Co-owner of award winning hotel group on Skye dies

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Ken Gunn, co-owner of award-winning Sonas Hotels group on Skye, has died at the age of 67.

Gunn, together with his wife Anne, own three boutiques in Scotland after first acquiring their first property, Toravaig House in 2003.

Prior to this he was captain of the cruise ship the Hebridean Princess, sailing around the UK, Ireland and Norway.

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The Hebridean Princess, twice chartered by Queen Elizabeth including a trip to celebrate her 80th birthday, was the model for the nine bedroom Toravaig which the couple insisted should be ‘a luxury ship ashore.’

They went on to purchase and develop the nearby Duisdale House, voted Scotland’s Best Hotel in the 2013 Thistle Awards by VisitScotland and Best Independent Hotel in the Catering Scotland Awards in 2015.

In 2016 they bought Skeabost House near Portree in the north of the island and recently completed a total refurbishment and extension.

In the Islands’ section of the 2018 Scottish Hotel Awards the three hotels won six different categories among them.

Skeabost, which now has 18 bedrooms, was voted Scotland’s Island Hotel of the Year in 2016 and again in 2017.

He and Anne began offering cruises for hotel guests on the 36 foot luxury yacht Solus in 2005, he as skipper and Anne as First Mate, twice updating it with larger craft, latterly the 50 foot Solus a Chuain (Light of the Ocean). The hotels were the only ones in Scotland with a luxury yacht reserved exclusively for guests. Scores of weddings were conducted on board. He took special pride in taking many guests to St Kilda, his mother’s and grandparents’ former home.

“Ken was a perfect gentleman and at one with the sea,” Anne recalled. “From a young age he was regularly on the sea in various forms of craft. His contributions to the success of Sonas Hotels were immense. He had a firm focus on attention to detail and insisted on the highest standards.”

He is survived by Anne, a son and daughter, and his stepfamily at Skeabost.

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