THE favourite watering hole of poet Dylan Thomas, which has welcomed celebrity visitors from royalty to screen stars, has been bought by a Welsh business couple.

Brown’s Hotel, in the centre of Laugharne, was put on the market earlier this year for £795,000, together with its nearby property, the New Three Mariners pub, which had an asking price of £395,000.

Martyn Ingram and his partner Mel Hamilton-Searle are now the new owners of both the properties.

Mr Ingram, 57, owns engineering businesses in Ammanford, Swansea and Port Talbot and amongst the couple’s property portfolio is Sea View in Laugharne, where Dylan Thomas and his wife Caitlin lived when they were first married.

Mr Ingram, who said he paid 'below the asking price' for the properties, told the Western Telegraph:  

I feel a great affinity with Dylan Thomas and Laugharne, having holidayed in the area for many years.

"I know there was concern in Laugharne over who would buy Brown’s, and I really felt that I ought to secure this iconic building to keep its local identity and respect its heritage and architecture.

"I don’t think I will ever be making any money out of Brown’s – it’s just something I want to see work, and a labour of love.”

 Mr Ingram plans to lease out the restaurant and bar of Brown’s, with the 14-bedroomed hotel being run by Ms Hamilton-Searle and the current manager. The Mariners will continue to operate under its existing management.

‘We’re planning on re-opening Brown’s at the end of October,” he continued.

It’s a lovely hotel, and although we will be doing some refurbishment on the rooms, we will not be making any structural alterations and certainly not taking away the Dylan Thomas association.”

Selling agents Sidney Phillips of Hereford, who specialise in the sale and lease of licensed property said there had been 'a great deal of interest' since the properties were put up for sale in July.

The previous owner of the 18th century property, Penderyn Whisky chairman Nigel Short, carried out a £1m refurbishment of Brown’s eight years ago.

The project, carried out with the help of a £300,000 funding package from the Welsh Government and monuments body Cadw, also saw all the original woodwork retained in the bar where Dylan and Caitlin were regular customers.

The Grade II Listed property had previously fallen into disrepair after a short-lived time belonging to Men Behaving Badly actor Neil Morrissey and co-owners, who paid £670,000.

Dylan Thomas's association has led to visits over the years from then USA president Jimmy Carter; Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor; musicians Cerys Matthews and Patti Smith; Peter O'Toole, Mick Jagger and Pierce Brosnan.

And in July 2013, shortly after Brown's grand re-opening, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall rendezvoused there during their visit to Laugharne during their summer tour.

They were the first royalty to be welcomed to the township since Henry II in the 12th century.

Mr Ingram added: “I wanted to buy Brown’s to ensure that everyone visiting it has a really good, value for money experience, whether they are staying, eating in the restaurant or just having a drink.

“I’m hoping that it will really work and will help to rise the profile of Laugharne, as well as being used by locals as well.”