The new owners of the Black Bear in Wareham High Street - which featured in the Channel Four series The Hotel Inspectors with Alex Polizzi - have embarked upon an ambitious refurbishment aimed at transforming the business.
Mother and daughter partners and experienced hospitality operators Janet and Emily Strange have bought the hotel following a deal brokered by Colliers International. It had been on the market for £750,000.
The Grade II Black Bear has occupied a prominent position in the centre of the Dorset town since the 18th Century.
After a withering assessment from Alex Polizzi two years ago, the business attempted a revival but later closed down, and it was not at its best when Janet Strange and Emily first viewed it.
“It was looking more than a little run-down but that didn’t put us off,” Janet recalled.
“It’s a fine building in a fantastic position at the gateway to the Purbeck peninsula and we could see massive potential.”
Janet and Emily – who also run a successful Café in Swanage - have commenced a three-phase refurbishment of the entire building to create a boutique Bed & Breakfast, with a bistro called Love Cake at the Bear.
“We have so much to do, but we’re hoping to use the enormous kitchens to provide a classic food offering including deli shop and takeaway cake, fine local catering and an artisan bakery. There is also a two-bedroom cottage which we are hoping to open up for lettings,” said Janet.
“We’re aiming to re-launch the downstairs element in time for Christmas, and are confident we will create a fantastic local business.”
Ed Jefferson from the Hotels team at Colliers International’s Hotel’s said the Black Bear was a 13-minute walk from Wareham train station and nine and a half miles from the world-renowned Jurassic Coast.
“Before it was placed on the market, the Black Bear was clearly under-performing, and this became apparent during the filming of the Hotel Inspectors. Alex Polizzi had given a typically blunt assessment of the facilities,” he said.
“But Janet and Emily have launched a complete refurbishment programme which will transform the business offering and provide a massive boost for locals and visitors alike. I am confident the Black Bear has a bright future with Janet and Emily at the helm.”