The Old Bell Hotel in Malmesbury re-opens after interior makeover

By Nick Batten on 9 July, 2021

The Old Bell Hotel Malmesbury, rumoured to be England’s Oldest Hotel, is now officially open following a ribbon cutting ceremony that took place on 2nd July, conducted by the town’s Mayor, Paul Smith.

Owners Kim and Whit Hanks – the Texan couple who acquired the hotel in April this year – announced the Grand Opening of the hotel on Monday June 21st. It is now open and serving food from 7am to 9pm. Guests can expect high end design interiors, superior service, and Texas Southern Hospitality.

The ground floor of the grade-1 listed hotel has been redecorated and the restaurant has been named, ‘Saints and Sinners,’ in honour of the 12th century Malmesbury Abbey next door. The Bar has been renamed the ‘1220 Bar’ in honour of The Old Bell owning the oldest known fireplace which was built in that year.

The redecorated lounges next to the bar have seating for drinks, coffees, cream tea, lounge menu and even dinner if you fancy. All these spaces are uniquely papered and decorated with antiques and fun finds from Whit’s 35+ years as an antiques dealer.

The acquisition of The Old Bell was completed in April by a Thrings team led by Client Partner John Davies. He was supported by fellow Partners Alex Pinhey, Kate Westbrook and Jonathan Payne, Associate Carey Willis Fleming, Consultant Chris Elias, and Solicitors Chloe Williams and Conor Melvin. 

Thrings has also been instructed to advise Kim and Whit when they take ownership of the neighbouring Abbey House Gardens, a country house garden covering five acres, later this year.

Whit said, “Kim and I have been gratified and humbled by the warm reception we and the hotel have received from the townspeople of Malmesbury. We are looking forward to making further improvements to honour their trust in our stewardship of this valued property and see it return to its place as the hub of the social scene in the town.

“We have had a lot of different legal issues – property acquisition, commercial contracts, alcohol permitting, and employment law – and Thrings has performed at a very high level in all these disciplines. We are currently negotiating other potential acquisitions, and my first call is always to one of our trusted advisors at Thrings.”

John said, “Working with Kim and Whit has been a revelation. They are successful entrepreneurs in a number of sectors, which is impressive enough, but their standout qualities are their warmth, hospitality and integrity. 

“The team at Thrings is very much looking forward to helping Kim and Whit on many more projects in the future.”

Kim added, “We are so looking forward to being part of this town. We appreciate what a friendly reception we received from the town once the news came out of our purchase. We’re so excited to be spending our lives with you!”

Pictured above: Kim and Whit Hanks with Paul Smith, the Mayor of Malmesbury at the official ribbon cutting ceremony on 2nd July