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Scottish Hotel News – May

Enjoy these short Scottish Hotel News stories from May.

Boclair’s Gatsby-themed night raises £4K

Boclair House Hotel in Bearsden, Glasgow, celebrated its first birthday and raised over £4,000 for charity recently. The venue hosted a Great Gatsby-themed party, and funds raised on the night went to Glasgow-based, Cure Crohn’s Colitis.

The management team (pictured) turned out in force to celebrate.

Craig Haddow, General Manager, Boclair House Hotel said, “A fantastic night was had by all and all our guests made a spectacular effort to get into the Great Gatsby theme. We’re delighted to support the Cure Crohn’s Colitis charity and to raise much-needed funds for their vital research into these debilitating diseases.”

MacDonald Hotels Creates Next Generation of Hoteliers

Macdonald Hotels & Resorts is looking for 22 graduates with a 2:1 degree or higher to join this year’s graduate programme through open applications to 19 hotels across the UK.

The 18-month training scheme, which starts up again in September 2017, aims to help budding hospitality professionals take the first steps into a new career through hands-on experience across all areas of the hotel business.

More than 33 graduates have successfully completed the original programme and went on to take up full-time professional positions with the Macdonald Hotel Group. Now, improvements have been made to the scheme which will see a dedicated senior mentor work with each graduate to ensure they hit the ground running and develop the skills needed for a successful future in the fast-moving industry. There’s also an increased salary and a generous annual leave entitlement, as well as other staff benefits.

Those who successfully complete the course are guaranteed a full-time position within the business.

Gordon Fraser, deputy chairman and group managing director of Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, said, “Our training programmes offer excellent experience for young people with a passion for good service and the ambition to work in hospitality.

The Macdonald Hotels Group is focused on developing and rewarding talent and giving graduates and those starting out in their careers the opportunities and support they need to fulfil their potential. By giving them real hands-on training and experience in every area of the hotel business, we are creating the hoteliers of the future.”

In addition to its new graduate programme, the Macdonald Hotel Group, which has 48 hotels and resorts across the UK, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal, has also launched its new Hotelier programme. Created to be the perfect next step for those already working in the hotel group, who are keen to develop their career in hospitality. Trainees will be nominated by their senior managers and it’s hoped that many staff members will complete the programme in 2017-18.

For more information about subscribing to the graduate programme in 2017, go to

Travelodge set to open 21 hotels

Hotel giant Travelodge is looking for a site in Galashiels which will be its first hotel in the Borders as well as a further 20 sites in Scotland. The news came as the hotel group opened its new Peterhead hotel. Craig Bonnar, Travelodge’s chief operating officer, said, “The value hotel market continues to go from strength to strength in Scotland, boosted by ever more cost-conscious businesses looking to reduce travel costs and the growth in independent leisure travel.”

Ugie Hotel Invests

Keith hotel Ugie House has revamped its rooms thanks to making significant savings on its utilities. JPR Energy reduced Ugie House Hotel’s bills by more than £16,000 in just one year, simply by identifying the most efficient tariffs. Ugie House Hotel has 10 rooms, a 50-seat restaurant and a bar and June McKay, of Ugie House Hotel, comments,

“The savings we made were phenomenal. It was unbelievable that by switching tariffs, we could reduce our bills so dramatically.

“As a business, we are always looking to improve our offering and bring more people to the venue to enjoy a night away, a lovely meal or a great function. Having this extra resource allowed us to redirect funds into refurbishing some of our rooms.”

Watson & Lowe Buy the Carrick Lodge and Re-Brand

Alan Watson and Allan Lowe will re-open The Carrick Lodge Hotel in Ayr as The Fox and Willow after buying it out of administration at the beginning of April. The two business partners have spent £100K refurbishing the 3-star hotel and restaurant and expect it to be open in June.

Alan, the former General Manager of The Jefferson in Kilmarnock, and Allan, the man behind 22 in Beresford Terrace in Ayr, are old friends having known each other for nearly 20 years. The duo gained much of their early experience working for Costley & Costley.

Alan told Hotel Scotland, “The Carrick Lodge is a bit of an institution in Ayr, We have given the restaurant and bar a full interior refurbishment. Initially we thought it would need less, but we have gone for a new contemporary look which will have plenty of atmosphere. We are confident that we will be able to make a success of it.”

He continues, “We have kept the six hotel rooms much the same, as they were refurbished more recently. Any changes to the rooms will be phase 2.”

