The Old Bell Hotel named best in Wiltshire

A Malmesbury hotel has been named the best in Wiltshire just one year after reopening under new ownership.

Texan entrepreneurs and Malmesbury family descendants, Kim and Whit Hanks, took over The Old Bell Hotel last year. 

And the historic hotel, thought to be the oldest in England, has now been given Muddy Stilettos’ award for the best in the county. 

Lesley Wood, head of group operations at Kim and Whit’s company Whim Hospitality, said: “We are all absolutely thrilled, especially as the award was announced a year to the day of our re-opening on June 21, 2021.  

“We love all our guests and we get great feedback from them, which we’re really proud of.”  

The building’s refurbished bedrooms and food and drink offerings have been created over the past year by creative director Kim Hanks.

And the latest addition is the Tyger Bar, which opened last week. 

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Tyger BarTyger Bar

Named in reference to Hannah Twynnoy, the Malmesbury barmaid believed to have been killed by a travelling circus tiger in 1703, the bar has a tropical theme and visitors can enjoy bespoke cocktails, other drinks and food. 

Radiant heaters and blankets are available for when the weather is cooler. 

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Tyger BarTyger Bar

The Tyger Bar is open from midday to last orders at 10.30pm daily.

Owners Kim and Whit Hanks said: “The fact that ‘Best Hotel in Wiltshire 2022’ has been awarded to us just one year from our re-opening means so much to us. 

“We would like to thank everyone who voted and look forward to welcoming you all in our new Tyger Bar soon.”

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Kim and Whit Hanks at the reopening of The Old Bell HotelKim and Whit Hanks at the reopening of The Old Bell Hotel

The founders of Whim Hospitality, Camp Lucy and Tillie’s Restaurant in Dripping Springs, Texas, Kim and Whit have also bought the neighbouring Abbey House Gardens.

Prior to these purchases they were already regular visitors to Malmesbury, the Hanks ancestral home since 1500.

READ MORE: Reopening date set for Malmesbury’s Abbey House Gardens

After the purchase of The Old Bell Hotel, a surprising discovery was made when title deeds surfaced revealing that members of the Hanks family – and Whit’s distant relatives – had owned part of the hotel more than 150 years earlier.

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