More than £100,000 has been pumped into the historic Bull Hotel at Fairford by owners Arkell’s Brewery and although the brewery thinks that no one may notice when they first walk in, the directors and landlord Mark Dudley don’t mind a bit.
“The Bull Hotel dates back to the 17th century and it just wouldn’t be right to make this lovely old Cotswold Hotel look modern and shiny inside,” says brewery director, George Arkell.
Much of the investment is behind the scenes, with new plumbing, heating and customer toilets. Other investment has opened up the bar areas and redecorated restaurants and 60-seater function room.
Brewery director, George Arkell, said: “Guests want to be warm and clean – so that’s where we’ve invested most, but the restaurants haven’t had a full redecoration for years so we’ve really gone to town there too.”
Such major refurbishment was considered an essential investment to relaunch The Bull Hotel onto the tourist map, after a significant source of revenue to the town of Fairford dried up when more than 1000 Americans left Fairford Airbase last year.
Landlord Mark Dudley said: “The town has been incredibly privileged to have such a large group of people living close by who, for years, made a significant contribution to the local economy. When we heard the news that the airbase was closing it was not only sad to lose the personal relationships we had built up with many of the families living there, but obviously it was going to have a significant impact on local business.
“The investment has made The Bull more attractive not only to our loyal and regular customers from the area, but also to guests from further afield.”
The Bull holds fishing rights to a stretch of the River Coln, a major draw to weekenders and anglers.
George Arkell added: “Every business must adapt to changing circumstances and the latest refurbishment will allow Mark and Judy Dudley, who have successfully run the hotel for more than 20 years, to go on doing just that.”
Notes on The Bull Hotel.
The Bull hotel dates back to the 17th Century and it was a monastic house, merchant’s house and meeting hall before being adapted as a hotel. Until 1910 part of the building served as bank and the entrance to its hidden tunnel, discovered only a few years ago and thought to allow direct access to the church by the monks, is under the chef’s office. Arkell’s bought the hotel in 1973, and Judy Dudley and her son Mark have run the hotel for over 20 years.