New boutique-style hotel for Morningside

Scottish Hotel News

The Lane Hotel is a new six-bedroomed boutique hotel, situated on Canaan Lane, next to the Canny Man pub in Edinburgh’s Morningside. The owners, the Kerr family, own both the pub and the new hotel which was built at the same time in 1871. Amy Kerr told Hotel Scotland, “It is a large Victorian house and as a result, the rooms are a great size. For many years we used it for bedsits but we decided it would make a better luxury boutique hotel. All of the rooms are very spacious and have been individually designed. We also have a Garden Room which has its own private terrace. The hotel boasts an honesty bar and it also has a snack room, where all the snacks are complimentary.” She adds, “Meals can be taken at the Canny Man, but continental breakfasts will be available for guests, delivered in a basket, to their rooms.”


Ayr’s Belleisle House Hotel redevelopment plans move forward

John and Senga Campbell of Campbell Inns are hopefully set to continue their redevelopment plans of Ayr’s Belleisle House Hotel, which ground to a halt after the company reached a stalemate with South Ayrshire Council over parking requirements, and other planning issues. Now following an intervention by a local politician, Chic Brodie, work could re-start but only if a draft agreement is finalised between the Council and Campbell Inns.

The company bought the former Belleisle House from the Council five years ago, but property developer and hotel owner John Campbell had been having ongoing discussions with the Council about the purchase of the property as far back as 2010. In the meantime, Campbell Inns successfully transformed the Dumfries Arms in Cumnock into a hotel and wedding venue. Originally they had planned to spend £5m turning Belleisle House into a luxury five-star hotel, but this all came to a halt after South Ayrshire granted planning permission on the condition that the hotel had 127 parking spaces. This wasn’t possible with the land available at the time. However, now it appears that another parcel of land will allow the conditions to be met.

John Campbell told Hotel Scotland, “We now have a draft agreement, which is with both our lawyers. Hopefully, we will be able to resolve the outstanding issues over parking by the end of the month. I do agree that we need the number of parking spaces that the Council have specified, but if there was no land available I don’t how we could have met the requirements.” Watch this space.

New Hotel with Sky Bar

Glasgow City Council has given the thumbs up to a new 150-bedroom boutique hotel complex complete with a sky bar, ground floor restaurant and retail space. Developers Clyde Dixon has earmarked £20m – which will be spent developing the 17-story building which will be situated on the corner of Clyde Street and Dixon Street.

However, plans for the hotel, which will overlook the River Clyde, will now be sent to Scottish Ministers for their approval, following objections from Historic Scotland and SPT.

Dunraven Lodge

Looking for a new business project? Dunraven Lodge in Strathpeffer is up for sale at offers around £565K and is considered to be perfect for turning into a small Boutique hotel. It has 11 bedrooms, 4 ensuite, a lounge, dining room, kitchen, laundry room, study, sitting room, family room and 1.5 acres of land. The category B-listed, dating from 1901, was originally built by sisters Catherine and Aline Corbett and has operated as a small hotel in the past. Orlaith Brogan, a spokeswoman for SPC Scotland, said, While it has a rich history, the property has been lovingly upgraded by its current owners. “This property would make an ideal bed and breakfast or a boutique-style hotel, particularly as Strathpeffer is one of the most popular towns for visitors in the Highlands.”

DoubleTree by Hilton in Dundee sold to 7 Hospitality

Scottish Hotel News

The 95-bed Double Tree by Hilton hotel in Dundee, has been sold to Singapore-owned 7 Hospitality (UK) Ltd. It is headed up Harry’s Bar founder Mohan Mulani. The deal, believed to be worth in the region of £5.5m, is the first UK purchase by the company.

Mr Mulani, who grew Harry’s Bar to a 27-strong chain, before selling to a private equity fund four years ago, will work alongside Richard Ellison, the hotel’s General Manager. Ellison has also been made a Director of the hotel.

Craig Dickson, Director at Christie Finance, the specialist commercial finance broker, who arranged the funding package via Santander Corporate & Commercial Banking for its client, comments, “We are seeing more and more overseas hotel operators/investors now looking outside of London. With the ongoing waterfront development, which will include the V&A Museum of Design, the Dundee hotel market is well placed to take advantage of the expected increase in tourists.”

The hotel is subject to a franchise agreement with Hilton Worldwide Inc under their DoubleTree by Hilton brand.

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