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August News Shorts

The Inn at Lathones seeks new owner 

The Inn at Lathones (pictured above), a historic East Neuk coaching inn, complete with lounge bar, 34 cover restaurant, function suite and 21 bedrooms and only five miles from St Andrews, is up for sale. Offers around £795,000 are being sought by DM Hall who are responsible for selling the business. The business has a 3-star Visit Scotland rating.

Leonardo buys five Scottish hotels

Leonardo Hotels has aquired hotels across Scotland with the acquisition of the Portland Hotels portfolio for an estimated £42m. This adds an additional 536 bedrooms in Scotland to the Leonardo estate and increases the companies presence in Edinburgh to 445 bedooms.
Leonardo Hotels, is the European division of Fattal Hotels Group, an Israeli organisation owned by David Fattal. It operates more than 80 venues in 40 destinations. Until the acquisition of the five its only other Scottish hotel was the Leonardo Royal Hotel Edinburgh. Now, however, the Edinburgh City Hotel, the Edinburgh Capital, the Glasgow Pond Hotel, the Speedbird Inn at Aberdeen Airport and The Huntingtower in Perth have joined its portfolio. Said Daniel Roger, Leonardo Hotels Europe Managing Director, “When we entered the market in the UK two years ago, we made it our goal to further expand our portfolio and strengthen the name recognition of the Leonardo Hotels brand.
“The purchase of Portland Hotels underscores this. I am convinced that our guests will love and appreciate this expansion of our offerings in key destinations across Scotland.”
Leonardo Hotels were advised by JLL Hotels and Hospitality Group and West Ridge Asset Management, French Duncan and DLA Piper. Brodies represented the exiting shareholders.



Two Aberdeen Holiday Inns have been bought out of administration by the Cairn Group.

The properties are the Holiday Inn Express City Centre and the Holiday Inn Aberdeen West, with 155 beds and 86 beds respectively. The administrators were FRP Advisory and the brokers were JLL’s Hotels & Hospitality Group. Around 125 jobs are said to have been saved as a result of the deal.

Richard Warren, Cairn Group Finance Director, said, “Aberdeen is still a busy thoroughfare for the corporate audience and as a result the convenient locations of the hotels make them popular with visiting trade as well as tourism. It’s fantastic we’ve been able to retain all of the staff based at the two sites.”

Cairn Group, headquartered in Newcastle, already runs 31 hotels and more than 30 bars and restaurants across the UK. One of the locations they own and manage is The Queensferry Hotel, which has had a £15m investment and will reopen as The Double
Tree by Hilton Edinburgh Queensferry Crossing this autumn.


Trivago has now made over 5 billion room rates visible to hoteliers around the world. With its new Rate Insights feature, trivago grants hoteliers access, say the company, “an unbiased and comprehensive set of data on traveller demand and competitor prices”. Through Rate Insights, which is part of the companies complete metasearch marketing solution trivago Hotel Manager PRO, the company aims to provide hoteliers the information to “establish competitive pricing strategies.”

Johannes Thomas, Chief Revenue Officer and Managing Director at trivago, comments, “We were quick to realise that the price comparison data we provide to travellers is equally valuable for hoteliers. Therefore, we created a rate shopper that gives hoteliers easy and actionable access to this data, as well as data on traveller search volume that reveals fluctuations in demand. No other rate shopper has this combination of data in this amount and with this granularity.”

Rate Insights aggregates rates from over 250 websites and allows hoteliers to compare them by room type and other variables. Maximilian Kaufmann, Managing Director, Hotel Alte Krone, Kleinwalsertal, Austria comments, “With the Rate Insights feature we’re able to see our competitors’ prices and position ourselves in the market. And the statistics are beneficial when there are sudden changes in the market and we need to adapt accordingly.”

JD Wetherspoons

JD Wetherspoon have lodged plans to turn the first and second floor of the Archibald Simpson pub building in Aberdeen into hotel rooms. The existing pub area on the ground floor will remain as a pub and male and female toilet facilities available on the first floor will also remain in place but the plans include turning the first and second floors, which are currently used as office space, into 29 hotel rooms. This includes 21 double rooms, three family rooms, two twin rooms, two single rooms and a disabled access room.

The pub group has also proposed developing a 1140- sq ft beer garden to the rear of the building on unused yard space.


Crerar Hotels have been sold to a Thai conglomerate Fico Corporation. The company has bought 12 hotels in total which brings its total estate to 19 in Scotland. The estate includes the Loch Fyne Hotel & Spa, the Oban Bay Hotel and its GoGlasgow hotel. The price has not been revealed but it has been estimated at around £40m with around 50% of the net process to go to the Crerar Trust Charity.

