The Doune Braes Hotel is an impressive property in a most breathtaking location with uninterrupted views over a beautiful lochan offering trout fishing. The original subjects were built in the 1890s but were transformed into a hotel in 1967 and fully upgraded in 1997. During the vendor’s tenure, she has maintained high standards and injected inward investment. This destination hotel has a strong 50-year trading history and during that period it has benefited from having only 2 owners. Situated in the village of Carloway the hotel is in a most tranquil setting which attracts many visitors each year. The Doune Braes is the nearest hotel to the Callanish Standing Stones. This popular business has many exceptional features and offers an excellent trading opportunity. The combination of bright and airy dining rooms with beautiful views as well as comfortable en-suite letting bedrooms makes this a highly desirable proposition. The property offers flexible accommodation which may suit either an extended family or partnership. The business trades with 16 letting bedrooms at present, with self-contained accommodation for a live-in manager; the owner lives off-site.
A further appealing feature of this hotel is the large 160m2 industrial building to the rear of the hotel. This spacious yet inconspicuous building offers excellent and flexible space to conduct a vast array of activities. The building could be used as a general storage area or developed for other uses subject to consents. Within the grounds is a further building which could be utilised as further accommodation; prior planning was sought and granted but has subsequently lapsed.
The business trades comfortably from the 16 en-suite letting bedrooms, restaurant and bar. Turnover has increased year-on-year with the resultant profitability sitting at £77,000. However, it is worth noting that the vendor operates as a sole trader with the use of a live-in manager during the summer season. New owners may not need to employ a seasonal manager and be able to trim the wages overhead if they operate as a partnership. Various agencies such as booking.com are used to generate consistently high bookings. The hotel enjoys a sound level of repeat business generating excellent reviews which ensures a consistently high occupancy level. The catering fayre and bar is popular with both locals and tourists alike plus the casual passing trade.
The business trades exceptionally well but the proprietor firmly believes that in new motivated and capable hands the business could be taken to the next level. The key area where new owners could make a further significant impact would be in the provision of further accommodation and enhancing the food provision.
REASON FOR SALE
The vendor purchased Doune Braes Hotel House in 1982 and has since then operated it as a rewarding and successful venture. The on-going investment into the property has established a sound business model. It is her decision to retire from the hospitality sector that brings this outstanding opportunity to the market.
The hotel is located on the A858 which is a circular road from Stornoway. Situated about 2.5 miles from the village of Carloway which has a population of around 500, the village has a primary school and store. Situated on the Outer Hebridean Island of Lewis, The Doune Braes Hotel enjoys a truly idyllic setting with panoramic views across a lochan and to the moorlands beyond. Lewis is the largest of the Western Isles with the town of Stornoway, 21 miles away from the hotel, having a population of approximately 8,000 and home to the island’s highly acclaimed secondary school. There is also a university and hospital, as well as a wide range of shops, cafés and restaurants in Stornoway. The Island with its undulating but varied landscape, sandy beaches and peat moorland, makes Lewis a popular destination for visitors. The magnificent Standing Stones of Callanish, only 5 miles from the hotel, are famous worldwide for their enigmatic and magical qualities. Lewis is also a haven for bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts who enjoy the vast array of seabirds as well as otters, deer and eagles. Other attractions include museums, art venues and a brewery, as well as famous local delicacies including Stornoway black pudding, kippers and smoked salmon. Lewis also benefits from regular flights from Stornoway to Inverness, Edinburgh and Glasgow and ferry services are operated by Caledonian MacBrayne and details can be found on their website (www.calmac.co.uk). There is a bus stop immediately across from the hotel with regular services to Stornoway.
The original property dates from 1890 previously being the local school until 1967 when it was converted into a Hotel. The hotel undertook a full modernization and upgrade in 1997 with continual improvements being added over the years. Set over 2 floors within spacious grounds, this property has a substantial footprint. The hotel has well-maintained raised planters, ample concrete car park and is well-sign posted.
All public areas are presented to a good standard with attractive décor presenting a warm and relaxing ambience. Access to the main building is via an entrance portico and thereafter into the reception area to the right-hand extent of the building. These in turn give access to the dining room and stairs leading to the first floor letting bedrooms. The dining room is a rectangle space offering superlative views towards the Lochan and countryside beyond. Set to tables and chairs with attractive tartan carpeting, this area is a popular dining option and set to 36 covers. Off the lounge is the lounge and lounge bar which has a cosy fireplace which is popular with guests on the autumn nights. The lounge bar servery is of attractive wood design plus the stools, tables, chairs and soft furnishing in these areas are of a good standard. The lounge bar offers further dining space for up to 20 settings. Off the lounge bar are ladies and gents toilets.
With its own separate access, there is a spacious public bar which has a hard-wearing wood floor and attractive servery. The bar has a darts lane, pool table and large TV. The bar is popular with both locals and visitors alike and has dedicated ladies and gents W.C.s.
The first floor has 16 letting bedrooms with en-suite facilities which are presented to a good standard. The 3 rooms on the ground floor provide access for less abled guests. Rooms are provisioned with hospitality trays, TVs and hair dryers and configured as follows:
Rooms 1 to 5 - Single with en-suite shower rooms
Room 6 and 7 - Twin rooms with bath with shower over
Room 8 - Family room (double plus 2 singles) with bath with shower over
Room 9 - Double with en-suite shower room
Room 10 - Family (double plus single) with en-suite shower room
Room 11 - Twin with en-suite bathroom
Room 12 - Twin with en-suite bathroom
Broch Suite - Double bedroom, with lounge, utility room and en-suite bathroom with shower
Room 14 - Double with en-suite shower room with private access
Room 15 - Twin with en-suite shower room
Room 16 – Family room (double and single bed) with en-suite bathroom with shower over
With a fully provisioned commercial kitchen and supporting storage facilities, the food production aspects of the business are of a good standard. The business has a cellar, staff room and linen stores.
The hotel boasts an excellent level of amenity ground. There is a substantial car parking area laid to concrete. There are external seating areas which take advantage of the stunning views on offer. To the side of the hotel there is a patio area off the owners’ accommodation.
Within the subjects is a large industrial unit which is presently used for storage and laundry. This extensive building extends to 40m by 40m and there is a great deal of under-utilised space. Such a building could be used for a range of activities such as outdoor activity storage and training room, workshop / art studio or indeed general industrial applications. The vendor had contemplated developing a storage building into additional letting accommodation but the application lapsed. New owners could, we believe, resurrect this application is so desired.
There is a building within the subjects that previously had planning permission to be converted to further accommodation units. It is the opinion of the vendor that this could be resurrected but new owners would need to satisfy themselves of the veracity of this assumption. The planning reference number for the lapse planning is 11/00447/PPD dated 07 Sep 2011. Full details are online at http://planning.cne-siar.gov.uk.
The subjects benefit from mains electricity, water and drainage. Heating is oil-fired with two separate boilers. Cooking is provided by way of LPG. With an integral fire alarm system, the hotel is fully compliant with legislation. Wi-Fi is available throughout and was recently upgraded to fibre optic.
The hotel has a turnover of c £323,000 returning a net profit of around £77,000 (2016). Doune Braes Hotel is presently operated by a sole proprietor and where new owners were to be a hands-on partnership it would be a reasonable assumption to suggest that profits could be raised further, say to around £90,000. Full accounting information will be made available to seriously interested parties subsequent to formal viewing.