By Scott Wright

A COUNTRY house hotel near Dunfermline is expected to attract interest from regional and national players after being put on the market with a price-tag of £3.25 million.

The long-running directors of Keavil House Hotel, which has 70 bedrooms, a health club and sits in 12 acres of landscaped gardens, are selling the property as part of plans to wind down towards retirement. The four-star hotel is owned by the family-run Queensferry Hotels, which has owned Keavil House for nearly 40 years.

While the coronavirus has been devastating for the Scottish hospitality industry, director Russell Imrie said the decision to find a buyer for Keavil was part of retirement planning for both himself and fellow director Mrs C Gwyn. The two directors have no immediate plans to sell their other property, the Best Western Plus Bruntsfield Hotel in Edinburgh city centre.

Keavil House, which trades under the Best Western Plus banner, is situated two miles west of Dunfermline, in the village of Crossford. It typically attracts a combination of leisure and corporate guests, in part because of its proximity to Edinburgh 19 miles away and popular tourist towns such as St Andrews, which is about one hour away. The hotel’s 250-capacity function suite has helped it become a popular wedding venue.

Queensferry Hotels is currently making use of the furlough scheme, which was extended by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Friday, to retain employees. The company’s headcount has contracted to 85 from 115 through a mix of redundancies and resignations since the pandemic erupted.

Mr Imrie said: “After 33 years of ownership, we have indeed decided to place Keavil House Hotel on the market. Our company has two hotels and has been trading for 40 years and the two directors have decided to wind down towards retirement. At present we are marketing Keavil House Hotel for sale and will retain ownership of our second hotel. The hotel is being marketed as a very successful trading hotel and all jobs, forward bookings and business levels are unaffected by this sale as the owner of the hotel will simply change, there is no change to the management of the hotel. The hotel will continue to be managed and all guests and bookings will be welcomed by the general manager, Jason Doga, and his team. There is no reduction in facilities or services during this hotel marketing period.”

Mr Imrie, who is president of Best Western Great Britain, has been a vocal champion for the hospitality and tourism industry as spokesman for the Edinburgh Hotels Association, and his membership on committees of the Scottish Tourism Alliance and UKHospitality.

Asked to comment on the breakthrough by US drug giant Pfizer and partner BioNTech in the quest to find a vaccine for coronavirus, Mr Imrie said: “Today’s vaccine news is much-needed good news after many months of bad news, disappointment and evaporating confidence in travel and tourism. Hopefully, this installs confidence into the customer and the industry and we can look forward to a sustained recovery in 2021 and the return of the travel and tourism which is so important to Scotland’s economy.”

Keavil House is being marketed by Brian Sheldon and Jeremy Jones of property firm Christie & Co. Mr Sheldon said: “Quality hotels such as this are still proving to be of interest to regional and national operators, despite the market remaining unpredictable, and we are regularly speaking with buyers who are looking for similar quality assets.”

Mr Jones said: “The hotel has been well-maintained with continual investment and upgrades. The elegant bedrooms are well-equipped to meet the demands generated from the corporate and leisure guests, as well as the many weddings attracted to the business. We anticipate strong interest from a wide range of buyers for this substantial freehold hotel.”