Work now has begun on the renovation of The King’s Arms, Dorchester, three years after the business was acquired by boutique hotel and pub group, Stay Original.
The historic hotel, famed for its literary links to Thomas Hardy, should open its doors early in 2020, following a £5m investment.
Phase one will see the ground floor bar, reception, restaurant and 20 bedrooms open in 2020, with an extra 14 bedrooms – phase two – rolled out a few months later.
Rob Greacen, managing director of Stay Original Co., said: “You can’t fail to be impressed by the drive amongst the people of Dorchester to invest in the town and actively promote its strong historic and literary heritage. The Kings Arms is a lovely and important part of that legacy and we really hope we can do our part to improve things further. Nothing gives us more pleasure than reviving beautiful old buildings and making them busy and exciting places to visit.
“We’re expecting to open early in 2020 but if the project goes well, we may be able to bring that forward to just before Christmas. It all depends on how smoothly the refurbishment goes. But when the doors do re open, visitors can expect a rejuvenated Kings Arms offering first class hospitality again – back to its best. Maybe even better!”
The hotel is part of the expanding collection of unique properties owned and run by the boutique hotel and pub group, Stay Original.
The company acquired The King’s Arms in 2016 after it had been closed by the former owners. Located on Dorchester’s High Street the hotel featured extensively in Hardy’s novel, The Mayor of Casterbridge as well as in Far From The Madding Crowd.
During its 300-year history, the Grade II-listed building has hosted monarchs and musicians, such as Queen Victoria, King George IV, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
Stay Original was started by three friends in 2011 when Rob Greacen, Pat Gill and James Brooke-Webb bought The Swan in Wedmore and renovated it before reopening to the public.
They have since transformed three other spaces into award-winning inns: The Swan in Wedmore and The White Hart in Somerton, both in Somerset, Timbrell’s Yard in Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, and The Grosvenor Arms in Shaftesbury, Dorset.
Yesterday BH reported how the company had had its ‘best year yet’ for trade, with total sales up across the group by 23%.