Argyll hotel chain is sold
A CHAIN of Argyll hotels has been sold in a multi-million-pound deal.
Ian Cleaver has offloaded his Highland Heritage Limited to global chain MGM Muthu Hotels.
The transaction sees Mr Cleaver’s company sold from the asking price of offers in excess of £4.5 million to Singapore-based MGM Muthu Group.
A former merchant seaman and wellknown Argyll businessman, Mr Cleaver started Highland Heritage in the mid-1970s and built it into a £ 8 million turnover company, which uses its own fleet of 16 liveried coaches to shuttle tourists to the hotels in Tyndrum, Dalmally and Oban.
The Highland Heritage Limited sale includes the Volvo coaches and four hotels: the 96-room Royal Hotel – which is a magnet for wildlife enthusiasts due, in part, to its stunning views – and the 132-room purpose-built Ben Doran Hotel, nestled in its own sheltered seven-acre garden in the mountain village, on the northern edge of the Loch Lomond National Park. Both are in Tyndrum.
The Dalmally Hotel is described as ‘a true haven with 99 rooms, commanding breathtaking views in the heart of Strathorchy, perfectly situated to make the most of the historical, cultural and natural delights of Argyll and Bute’.
And the 66-bedroom Alexandra Hotel in Oban, with 26 more rooms in planning, ‘offers gorgeous views across Oban Bay’.
Julian Troup, head of UK hotels agency at Colliers International, which facilitated the deal, commented: ‘Considerable interest was expressed for the business and assets, which follows a pattern of increasing demand for UK provincial hotels.
‘We are seeing an emerging trend of increased demand for quality provincial hotel opportunities from a diverse buyer set, including international investors, who have been attracted by weaker sterling and improving trading prospects; private buyers attracted to the benefits of a lifestyle opportunity to corporate investors attracted to favourable returns and real estate alternatives.
‘Since the beginning of 2016, more than 15 per cent of UK hotel sales completed by Colliers were to international buyers.’
Monicca Maran, corporate director of MGM Muthu Group and K Ranjan, CEO of Highgate Asset Management Ltd, who assisted with the acquisitions, said: ‘ We are extremely thrilled about the five properties that spell a surreal scenery magically enveloped in the enchanting views of Scotland.’
The Highland Heritage sale did not include Kilchurn Castle, the 15thcentury redoubt of the Clan Campbell on the banks of Loch Awe, which is owned by Mr Cleaver and had been offered for sale alongside his hospitality business. It is currently managed by Historic Scotland.
The Alexandra Hotel on Oban’s Esplanade, above, and the Royal Hotel in Tyndrum, below, are among the assets sold by Highland Heritage Ltd.