EXCLUSIVE: UK’s first vegan hotel already on hunt for second site following launch success

Saorsa 1875 Founders

The owners of the UK’s first completely vegan hotel are already on the lookout for their second site, just one month of from the launch of their debut property in Scotland.

Saorsa 1875 opened in Pitlochry in the Highlands in June and is completely free from animal products, comprising 11 bedrooms and a restaurant that serves plant-based and vegan dishes.

Owners CEO Sandra McLaren-Stewart, described as the ‘brains’ behind the business and Jack McLaren-Stewart, 26, who are all vegans, told Boutique Hotelier that they’d been ‘totally blown away’ by the response so far to the new business, with visitors from as far afield as Australia and Japan booking stays at the hotel.

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Sandra McLaren-Stewart said that while Saorsa 1875 was the first, ‘it definitely won’t be the last’ and that the team was already on the hunt for the ‘perfect spot’ to expand into their second site.

“Not only has the vegan community wholeheartedly embraced us and thrown their passion behind it; I’d say about 55% of our visitors are vegan and the rest are vegetarian, flexitarian or sometimes just curious.”

Saorsa 1875 took over the former Birchwood Hotel and opened after an eight month renovation project that was privately funded to create the 100 per cent vegan experience.

All of the house-keeping products are eco-friendly and cruelty-free, and the hotel’s power system, Ecotricity, is Vegan Society certified.

Ingredients are grown in Saorsa 1875’s vegetable patch or sourced from local suppliers with all wines, spirits and cocktails at the bar vegan, too.

McLaren-Stewart adds that the main driving focuses for the development of the hotel was to dispel some of the myths associated with veganism, and create a special place for vegans to come.

“We had two aims when we took over,” she explains. “The first was to create a cool, comfortable place where vegans could stay without feeling like they were compromising on their ethics. The second was to smash some of the stereotypes that still surround veganism – it’s not the hemp-clad abstinent lifestyle that many still think but a vibrant, compassionate way of life and a hub of incredible innovation. We also wanted to entice some non-vegans to see what it’s all about.”

Now the owners are concentrating on further development on the two acres of hotel grounds, creating a ‘haven’ for local wildlife and installing outdoor hot tubs.

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Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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