Search

Couple hope to transform pub and hotel into East Anglian icon

PUBLISHED: 18:12 01 August 2018 | UPDATED: 08:22 02 August 2018

Daniel Espen and Zainab Khan have taken over the Bell Hotel in Clare Picture: GREENE KING

Daniel Espen and Zainab Khan have taken over the Bell Hotel in Clare Picture: GREENE KING

Archant

A couple who travelled the length and breadth of the country earlier this year in search of their first hotel to run together have settled on a historic Suffolk building.

The Bell Hotel in Clare Picture: GREENE KINGThe Bell Hotel in Clare Picture: GREENE KING

Daniel Esplen and Zainab Khan covered more than 12,000 miles looking for the right opportunity – and found The Bell Hotel in Clare fitted the bill perfectly.

The Grade II-listed building, based at Market Hill in the town, is an old coaching inn and is owned by Greene King Pub Partners.

“It’s been a long journey to get here,” Daniel said. “In January we decided this was what we wanted to do. We quit our jobs and travelled around the UK, but when we found The Bell Hotel it felt like the right opportunity.

“It’s a fantastic building, with a 28-seat restaurant, a bar and lounge along with 15 guest rooms and two function rooms. It’s an amazing space that we want to make the most of.”

The couple have more than 40 years of experience in the hospitality industry.

Daniel started working in pubs in his home county of Essex before going on to manage renovations, rebrands and relaunches for bars, restaurants and hotels across five different countries. He was most recently hotel manager at the Sofitel Heathrow airport.

Zainab has also worked in a number of different countries for the hospitality industry, including bars, restaurants and airlines with experiences in sales, marketing and public relations.

In recent years, The Bell Hotel has often been a pub first and hotel second.

While wanting to retain the pub feel and also create a two-AA-rosette-standard restaurant, the couple are aiming to enhance the hotel side of the business to make it a real destination venue under one roof, providing somewhere for visitors to Clare to stay overnight.

They also hope to employ a number of staff from the local area.

Zainab said: “The goal is that when someone leaves The Bell Hotel, we want them to say to themselves ‘It was worth every penny’ and walk away with a great experience.

“We want to invest in developing people and that’s very much a part of our vision for the hotel as well.”

Daniel and Zainab officially took over the business on July 31, but it is now briefly closed so Greene King can carry out a three-week refurbishment to the downstairs area – with a further investment of the accommodation area planned in a few months’ time.

John Forrest, managing director of Greene King Pub Partners, said: “I wish Daniel and Zainab all the best for their new venture at the Bell Hotel. “They have ambitious and exciting plans for the business and I’m sure their passion and enthusiasm will be welcomed by the Clare community.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Sudbury Mercury visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Sudbury Mercury staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Sudbury Mercury account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other popular content

A Suffolk man has received a prestigious award from the prime minister for championing mental health awareness following the death of his twin brother.

06:43

The Met Office is warning of a potential “danger to life” as momentum builds for strong winds across Suffolk and north Essex.

9 minutes ago

A charity auction featuring 300 personal items belonging to Suffolk superstar Ed Sheeran will be held in his home county of Suffolk – and it’s open to everybody.

20 minutes ago

A Suffolk dairy farmer said he was “really chuffed” after his cheese-making story provided the inspiration for a plot in the popular BBC Radio 4 soap, The Archers.

Show Job Lists

Local weather

Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 11°C

Newsletter Sign Up

Sudbury Mercury weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24