Knight Frank has completed on the sale of The Old Bell Hotel, a 13th century hotel in Wiltshire to American investors Whim Hospitality, selling off a guide price of £3.75m.
The sale of the 34-bedroom Grade-I listed hotel marks Whim Hospitality, headed up by Whit and Kim Hanks, first entry into the UK hospitality market.
They now have ‘large scale plans’ to reposition the business.
The Old Bell Hotel has been owned by the Harvey family and has recently undergone a restoration. The building dates back to the Middle Ages and is said to be the oldest hotel in England. Many of the original features remain, including a fireplace in the restaurant dating back to 1220.
The hotel has a significant dining offering, with a public restaurant, bar and public dining spaces. The hotel also caters for weddings of up to 65 guests, with the Library and Garden Room able to host events and meetings for up to 60 people.
Matthew Smith, Partner in the Hotels team at Knight Frank, commented: “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. Given the strength of the staycation market, which is continuing to power the hotel market in 2021, interest in these types of distinctive assets remains high from a range of international and domestic investors.”
Whit Hanks, Co-Founder of Whim Hospitality, commented: “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.”