Former chef at Abbey Bath and The Pig hotelier join forces to acquire hotel in Dorset

The former Michelin-star chef at Abbey Bath Hotel and a recent assistant general manager at The Pig Hotel have partnered up to purchase a Grade-II listed hotel in Dorset.

Chris Staines, who spent the last five years as executive chef at the Abbey Hotel in Bath, has joined forces with Silvana Bandini fresh from her role within the managerial team at The Pig Hotel near Bath to acquire country house hotel Bridge House Hotel.

Christie + Co sold the property in Beaminster off a guide price of £1.25m on behalf of owners Mark & Jo Donovan, who have operated The Bridge House for the last 14 years and are now deciding to take a step back to pursue new ventures.

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Now Staines and Bandini plan to make a ‘significant number of changes’ at the property, repositioning the hotel as a restaurant with rooms after a relaunch in the summer.

Originally a clergy house and dating back to the 13th century, the property has been renovated but still retains many features including stone mullioned windows, inglenook fireplaces and oak beams.

Benefitting from three main trade areas, the venue boasts a 50-cover dining room, a bar and restaurant with capacity for 30 covers each, alongside 14 bedrooms as part of the hotel.

Chris and Silvana comment: “We are delighted to have found the Bridge House Hotel – it is the perfect first venture for us and we are extremely excited to be taking it on. 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.”

Matthew Smith, director at Christie & Co’s Bristol office comments: “The business attracted interest from a variety of buyers and we are thrilled to announce the sale. This is an exciting time for everyone involved in The Bridge House Hotel and we welcome Chris and Silvana, who have a great vision and skill, as they embark on a new phase for the business.”



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