• Unique and prestigious Victorian restaurant with rooms along the Great Glen and offering views to the Nevis Mountain Range.
• Prominent corner trading location with attractive façade in a semi-rural setting, within easy reach of a wide range of services and facilities in Fort William.
• Well-established business benefiting from a strong trading reputation with 4-Star (Gold) VisitScotland, 4-Star AA and 2 AA rosettes gradings.
• Seasonal operation providing a highly profitable "home and income" lifestyle opportunity but with significant trading development potential.
• 4 superior en-suite letting bedrooms, separate suite of rooms (Bryson Suite) and excellent public areas offering an exceptional ambience.
• Includes spacious and self-contained 2-bedroom owner's accommodation with ample off-road parking for up to 15 cars.DESCRIPTION
Smiddy House and Russell's Restaurant is an attractive and well-performing business located within the heart of the village of Spean Bridge amidst the Great Glen, situated 11 miles north of Fort William on the intersection between the A82/A86. This imposing and striking business benefits from a fantastic reputation locally, offering luxury and spacious accommodation which has been graded as 4-Star (Gold) by VisitScotland and 4-Star AA. The restaurant offering has been awarded 2 AA rosettes for 14 consecutive years and appears in the Michelin guide 2019, which is testament to the cuisine on offer. Russell's restaurant has two distinct sections; one to seat 16 covers and the other has 22 covers. This configuration allows for a flexibility of approach to suit a range of business operation models depending on the desires of new owners. The letting accommodation within the main building comprises of 4 individually designed quality en-suite letting bedrooms which are all finished to an extremely high standard. Set within the grounds is a large cottage which has been converted into a luxury letting suite. This is currently configured as a bed and breakfast facility but it could be either used as a self-catering annex or additional owner's accommodation depending on the needs and desires of new owners. In addition, however, an attractive feature of this property is the spacious owner's accommodation which is set within the main building and is self-contained and separate from guest facilities. With two bedrooms, bathroom and comfortable lounge the owner's living space would be suitable to an extended family.
During their tenure, the current owners have tastefully refurbished the business with extensive upgrades across the whole property, bringing this charming and stunning business to the market as a turn-key operation. The facets of this business combine to offer a flexible business and spacious living accommodation. New owners could continue the extant trading model or could easily adjust the operating platform to suit their own skill sets and personal preferences.REASON FOR SALE
The present owners purchased Smiddy House and Russell's restaurant in January 2003 and have enjoyed operating this impressive and rewarding business. However, it is their desire to retire from the hospitality sector and relocate which brings this exquisite business and stunning family home to the market.TRADING ASPECTS
The business operates on a restricted seasonal basis, by choice of the owners, opening from May to October 6 out of 7 days and during the quieter months on a more leisurely basis. In addition, and through personal choice, they do not trade the business aggressively during the season and do not offer a lunchtime / afternoon service, which would undoubtedly prove highly popular. Despite these lifestyle choices, the vendors trade successfully, maintaining a strong level of turnover and high profitability. Income is generated through the 4 quality en-suite letting bedrooms in the main house plus the suite within the cottage (Bryson Suite). The licensed wet sales and evening meals generate additional revenue. Trading as an independent restaurant with rooms, the proprietors drive their provision offering a high level of service and facilities. Their efforts have generated a well-established business with a strong trading reputation and deserving of 4-Star (Gold) VisitScotland, 4-Star AA and 2 AA rosettes gradings. There is little doubt that new owners could approach the trading aspects differently by operating throughout the shoulder months and offering a broader range of services times which would undoubtedly increase turnover and profitability. The current operators have developed their trading platforms over the years making this a truly delightful and profitable turn-key enterprise. The restaurant and rooms are a genuine destination venue drawing in a high level of repeat business and being highly commended on numerous visitor review websites. The business benefits from a modern website, a good social media presence and utilises a number of portal websites.
The businesses customer base is mainly drawn from the many tourists who visit Fort William, Great Glen and the surrounding areas. It benefits from many visitors who are undertaking an odyssey in the West and Central Highlands, or travelling between regions of the Highlands including Skye, Inverness, Cairngorm National Park, Mull and Glencoe: all of which are within easy driving distance. The location and stature of the operation is such that it is easy to locate for those who have booked via the internet or for the casual passer-by. The vast majority of room occupancy is pre-booked and forward bookings are always at a high level.LOCATION
The area around Spean Bridge is renowned for its outdoor activities including walking and climbing in the summer months with skiing and ice-climbing being popular in the winter. For walkers the range of terrain provides a great variety in the level of challenge from non-technical hill-walking to more strenuous mountaineering. There are numerous mountains in this area, located within easy reach, Ben Nevis, the Munros and Corbetts and two long distance walks the Great Glen Way and the East Highland Way. This generates a good deal of trade for the accommodation providers in the area. Numerous national and international sporting events occur in the area throughout the year bringing even more visitors.
For mountain bikers there are plenty of demanding venues, both at Nevis Range which is close by, as well as Laggan Wolftrax. In addition to the usual car touring holiday makers, this business is well located for the world-famous Jacobite Steam train which operates twice daily from May to October carrying up to 600 passengers per day; the train stops in the village a few hundred yards away. This train travels over the Glenfinnan viaduct featured in the Harry Potter movies and brings many fans of the films to this area. Spean Bridge is also an ideal stop-over point for travellers to Skye, the North Coast 500 and the outer isles including Lewis and Harris.
