The hotel hosted a relaunch party on Saturday 14 March – see the attached Oban Times article for more info and the press release below:
Whilst living in Brazil in 2007 both Calum and Rachel decided that they had enough of the travel and separation indicative of corporate life and set about investigating a dream they had both harboured for many years. Owning and running a country house hotel in Scotland was the goal. With Calum’s long standing history and connections with Oban and particularly Scammadale, the West Coast was an obvious choice and so they were fortuitous that the hotel came on the market at the right time and at the right price and a good enough challenge for them both to get their teeth into! Rachel’s experience and qualifications in hospitality and catering and Calum’s extensive industry knowledge and connections through his time working alongside the Craft Guild of Chefs and Federation of Chefs Scotland, as well as committee membership of the British Hospitality Association (Scotland) and now the Oban and Lorn Tourist Association, are vital preparation for turning around the business.
The Loch Melfort Hotel is an integral part of the landscape at Arduaine and, as a major employer in the local area, part of the fabric of the community. Calum and Rachel see the future success of the hotel as much resting on how the locals see and feel about the hotel as the changes that are made to encourage guests from outside the area to stay. The knock on effects of a successful hotel will directly impact on other businesses in the area and, indeed, the reputation of the area as a whole.
The aim of our relaunch party was to get our fellow tourist business owners to look at the hotel with new eyes, to help and advise us in how we can make the hotel flourish and build back the reputation the hotel had in years past. We want them to feel confident that they can recommend our restaurant or Bistro to guests staying with them and that each and every guest of theirs will have an excellent experience and not make their recommendation poorly advised.
We have spent the last few months making many changes, both front and back of house, including a complete IT systems change, new telephone system, bar EPOS system, website and reservation management system. Staff quarters have been gutted and revamped, our kitchens have been overhauled and continue to have work done to them and finally the rooms you see today have had a facelift, bringing some life and style back into the hotel again. We have introduced a beauty room, proving popular with locals, a low key music night in the Bistro, reintroduced the old library as a private dining room and meeting room, upgraded the ladies and gents loos and have finally started work to change the ugly and old fashioned entrance to the hotel. The Main House bedrooms are almost complete with the Cedar Wing bedrooms next on the agenda.
Whilst much has been accomplished in a short space of time, there is very obviously more to do yet.
Saturday 14 March marks the launch of the hotel into a new and exciting era. One of our initial major areas of concern was the Skerry Bistro. Aside from the strange and rather off-putting name, the decor, ambience and service needed alot of work to turn this part of the business around and make it a lovely place to sit, eat and enjoy the magnificent view. We feel that the new decor and menu have more or less achieved this, but we also plan to work closely with our staff over the coming months, training a new team to take the business forward who are focussed on customer satisfaction. In honour of this, and as a mark of respect for the fond memories many people have with the Bistro when it first opened as the Chart Room, we have decided to rename the Skerry Bistro
The wall charts have been replaced by fabulous blinds in the windows complete with the sea navigation chart reflecting the waters outside the hotel. Our new menu aims to appeal to both the seafood lover and sea farer as well as families on smaller budgets and we hope the arrival of our children’s playground in the next 4-6 weeks should encourage to use the Chartroom more. Our 4 moorings will be in place once again this season, so sailing over for lunch should be easy from local marinas. Work to drain and upgrade the path from the slipway has begun.
As the hotel goes forward, we hope to welcome both locals and tourists back and our next big challenge is moving into the wedding market. With the Rentoul wedding already booked for May and 2 more for later this year, we hope that the idyllic setting and mesmerizing views will not be the only reason why people choose to marry here. We want to turn every guests dream into reality and hope we can continue to do so for many years to come.