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Friday, 1 February, 2002, 15:59 GMT
Revamped hotel opens on 'writers' island
Burgh Island Hotel
The hotel has had many distinguished guests
A 1930s hotel where Agatha Christie wrote novels is open again after being refurbished by a couple who bought the island it sits on.

Burgh Island is situated 200 metres off the Devon coast between Salcombe and Plymouth.

Tony Orchard and Deborah Clark, who bought it in October for 3m, are planning a programme of renovations to the whole island.

Mrs Clark told BBC News Online: "We have spent more than 100,000 on the hotel so far and our first customers have already arrived.

Peacock Dome
The Peacock Dome

"We focused on public rooms in the hotel, and we stripped and redecorated them in 1930s style.

"We have spent 30,000 on period furniture and it is splendid and glamorous, with a very pure 1920s and 30s palm court."

The crime novelist Agatha Christie stayed in a writers' shack on the island called the Beach House.

It was here that she penned two novels, And Then There Were None and Evil Under The Sun.

The island has a much longer history than the 1930's... there was a monastery and it was later inhabited by fishermen, smugglers, and then wreckers

Deborah Clark

In the 1930s other guests at the Burgh Island Hotel included Noel Coward.

It retains a stained glass Peacock Dome, a ballroom and staircase flanked by jet glass and pink mirrors.

Mrs Clarke, 39, added: "Now we will focus on the island as a whole experience.

"We have renovated a smugglers' inn called the Pilchard, and there is also a quaint cafe which will serve traditional cream teas."

Burgh Island is totally cut off by the sea at high tide, but can be reached twice a day across a causeway which connects it to the mainland.

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