The village itself has a number of facilities including visitor attractions, a comparatively small but testing 9-hole golf course, shops and restaurants within walking distance of the guest house. The area has an abundance of wildlife, attracting ornithologists and naturalists with red deer, pine marten, otter, osprey, red squirrels, elusive golden eagles and rare butterflies helping to attract visitors.THE PROPERTY
Smiddy House is an extensive property with a large footprint originally built in 1903. The property exudes many natural features including original fire places, ceiling roses and beautiful cornicing. The main building and cottage are of stone construction with pitched roof. The main property is set over 3 floors and the cottage has 2 floors. Both properties are excellently presented with a high standard of décor and service provision. There is extensive parking situated to the rear of the property that is accessed via a shared driveway.CUSTOMER AREAS
Access to the property is via a walled garden set to the front of the building. The main entrance leads into a spacious vestibule and thereafter into a reception hallway. From here stairs lead to the first and second floors. To the left is the main dining area set to 22 covers. This charming area has a bay window affording excellent natural lighting. The restaurant has a beautiful original fireplace with tiled hearth and wood mantel. Within the main restaurant is an attractive bar servery. From the right of the reception hallway is a second dining area which is set to 16 covers. Similar in style to the main restaurant, this area also has an attractive feature fireplace. Off this smaller dining area is the bright and comfortable garden room which is set to soft furnishings and offers a most relaxing ambience. To the rear of the hallway are ladies, gents and disabled bathrooms.LETTING BEDROOMS
An attractive feature of this high-quality establishment is the beautifully presented guest bedrooms which have been individually decorated with Laura Ashley furniture, all offering quality and comfort. All rooms have well-presented en-suite shower rooms and have beautifully appointed quality fixtures and fittings. The current owners have strived to provide high levels of in-room service in keeping with the demands of the modern-day holiday maker, reflective of their 4-Star status. Room facilities include, satellite TV, hospitality trays, hairdryers and toiletries. Each room has controllable electric heaters and are configured as follows:
Room 1 (Oban) - Family bedroom (1 x double and 1 x single) with en-suite shower room
Room 2 (Jura) - Double bedroom with en-suite shower room
Room 3 (Islay) - Double bedroom with en-suite shower room
Room 4 (Tobermoray) - Double bedroom with en-suite shower roomBRYSON SUITE
The Bryson suite is a detached 1½ storey bothy style building of stone construction under pitched slate roof. The building was formerly the Smiddy's workshop but is now beautifully appointed holiday accommodation, offering an excellent and flexible array of sleeping and recreational areas. Formerly a self-catering unit, The Bryson Suite has the necessary fittings to allow a kitchen to be re-installed, returning it into a fully functioning self-catering unit. Access to the building is via a stable door, into a large lounge area with a feature inset fireplace with stone surround and timber mantel and slate hearth. The lounge is set to leather sofas, coffee table and large TV providing lovely ambience. There are patio doors from the lounge leading to the enclosed gravel garden set to garden furniture and a private parking place. Off the lounge is a smart double bedroom which also offers patio doors to the garden. A spacious shower room is set to the ground floor. Via a spiral metal stair case access is gained to the attic room which is set to 4 single beds. This open plan area has dormer windows offering ample natural light.SERVICE AREAS
The business is further supported by a range of well-appoint kitchen facilities, complete with a range of fitted workspaces and appliances plus a commercial extraction unit. The kitchen provides ample work areas for a full commercial operation and has extensive ancillary areas including pot wash area, sweet preparation area plus ample storage space. The kitchen has the capacity to meet the demands of a quality and high level of food service. There is storage room set behind the bar area in the restaurant. Laundry facilities are located on the first floor plus store and house-keeping cupboard.OWNER'S & STAFF ACCOMMODATION
A most attractive feature of the sale is the excellent 2-bed owner's accommodation which is located in the attic rooms of the main building. This spacious and comfortable accommodation comprises of 2 double bedrooms, a family bathroom plus a comfortable lounge. New owners may consider utilising the Bryson Suite where their requirements for accommodation required additional space. Within the grounds there is a 4-berth caravan which can be used for staff accommodation within the summer season.GROUNDS
With excellent roadside signage, Smiddy House is a substantial property with an imposing stature. The subjects have a significant footprint with a well-maintained walled garden to the front aspects, offering outside seating for up to 20 guests. The business benefits from a prominent corner roadside location with high visibility and imposing presence. There is shared access via the side of the property, off the main road leading to ample parking for up to 15 vehicles toward the rear of the subjects. Within the grounds there are 5 sheds used for general storage. There is also a 4-berth caravan which is available for staff use.SERVICES
The property benefits from mains electricity, water and drainage. Heating is mainly electric heaters. There are two gas fires in the dining areas which have been disconnected but new owners may wish to reinstate these or alternatively put in a solid fuel replacement. The property has an LPG gas-fired central heating system into the Bryson Suite; LPG gas is also used for cooking in the main building and there are fittings in the suite to allow a kitchen to be reinstalled if required. The business is fully compliant with extant fire regulations and environmental health requirements. The property is double glazed throughout. There is free Wi-Fi access. The property has an internal security system.
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