The Royal Hotel is a beautifully appointed detached property, built in 1700s, located close to the centre of the popular community of Cromarty. The property was developed and extended over a number of stages, most notably in 1930. By 1855 the property was being used as a hotel, named the Admiral Napier Hotel. In 1913 the hotel was nationalised, and remained so until 1972. Purchased by the current owners 2010, the building has enjoyed some significant upgrades to create this very successful operation.
The hotel is well-known and enjoys an outstanding reputation for the quality of the provision offered. With an excellent standing as evidenced on various review sites, there is no doubt that the purchase of The Royal Hotel offers an exciting opportunity. The business currently trades year-round, with the majority of trade occurring during the main tourist season (April to October). This spacious hotel offers guests a high standard of accommodation in both the bar and restaurant areas. The 8 en-suite letting bedrooms are all individually finished to a beautiful standard. The opportunity to relax in a comfortable outside space makes the most of the beautiful location near the water.
The business’s profitability levels are improving, back towards pre-COVID levels. Over the last few years, the vendors have invested extensively in the property by developing the ensuite facilities, new carpets throughout and heating system for example.
The Royal Hotel is a prestigious detached villa of traditional stone construction under a slate roof, with a number of tasteful extensions. The property has been extended to the front to provide a conservatory, offering a very pleasant environment during cooler days and to enjoy the evening sun and views. There are two main entrances to the building from the Firth side of the building, one through the conservatory into the main hotel reception area and the other directly into the lounge bar. There are other entrances directly into the public bar on the east side of the property, the kitchen, the cellar and the function room, all adding functional benefits.
The business currently has a reliable and mostly local team of staff, who are used to working throughout the hotel, turning their hand to whatever is required. The business operates all year except closing for the month of November to allow staff and management some holiday time. Over the winter months the restaurant and bar are operated mostly for locals, some of whom travel a distance to enjoy the pleasant surrounds and good food offered.
Currently the hotel is not actively marketed during the winter months thus representing an opportunity for new owners who wished to maximise year-round trade. Historically the function room has been used for storage but this space could be a valuable commodity for the village and the Black Isle as a whole if the new owners wished to develop its usage.
The bar has two distinct areas; the public bar and the lounge bar. Both areas are served by a back-to-back servery, making it easy to staff both areas. The lively public bar is vibrant and comfortable. The décor is fresh, offering a mix of bar stools, tables and chairs, in front of a well-equipped bar. The flooring is vinyl. There is the usual range of bar facilities. The bar caters to the pub trade and those who wish to enjoy a pub meal in a bright and inviting setting. The public bar can seat around 22 covers and benefits from a pool table. The bar has its own male and female toilets.
The lounge bar is currently used to serve food, offering a relaxed atmosphere and quieter dining experience where guests can enjoy good quality food away from the main public bar. This area has comfortable seating around tables and can seat around 48 covers. The flooring is Karndean with a wooden effect. Behind the bar is the cellar, where the beer pumps and coolers are located. This area also provides storage for bottled drinks. This area benefits from direct external access for ease of deliveries. There is a log fire within the lounge bar which adds to ambience of the area. The bar has its own male, female and disabled toilet.
The restaurant is located to the west end of the building and is accessed via the main entrance to the hotel. There is a separate function hall to the rear of the restaurant room. The hotel’s main kitchens are located directly adjacent to both areas. The freshly and pleasantly decorated restaurant is attractive with comfortable tables and chairs. The restaurant is currently used for functions and can seat up to 50 covers.
After a fine meal the diners can adjourn to the sitting room with cosy log fire, located between the restaurant and the lounge bar, for a relaxed coffee and liqueurs.
To the front of the building there is a conservatory which can accommodate 20 covers. This is a delightful area in which to enjoy a relaxed drink.
The function room is located to the rear of the building and has not been used as a public area of the hotel during the vender’s ownership. It is estimated that the area could accommodate a further 34 covers. The area benefits from a wooden dance floor and separate external access. This is an opportunity for new owners as the vendors are not aware of other hotels which offer a function room on the Black Isle.
