Argyll ho­tel chain is sold

The Oban Times - - BUSINESS -

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.

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