The Merton Hotel, today Jersey's largest, was built by the Seymour family, who have been associated with Jersey since 1919, when George Frederick and Ada Seymour came to the island on their honeymoon.
What is today the Channel Island’s largest hotel group started with a small, five-bedroom guest house in Halkett Place, named ’Merton House’ after George and Ada Seymour’s London home town.
Move to new location
Merton House, despite having expanded into the properties on either side, could not accommodate the business it was attracting, so the Seymours acquired Fontenay, a private house on Belvedere Hill, which they converted into a hotel and renamed the Merton.
In 1929 the first extension was built - 40 bedrooms above a dining room which could be transformed into a ballroom each evening after dinner. By 1935 the hotel's popularity had grown to such an extent that another extension with 90 bedrooms was added, on top of another dining room, allowing the original to be used exclusively as a ballroom.
In 1921 George Frederick’s parents – George Andrew and Mary, having retired to Jersey, bought Kalimna Hall in St Brelade, which then became The Portelet Hotel. Joining forces to become Seymour Hotels in 1928, George Frederick and his father acquired the Pomme d'Or Hotel in 1930.
The family's three hotels were requisitioned by the German forces during the Occupation and the Merton became a hospital for the Germans.
After the war
The period after the war was spent rebuilding the business and putting everything back where it belonged – including the hotels’ silver tableware, which had been buried in George and Ada’s garden.
The hotel opened again in 1946 and extensive additions were made in 1952, 1957 and 1960. In 1965 a heated swimming pool was built in the grounds and the gardens landscaped around it.
Business continued to grow and when further extension was required in 1975, parts of the hotel had to be demolished to create space for another ballroom, bar, lounge and 72 more bedrooms. Reflecting changing demands from guests, all these new rooms had private bathrooms. The rest of the hotel was fully modernised at the same time.
A charabanc outing in 1922. Mascot Motors was established as a limited company the following year