FOR the first time in 70 years, Knoll House, one of the nation’s favourite family friendly hotels, is opening its doors to non-residents.

Keen to make it more accessible to the local community, new owners Kingfisher Resorts are looking to build on the legacy left by three generations of the Ferguson family, who had run the resort since 1959.

Visitors are invited to savour the property’s rich history that has seen such notables as Vivien Leigh and Roald Dahl grace its rooms. While on April 18, 1944, Sir Winston Churchill, King George VI and General Dwight D. Eisenhower enjoyed a spot of lunch in its dining room after witnessing the D-Day rehearsals on Studland Beach.

Knoll House’s most famous resident was children's author Enid Blyton who, during the 1950s and 60s, would visit three or four times a year.

Sure to appeal to hotel guests and local residents alike is Knoll House’s brand new Bistro. Showcasing an appetising lunch menu of well-loved English dishes with a modern twist, and a collection of imported coffees and teas, ingredients are sourced from local suppliers, jams and chutneys from Lily’s produce, while the signature Afternoon Tea remains a firm favourite.

With the revamping of its function room that can accommodate up to 100 guests, Knoll House is also able to cater for private events, team building days, and intimate wedding receptions, while offering an exclusive undisturbed backdrop of the Dorset Heritage Coast for photo shoots.

Tracy Tennant, general manager at Knoll House said: “We are always pleased to see so many familiar faces returning to the hotel each year to enjoy their holidays. Several of our staff have been here for over 30 years and have had the pleasure of seeing our guests grow up and bring their own families. Now having the opportunity to introduce Knoll House to local residents who have not experienced our hospitality before makes it even better. With our new Bistro there really is something for everyone at Knoll House.”

Knoll House started life as a summer residence for the aristocratic Bankes family in the early 1900s, before being turned into a six-bedroom hotel by Chris and Poppy Smith in 1931.