New life has been breathed into a much loved Dorchester hotel.

The King’s Arms, which has welcomed Royalty and The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, is this week’s Hotel of the Week.

Dorset Echo:

The revived venue has reopened after a near five year wait.

Here, Kirsty Schmidt, the hotel’s general manager tells us what makes this historic hotel so special.

Dorset Echo:

Kirsty Schmidt, general manager of the King's Arms

History of the Pub

The roots of The King’s Arms date back to the 16th century though it is doubtful whether any of this earlier building survives.

The current building dates from 1720. It’s one of Dorchester’s most iconic and treasured landmarks and is steeped in history. It featured extensively in Hardy’s novel, The Mayor of Casterbridge as well as in Far from The Madding Crowd and has a roll call of glamorous guests from former years and has hosted monarchs and musicians.

Previous guests have included Queen Victoria, King George IV, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones as well as – of course – on many occasions, Thomas Hardy.

Dorset Echo:

The King's Arms in bygone days

Is food served, and if so, what’s on the menu?

Breakfast is served from 8.00am – 11.00am everyday with a wide selection of tea & coffee, fresh bread, homemade granola and a choice of freshly prepared hot dishes such as: smoked salmon, poached eggs and smashed avocado; grilled halloumi, smokey beans and hash browns; and The Full King’s Arms. full menu is available every day from 12-9.30pm and we serve food which is local, authentic and, above all, tastes fantastic. We welcome children in the restaurant and offer them a special menu, or we can do many of the main menu dishes in a smaller size. Delights include: crispy lamb scrumpet; slow cooked rotisserie pork belly; dry aged Jurassic coast rump steak; and a great range of fresh local fish. And we do a fabulous Sunday lunch with a variety of traditional roasts as well as vegan, fish and vegetarian dishes, served 12-9pm every Sunday.

Dorset Echo:

The hotel's restaurant

Most popular drink served?

The bar is open all day every day. We have a fabulous wine list with several wines available by the glass. We’ve got a great range of local craft ales and ciders.

There’s a really interesting gin selection and we can make a fabulous cocktail. Our cocktails are already proving very popular.

The Casterbridge is a real hit.

Dorset Echo:

Comfy seating in the hotel's bar

Most memorable moment?

Thursday 17th September 2020 when we opened our doors!

Have you faced any challenges within the industry?

I’m a young, female manager, so people are sometimes surprised that I’m in a senior role. Being taken seriously was hard when I first became a GM.

Best thing about running a hotel?

Meeting people and becoming part of the local community.

Creating a beautiful, welcoming and relaxed space that provides excellent service, delicious food and drinks, and first-class accommodation is wonderful.

We aim to provide a hub for both locals and guests.

How have you responded to the challenge of coronavirus?

Our staff wear masks and have a temperature check every day & fill in a health questionnaire before starting work. We won’t allow anyone with any Covid-19 symptoms to start a shift and we check that the correct self-isolation procedures are followed. Everyone will have the appropriate personal protection equipment in line with government guidelines and will have been trained in the new service techniques to meet health & safety standards.

We take all customers' details for track and trace, rigorous cleaning, social distancing, and hand sanitising stations around the property that can be easily used. Seating is well spaced and there are screens between dining tables.

We carefully control the number of people in the building so that we can control movement on the floor and help our customers through these changes and manage any stresses and strains.

Is there anything you would like to add that people might find of interest about your hotel?

Renovating The King’s Arms has been a long project but it’s been worth it. We’ve kept the unique character of The King’s Arms but breathed new life into it and brought into the modern world. The food is delicious, the atmosphere warm and relaxed.

Come and see us, we’d be happy to show you around!

If you would like your pub or hotel to be considered for the Dorset Echo’s Pub or Hotel of the Week feature, fill out our simple Q&A form here and attach pictures. Or email joanna.davis@ for more information.