A total of 13 hotels, 12 in Scotland and one – Chevin Country Park Hotel and Spa – in Otley, Yorkshire have changed hands as part of the deal, although the Edinburgh-based business has retained consultancy arm Crerar Management.

Negotiations went on for a year between Krit Srichawla and Sanjay Singh – Chief Executive and Managing Director of Fico respectively – and Crerar Chief Executive Paddy Crerar.

Fico, headquartered in Bangkok, was founded in 1947 by the Srichawla family and has interests ranging from hospitality to luxury retail, technology and media. Its UK holdings include the Lion Hotel, Shrewsbury and the Mercure Ayr Hotel.



The Manorview Hotels & Leisure Group has launched a Profit Share Scheme, called the HeartCount Fund to benefit its entire workforce.

Managing Director Steve Graham has taken the opportunity to focus on people as the Group looks forward to the next stage of growth. He says, “We have just celebrated our 10th birthday and this milestone is a good time to reflect. Like most businesses we started small, but growing bigger has led to new challenges. These include finding effective ways to communicate to all employees, to recognise their worth, develop them as people, and to ensure they feel part of a bigger picture and vision. It’s their hard work and effort that help us to continually grow.”

Under the new Profit Share Scheme announced for the financial year to 31 March 2018, Manorview has committed to allocate 10% of its Pre-Tax Profits to the HeartCount Fund to be shared across the Group’s workforce.

All employees who have worked for the Manorview Group for a continuous period of 12 months will qualify for two Profit Share pay outs; one calculated on half year profits and a further payment based on full year results. The HeartCount Fund will be distributed in proportion to qualifying employee’s earnings. The first Profit Share payment will be made in January 2018.

The Group have said that they are aiming for a initial HeartCount Fund of more than £200K which will be distributed amongst qualifying employees.

The name HeartCount places people at the very centre of Manorview, where people are the pulse, and the heartbeat…‘Heartcounts’ rather than ‘Headcounts’, say the company.

Graham concludes, “Creating a happy and rewarding working environment for our people, will lead to increased levels of service and memorable experiences for the customers who visit us.”

Skye hits the news…

August News

Overcrowding on the Isle of Skye has became a surprisingly fierce topic of debate over the summer.

A stream of stories ran by media outlets spoke of traffic jams on the Skye Bridge and a shortage of accommodation leaving tourists with nowhere to stay for the night, with many of the articles quoting local sergeant Bruce Crawford, who had encouraged visitors to “plan ahead unless they want to spend a night in the car.”

However Lochaber and Skye Police then took issue with the BBC’s reportage in particular, tweeting, “We haven’t said anything like that at all” in response to the public broadcaster’s interpretation of Crawford’s advice.

VisitScotland operate an office in Skye’s capital Portree and confirmed that there have been some issues.

A VisitScotland spokesperson told Hotel Scotland, “We appreciate that some visitors to Skye, who do not know the area, may not be aware of the reduced accommodation options and increasing popularity of the island, and have found difficulty securing accommodation for the night. Our staff have been trying their best to assist these individuals where possible. We are now in the midst of the busiest part of the tourist season.

“In this time when availability is already likely to be limited, we’d urge all visitors to book suitable accommodation before travelling. Our website offers a national booking service and can help visitors plan ahead for their journey to Skye – or indeed any of the other fantastic areas that Scotland has to offer.”

Skye has enjoyed a boost in interest after scenes in motion pictures such as Prometheus, Macbeth and The BFG were filmed there, in addition to the video for Harry Styles’ debut single.

Crawford had originally said, “The summer months are an incredibly busy period on Skye and this is obviously good for business, but it can create problems, especially with accommodation often at a premium.

“I would never advise people against visiting our beautiful island but I would ask people to use common sense before travelling without booking accommodation in advance if they intend to stay overnight.

“People regularly arrive at the station with nowhere to stay asking for advice and it is simply not possible for police to phone round hotels and B&Bs to try and find them accommodation.”


The title of Scotland’s most unusual hotel has surely been claimed – by a Sea King helicopter in a field just outside Stirling!

The former Royal Navy chopper was purchased by farmer Martyn Steedman for £7,000 at a Ministry of Defence auction in Lincolnshire, transported 320 miles north to Mains Farm, Thornhill then cramed into place.

Inside, the helicopter has been sanded, insulated and painted, with a sun dome and glazed patio doors added on one side. There’s a shower, mini kitchen and room enough for a family of five, with prices starting at £195 for one night..

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