Tourism

Argyll hotel plans major upgrade

An Argyll hotel is to embark on a major upgrade that will boost its star rating and create new jobs. Loch Melfort Hotel, situated between Oban and Kilmartin, has secured £101,000 investment towards the £290,000 project from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

It will involve increasing the number of rooms from 25 to 30, upgrading star rating from three to four, and boosting turnover by around 30%.

The changes will enable the hotel to target high end domestic and international tour operators, which will increase their international sales by around 50%.

Loch Melfort Hotel is next to the National Trust for Scotland’s Arduaine Garden and overlooks the sound of Kerrera. It was taken over by the current owners, Calum and Rachel Ross, in 2008.

They targeted the business at more at small, high-end tour groups and independent leisure travellers, specifically focusing on outdoor activity, garden, wildlife and photography-themed tours. As a result turnover has almost doubled and the hotel has won several prestigious industry hotel and food awards.

Jennifer Nicoll, HIE area manager for Argyll and the Islands, said: “High level accommodation is crucial to the development of the tourism offering in mid Argyll. Loch Melfort Hotel is well placed to be able to provide this. The owners’ investment plans, aimed at the higher end of the market, will help attract more visitors to Argyll, something that will benefit the wider region, and create valuable new jobs.”

Proprietor Calum Ross said: “Over the last eight years Rachel and I have striven to create a sustainable business model for our hotel, centred on employing excellent local staff, providing great customer service, local knowledge and a warm welcome for guests visiting Argyll. 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of Loch Melfort Hotel and this investment will help build on our reputation and enhance the standard of accommodation we provide for years to come.”

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