American investors buy England's oldest hotel for £3.5m

06 April 2021 by
American investors buy England's oldest hotel for £3.5m

The Old Bell, a 13th-century property in Wiltshire believed to be England's oldest purpose-built hotel, has been sold to American investor Whim Hospitality off a guide price of £3.75m.

Dating to the middle ages, the 34-bedroom Grade I-listed historic country hotel sits adjacent to the 12th-century Abbey in the ancient market town of Malmesbury. The Old Bell, previously owned by the Harvey family, recently underwent restoration and continues to boast original features, including a fireplace in the restaurant dating to 1220.

Texas-based event company Whim Hospitality has acquired the hotel to capitalise on the growing staycation trend and marks its first entry into the UK hospitality market, with plans to reposition the business.

Whit Hanks, co-founder of Whim Hospitality, said: "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring our Whim Hospitality brand of welcoming hospitality to the Old Bell hotel in the historic market town of Malmesbury, home of our Hanks family ancestors. We are looking forward to meeting our guests, members of the community, local artisans, businesses and entrepreneurs as we create a programme for the Old Bell hotel to be an inclusive, engaging destination in Malmesbury."

Matthew Smith, partner in the hotels team at Knight Frank, which oversaw the sale, added: "Purported to be England's oldest hotel it is no surprise the Old Bell hotel attracted global interest. We are delighted for Whit and Kim Hanks of Whim Hospitality as they embark on their first UK hotel acquisition, with exciting times ahead as they have large-scale plans to reposition the business, and we are confident this will be a huge success under their stewardship."

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