Kim and Whit Hanks, founders of Whim Hospitality, Camp Lucy and Tillie’s Restaurant in Dripping Springs, Texas are exceptionally thrilled to announce their acquisition of The Old Bell Hotel, Malmesbury on 31 March 2021.
Kim and Whit regularly visit Malmesbury, their Hanks family ancestral home since before 1500. In fact pioneering Malmesbury industrialist, Walter Hanks, operated a mill below The Old Bell Hotel on the River Avon in the late 1100’s.
Kim and Whit are keen to point out The Old Bell Hotel will continue to serve the community as it has for the past 800 years. They will be active owners despite current International travel restrictions and plan to reopen the hotel on 17 May 2021. They propose a programme of modest ground floor refurbishments to bring new ambience to the dining room and bar lounges, delicious new food menus and inviting outdoor drinks and dining areas.
As soon as is possible, Kim and Whit along with both their US and Old Bell Hotel teams will engage with the local community, artisans, businesses and entrepreneurs. They plan to create an inclusive programme of experiences and activities to be launched at the hotel in early 2022, aiming to recreate The Old Bell Hotel as a welcoming, active hub of Malmesbury life.
Kim and Whit have also agreed to purchase neighbouring Abbey House and Gardens later in 2021. The current owners will operate the 2021 season as usual. The stunning gardens opened for the season to the public on 21 March 2021 with over 180 unique pieces of art from Cotswold Sculptors Association. Kim and Whit plan to keep the gardens open to the public.
While details of their proposals for the Grade I listed property will not be released until after the purchase is complete, they are working hard to create a plan that the community will embrace.
Kim comments “Whit and I are so excited and fortunate to have the opportunity to bring our Whim Hospitality brand of welcoming hospitality to both these outstanding historic properties in the wonderful 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 refresh and restyle programme for The Old Bell Hotel to be an inclusive, engaging destination in Malmesbury for launch in early 2022.
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About The Old Bell Hotel and Abbey House Gardens
The Old Bell Hotel is steeped in Grade I listed history; rumoured to be England’s oldest hotel and situated next to the stunning 12th Century Abbey in the centre of the vibrant market town of Malmesbury. Also adjacent to the Abbey sits the impressive Abbey House, another historic Grade I listed jewel in Malmesbury’s history and which includes the world-renowned gardens. It is said the first King of England is buried somewhere in the gardens and that two saints were thrown down the well! The gardens, which are open to the public, include over 10,000 different plants and in times of travel attract visitors from around the world.
About Whim Hospitality, Camp Lucy and Tillie’s Restaurant
Whim Hospitality offers highly personalised events and weddings where clients’ dreams are turned into reality and company culture is defined by Kim, Whit and the Whim family team. Whim’s family of services includes Catering, Event Rentals, Tents, Florals and Venue Management all designed to deliver customised, professional experiences clients love.
Camp Lucy is a breathtaking hidden treasure nestled on an idyllic Hill Country Ranch in Dripping Springs, the ultimate luxury getaway at the start of the Texas Wine Trail. This premier wedding venue in Central Texas includes luxury accommodations, world-class services and gorgeous venues.
With Tillie’s, Kim has realised her vision of creating a space that evokes emotion, using food as an inspiration for friends and family coming together. At the Camp Lucy family property where it’s located, Tillie’s menu takes what’s familiar and infuses it with an array of innovative international flavours, creating a new set of rules for cuisine.
About Kim Hanks
As CEO of Whim Hospitality, Kim has grown her business from a small rental company in Dripping Springs, Texas to one of the largest and fastest growing female-led businesses in the US. The diverse and ever-growing range of services has put the business on the Austin Business Journal’s Fast 50 and the Inc. 5000 list for four-consecutive years. Under Kim’s leadership, Whim Hospitality has won local and national awards for their quality of service for rentals, florals, catering and event management. In addition to being named one of the top women business leaders in Central Texas by the Austin Business Journal, Kim was honoured with one of their Best CEO Awards in 2017. She also serves on several Austin-area tourist-industry organizations and non-profits.
About Whit Hanks
Whit founded a successful antiques business, specialising in architectural and international antiques in the mid-1980s while also working as real estate developer in the Central Texas region. He began acquiring property in the Dripping Springs area in 1985, started developing Camp Lucy in 2008, and co-founded Whim Hospitality with Kim in 2012. Whit’s sharp eye for beautiful heritage pieces has helped create the unique setting of the Camp Lucy resort and established Whim Hospitality as one of the premier event services providers in the US. In addition to his responsibilities at Whim and Camp Lucy, Whit serves as the co-founder and Chairman of Pioneer Bank and has served on the Historic Preservation Commission and Economic Development Committee for the City of Dripping Springs.