Skeabost House Hotel, located just outside Portree, now combines local history with contemporary luxury.
Bought last year by Anne Gracie and Ken Gunn, owners of the Sonas Hotel Group, Skeabost boasts lavish decorations, delightful ambience and relaxing comfort - the result of extensive renovations.
Anne has been involved in hospitality services for a number of years, originally running a guest-house, self-catering and ultimately Quality Grading holiday accommodation.
“The grading background gave me excellent training so that I could evaluate quality,” Anne explains. “Ken and I purchased Toravaig House Hotel in the south of Skye and it became the first hotel in our Sonas Hotel Group.
“Ken had been Captain of Hebridean Princess and he is very driven to provide top service for the guests. Later, Duisdale House Hotel, which is just up the road from Toravaig, came on the market and we bought it in 2007.”
After acquiring Skeabost last April, the team immediately started renovating the 146-year-old hotel.
Anne says: “Our most urgent task was to provide comfort and a welcoming ambience, in the first instance, to guests visiting the hotel before quickly embarking on the refurbishing of the whole hotel along with basic maintenance which had been overlooked.
“The Hotel has such happy memories for people over the years and it was disappointing to see it go into decline. It gives us a great deal of satisfaction to restore it back to its former glory.”
One of Skeabost’s main attractions is its golf course, perfect for a relaxed but active holiday. “We are looking to increase the membership and maximise the course,” Anne reveals.
“We are also promoting the salmon fishing on seven miles of the hotel’s own Skeabost river. Permits are available at the hotel reception or from Derek, the Ghillie, at the site office.”
Guests can also enjoy sailing trips on Anne and Ken’s 50 foot luxury yacht, Solus a Chuain (Light Of The Ocean.) based at Armadale. “The perfect gift for any celebration!” says Anne.
Exciting plans are in development, including improvements to the private road to the hotel. “At the moment, we hope to have the road open by the summer. The gardens have also been lovingly tended and, within the next few years, there should be a blaze of colour from the azaleas and ornamental rhododendrons, which have newly been planted around the gardens,” said Anne.
Now that the Old Chapel, which was used as a billiard room, has been transformed into a small wedding venue and private dining room, the next plan is to install a treatment room this season.
“Together with our offering of sailing, fishing and golfing, a treatment room seemed the next obvious offering,” Anne says. “We will always be developing every year – it seems to be what Ken and I thrive on!
“In this industry, you have to look ahead and be aware of emerging trends. We have visitors from all over the world and we want them to enjoy attention to detail and top quality service levels. This philosophy has enabled us to win many awards with our other two hotels in the south of the island, Duisdale and Toravaig House Hotels.”
Whether you are a visitor looking for an exciting holiday or, if you live locally, Duisdale, Toravaig and Skeabost House Hotels are splendid countryside getaways.