Former Michelin-starred chef Chris Staines has acquired the 14-bedroom Bridge House hotel and restaurant in Beaminster, Dorset, off a guide price of £1.25m.
He has bought the business with his partner Silvana Bandini, who was until recently assistant general manager at the Pig near Bath.
Together they plan to transform the hotel, which was previously owned by Mark and Jo Donovan for 14 years, and create a more informal restaurant with rooms.
Staines has been searching for his own business since leaving the four-AA-star, 60-bedroom Abbey hotel in Bath, where he was executive chef for five years. He previously joined Heckfield Place in Hampshire, for a brief period as executive chef and director of food and beverage, having earlier held a Michelin star at Foliage (now closed) at London's Mandarin Oriental hotel.
Originally a clergy house and dating back to the 13th century, the stone-built Bridge House incorporates a 50-cover dining room and a bar and restaurant with capacity for 30 covers each. The property sits within grounds of one third of an acre and features a covered terrace that can be used for functions for up to 30 guests.
"We are going to be making some significant changes over the next few months, moving away from the formality of a hotel towards a restaurant with rooms concept, and are planning a re-launch closer to the summer."
The couple will carry out an initially refurbishment of the property themselves, but in the long term may hire an interior designer to carry out a more comprehensive redesign.
The sale of the Bridge House was handled by the Bristol office of Christie & Co.
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