier.

“This London company wanted both plots but the idea of having a building site next to us for three or four years was not appealing.

“I can’t wait to bring it back to life again.

“All the neighbours are passing by and saying the look has changed, it’s tidy, it’s fresh.

“We have a small army of people working to upgrade it.

“It has nine en-suite rooms that we can easily manage as it’s next door and we are in negotiation with a catering company to take care of the restaurant and the pub side.

“It’ll have a new decor and new look in the pub.

“We have a lot of input from local people as well, to keep everybody happy.”

Dino took over the Littlestone Hotel in 2003, which has 16 self-contained rooms.

He says the opportunity to own both establishments is “very positive” and says letting it go would have been a “disaster” for tourism.

He added: “It feels unbelievable to have both now.

“To have the opportunity to own next door is really nice, very positive.

“The community round here is very important.

“A lot of people from around the country and the world come to see the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway station here and staying at the Howey is a part of that experience, so letting it go would have been a disaster.”

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