THE Royal Hotel's new owners are already making their mark on the iconic venue.
Philippa and Dane Shaw and Maria Bourke have taken on a 20-year lease of the Mornington site.
Mrs Shaw, who runs Walter's Wine Bar at Southbank, had been looking to open a venue on the peninsula for two years.
"We very much wanted to make the move to the peninsula and had been looking at different restaurants and hotels.
"We had seen the Royal Hotel and loved the location so when it became available we jumped at the opportunity."
Mrs Shaw comes from a family of restaurateurs.
Her parents set up Walter's Wine Bar 20 years ago and her mother is still heavily involved in the business.
She said the revamped hotel would be opened in stages as each section was completed.
"We would like to get the bistro and function room operating within the next six weeks.
"The hotel has been closed for long enough so we want to get things up and running as soon as possible."
Mrs Shaw said she wanted to bring the quality offerings of Walter's Wine Bar to the peninsula.
"We really want to focus on getting it operating to a high standard and will progressively open other areas of the hotel in time.
"We would love to reopen the accommodation side of the hotel in time for the summer holidays but we will see how we go."
Mrs Shaw said she hoped the revamped hotel would spark a bit of excitement among the community.
The hotel will start recruiting staff in the coming weeks.
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