EXCLUSIVE: August brings record-breaking month for Scotland’s top boutique hotels

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Two of Scotland’s top boutiques boasted their ‘best ever’ results in August of this year, with the businesses winning trade off the back of Brexit, the weak pound and the boost of the staycation.

Owner of Airds in Port Appin Shaun McKivragan revealed exclusively to BH that August had been the best month for the hotel since him and his wife took over ownership 15 years ago.

The property, which comprises 11 bedrooms and a 3 AA Rosette restaurant, has grown its occupancy from 50% to 65% throughout the year, with summers reaching full capacity.

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Turnover has also increased each year since McKivragan took over in 2002.

“Scotland is seen as a safe place, he tells BH, “so things happening in London and Europe have had a positive impact. That and the exchange rate.”

Now Airds sees strong business from around the world, with winter attracting mainly Scots and English guests, while the summer McKivragan says trade is split with guests falling into one of three categories; 30% Europeans, 30% Americans and 30% British.

“We’ve got more aggressive,” he adds. “It used to just be rack rate and that was it, but now we are almost doing dynamic pricing, with offers for September and October especially.  That’s the way it’s going.

“We’ve got the occupancy up and now we want to focusing on more profitable.”

Alongside Airds, Cameron House at Loch Lomond, which was recently undergone a £4m refurbishment over the last 12 months, also boasted its best month on record for sales.

The launch of the five-star hotel’s luxury outdoor terrace in June brought a major boost for the property and marked the end of the renovation period, which has also seen public areas, bedrooms and the restaurant spruced up.

Cameron House sits in 400 acres and is home to 136 bedrooms and a whole host of activities, plus a Michelin-star Martin Wishart restaurant. The hotel is owned by KSL who purchased the property in 2015. A new activities manager has also just been hired to help drive this side of the business.

The hotel’s occupancy is up at an impressive 98% for weekends in the summer months.

Marketing manager Gemma Hegarty told BH: “We are focusing on driving our midweek business, given weekend stays were so popular throughout the summer and tend to be busier all year round. August has been the best month ever on record for us and it’s great to have owners who are very keen to invest in the resort.”

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