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Refurbishment Set to Transform Prominent Wareham Hotel

Diana Szpytma 5 September 2018
Refurbishment Set to Transform Prominent Wareham Hotel

Bright future for Black Bear following sale brokered by Colliers International 

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.”