'Thomas Hardy Dorchester hotel' to reopen in 2018

Kings Arms Hotel in Dorchester
Image caption Queen Victoria is said to have stayed at the hotel

A hotel immortalised in Thomas Hardy's novel The Mayor of Casterbridge is to reopen next year, its owners have said.

The Kings Arms Hotel closed in November 2015 after going into receivership 10 months earlier under previous owners.

It had originally been due to reopen in spring this year but was put back to late 2017 after planning delays.

New owner, pub company Draco, says work for the revamp is due to go out to tender "in a few weeks" with the opening now earmarked for mid-2018.

During its 300-year history, the grade II* listed hotel has hosted monarchs and musicians.

The Kings Arms was also the coaching inn frequented by the mayor of Casterbridge in Hardy's novel of the same name.

According to the Best Western group, to which the hotel was previously affiliated, real life guests have included Queen Victoria, King George IV, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Draco director James Brooke-Webb said: "Once a contractor has been selected we will be in a position to start. All being well, opening should be mid-2018 but that will be confirmed in due course."

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