Entry to the guest accommodation is via the main stair at reception /office to the 1st and 2nd floors.
In total, the hotel offers 8 individually decorated letting bedrooms which are all light and inviting, and well-equipped with attractive furniture. All rooms have comfortable beds and are centrally heated. The in-room services include TV, hospitality trays, hairdryers and heated towel rails. Ironing boards and irons are stored centrally. The en-suites are presented to a high standard throughout. The letting rooms are configured as follows:
Room 1 - Superior King en-suite with shower over bath
Room 2 - Superior Twin/King en-suite shower room
Room 3 - Superior Twin/King/Triple/Family en-suite shower room
Room 4 – Standard Double/Single en-suite with shower over bath
Room 6 – Standard Twin with private shower over bath
Room 7 - Standard Double with private shower over bath
Room 14 - Superior King en-suite bathroom
Room 16 - Superior King/Family en-suite with shower over bath
The rooms booking are made through the freetobook platform.
INTERNAL STAFF ACCOMMODATION OPTION
There are currently 2 en-suite bedrooms being used for staff, these are an addition to the letting rooms above.
The hotel benefits from a large commercial kitchen. The kitchen is fully equipped including large 2 gas range stoves with oven under, a double friers and microwave, all with an overhanging canopy connected to a grease filtered extraction system. There is a separate prep area with potato peeler and a wash up area with a new commercial dishwasher, ample servery areas and storage including several fridges, freezers and dry stores.
Throughout the building there is good level of distributed storage for linen and cleaning materials and hoovers etc.
To the front of the Hotel there is seating for about 48 covers. This area benefits from the evening sun and views over the Cromarty Firth, making it a very pleasant place to enjoy some downtime.
The grounds offer tarred car parking and delivery spaces. The area to the front of the hotel provides off street parking for roughly 12 cars which is supplemented by additional unrestricted parking on the roadside itself as required. There are three entrances from the main road into the property, one to the public bar, one to the lounge bar / restaurantand one to the reception / hotel accessed through the conservatory. To the rear of the property is the main delivery entrance.
To the rear of the hotel is the biomass boiler container and external sheds.
The property benefits from mains electricity, biomass heating and hot water, LPG gas for cooking, mains water and drainage. The hotel complies with environmental health requirements, has a wireless fire alarm system and is Wi-Fi enabled throughout.
The biomass-fired central heating was installed in 2015 and is wholly owned and maintained by the hotel. The installation is eligible for RHI payments, worth around £20,000 per annum until 2035.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT OPTIONS
There are a number of development options available to the purchaser that could be considered should they wish to enhance the profitability of the hotel.
- Over the public bar there is a ‘studio’. This area is independently accessed from the rear of the property and is currently completely stripped back to the stone, thus offering a blank canvas for the buyer. A self-contained 1 bed room managers flat or self-catering apartment are both options for this space. This part of the building has some of the best views from the hotel being double aspect overlooking the village harbour and Firth.
- The current owner chooses not to push business during the winter months, thus allowing potential to develop the business further during this period
- Making the function room available again should attract more income both from locals and further afield.
- There are options to combine rooms 6, 7 and 9 into a self-contained unit which could be used for holidays lets etc.
- Reintroduction of live music and other pub entertainment (this has not yet been reintroduced since Covid) could enhance takings
Over the last few years, the current owner has invested extensively in the hotel. Some of the larger projects undertaken were:
- The installation of a biomass cabin and extending the wet heating to cover the whole building.
- New ensuites throughout.
- New secondary glazing in the 1st floor letting bedrooms, the apartment lounge and master bedroom.
- New electrical distribution boards.
- Significant roof maintenance.
- Loft insulation.
- New kitchen equipment including dishwasher, fridges and microwaves etc
- New carpets throughout public areas and bedrooms.