Artist Residence, the collection of three hotels with eclectic, art-inspired interiors, has acquired a thatched pub in Oxfordshire, while at the same time applying for planning permission to develop a 29-bedroom hotel in Bristol.
Owners Justin and Charlotte Salisbury have bought the Mason Arms in South Leigh and will relaunch it in February 2017 with five bedrooms, in the distinct style of the three Artist Residence hotels in Brighton, Penzance and Pimlico in London. A cottage attached to the pub, together with outbuildings and stables will be converted to a further seven bedrooms, later next year.
The pub hit the headlines when its former owner of 18 years, Gerry Stonhill, became the first pub landlord in Oxfordshire to flout the anti-smoking laws in 2008 and was fined £5,750. Stonhill sold the pub in 2013 and went on to buy the Railway Inn, near nearby Witney.
Believed to be a former farm house dating from the early 1600s, the Grade II-listed Mason Arms is constructed of limestone beneath a thatched roof.
The interior features an abundance of original features including flagstone flooring, dark oak panelling, rustic beams and stone walls. Items selected from auction houses and reclamation houses are being chosen for the property, while William Morris wallpaper and artwork from the Connor brothers will add colour.
Ollie Moore, who has previously worked as head chef at the Michelin-starred Black Rat restaurant in Winchester, Hampshire, is joining the Mason Arms as head chef. He has also worked at the Manor House hotel in Castle Combe, Wiltshire; Horn of Plenty hotel in Tavistock, Devon; and Atlantic hotel in Jersey.
Meanwhile, having recently opened an interior design shop, selling art and furniture, in Chelsea, the couple also have plans to open a hotel in Bristol in 2018. They are looking to convert a derelict, Grade I-listed building in Cave Street, by Portland Square, in St Paul's, into a hotel, with a standalone restaurant and bar to be named the Boot Factory, to reflect the building's former history.
"Bristol is a fantastic city and we have wanted to open here for some time," said Justin and Charlotte. "We are thrilled to be opening in St Paul's and can't wait to bring the old shoe factory back to life, the building is full of history and heritage which we plan to preserve and showcase in our design."
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