England’s oldest Hotel, the Grade 1 listed The Old Bell Hotel (https://oldbellhotel.co.uk), has re-opened following a £1.1M refurbishment. Located alongside the 12th century abbey in the centre of the historic, Wiltshire market town of Malmesbury in the Cotswolds, The Old Bell Hotel has been revived and refined with a renewed emphasis on the quality of accommodation and dining experience.
The Old Bell hotel dates back to 1220 when Abbot Loring established a hostelry for visiting dignitaries to Malmesbury Abbey, then an important and powerful seat of learning. The hotel has welcomed guests continuously since then, evolving over time and developing an eclectic architecture that spans the centuries.
There are traces of several different eras throughout the building, including a hooded stone fireplace in the Brasserie which dates from 1220 – believed to be the first ever flue chimney in England – and original stone features, fireplaces and windows in the rooms. The sympathetic refurbishment has ensured all of The Old Bell Hotels original features and old English charm remain intact while elevating the guest experience and introducing a new level of elegance, charm and luxury.
The restoration project was overseen by new General Manager Christophe Dumeige, who said it marks a new chapter in the hotel’s history:
“We are thrilled with the refurbishment, which has returned The Old Bell Hotel to its former glory and introduced a new level of luxury.
Christophe Dumeige commented: “The bedrooms have been uplifted by Creative Director Mykel Collins and the dining experience completely overhauled with a brand-new kitchen, dining areas and the strategic appointment of new head chef Frédéric Fetiveau who has transformed the menus and food concept.”
“It was really important to us that the hotel retained its character and old English charm so we have ensured this has been protected and enhanced at every step. We have also changed our approach to service and aim to make guests feel warmly welcomed by attentive hosts. Now our guests can experience the hotel’s unique history with modern comforts and luxury.”
Talented Head Chef Frédéric Fetiveau now heads up The Old Bell kitchen and has transformed the dining experience. Chef Frederic began his passion for creating fine dining in Paris where he trained with various Michelin starred establishments including, Hotel le Bristol (Paris), Royal Monceau (Paris), and Carré des Feuillants (Paris). At the Old Bell Hotel, he has created a new and delicious seasonal menu featuring a combination of traditional British classics with a modern twist and European influences. The new evening menu includes exclusive dishes such as wild seabass & sea trout tartare with gingerbread, wasabi cream and salmon eggs (£9.50), re-visited fillet steak & veal kidney pie and the exceedingly popular ‘tartare of hand-cut Aberdeen Angus cross beef fillet’ (£26). The leisurely breakfast menu features traditional old English options such as kedgeree, kippers with parsley butter or a classic full English.
The team also includes Pastry Chef and Chocolatier, Dominique Bon who has worked in renowned restaurants in Switzerland, France, London and French Polynesia creating stunning patisserie and chocolates. Guests will enjoy beautiful desserts including slow roasted golden pear with Tonka Bean syrup and home-made salted caramel ice cream (£7) and The Old Bell’s signature ‘Baba Cool’ Rum Baba (£7). Hotel guests are all gifted with Chef Dominique’s homemade macaroons, while those celebrating a big birthday or special occasion can pre-order a cake to share in-house or take away.
The Old Bell afternoon tea (£21 per person) has also received a makeover with chef Dominique Bon’s pastries, cakes and delicacies and has swiftly become a popular attraction for walkers, families and groups of friends.
Diners are invited to choose from the extensive Bar menu with expertly mixed cocktails and hand-picked fine wines and champagnes.
New for this season The Old Bell has introduced a selection of distinguished ‘Cult’ wines, which are ‘Covarin’ preserved and can be enjoyed by the glass, such as the Gevrey Chambertain, Clos des Varoilles Burgundy (2013) available from £90 a bottle or £15 a glass.
All of the 34 bedrooms are newly refurbished, individually designed and furnished, and carry their own story, with many named after the hotel’s historical figures. In the Master, Classic and Character rooms guests can choose from four-poster or king-size beds, classic bathrooms with roll-top baths and views towards the abbey next door or over the rolling Cotswolds countryside. Luxury bathrobes & Noble Isle toiletries, 24 hours Room Service, free Wi-Fi and freshly-baked cookies and macaroons are included. Laundry Services and Freeview are also provided.
Prices range from single rooms, available from £99 per night up to master doubles from £370 per room on a bed and breakfast basis.
Easter special offer:
This Easter, guests can stay at The Old Bell and enjoy a three-course evening meal, full English breakfast, a cream tea and free entry tickets to either Westonbirt Arboretum or Bowood House and Gardens from £610 for two nights. In addition, guests will receive a personalised chocolate egg and a bottle of prosecco in their room. Prices are based on Character and Master Cosy rooms, minimum two-night stay.
The Old Bell welcomes pets and offers a collection of dog-friendly rooms so keen walkers and holidaymakers can enjoy a break away with their pooch. A surcharge of £25 to host your pet ensures they receive an equally warm welcome with a choice of 2 dishes included from the a special dog menu.*
Additional facilities are also available for keen cyclists and business guests and there is free parking onsite.
The Old Bell Hotel is within easy reach of Bath, Bristol, Gloucester, Birmingham, The Cotswolds and London.
Notes to editors:
*a maximum of 4 – 6 dogs allowed to stay in the hotel at any one time