By Ian McConnell

Business Editor

VETERAN Scottish hotelier and restaurateur Ian Fleming is seeking a “suitable operator” to take on the remaining 10-year leasehold for the landmark Lake of Menteith Hotel to focus on building his historic inns business in the US.

Mr Fleming, who has operated the 18-bedroom hotel and waterfront restaurant at the Port of Menteith in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park with his family for 16 years, has appointed commercial agency Drysdale & Company to handle the sale.

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The hospitality sector veteran, who previously owned the landmark Buttery restaurant in Glasgow, said: “For two generations our family have been the guardians of ‘the Lake’. We have enjoyed every moment there, and are proud of what we have nurtured. Now is the time for new operators with a similar, but fresh, vision to build on the great reputation it has, and refresh the offer to the hotel’s many loyal customers, as well as those yet to discover the environmental ‘oasis’ that is the Lake of Menteith.”

Drysdale & Company said: “The 10-year tenure offers plenty of potential for a new operator to put their stamp on to the 18-bedroom hotel and waterfront restaurant.”

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It added: “Enjoying a tranquil setting, coupled with picturesque views across what is Scotland’s most famous manmade lake, the hotel has built up an impressive reputation for both the quality of its accommodation, and its food and drink offering. Once the manse for the local church, the building is now presented in the simple style of a New England waterfront inn, securing numerous top hotel industry awards over the past decade along the way.”

Explaining his decision to exit the Lake of Menteith Hotel, Mr Fleming said: “When you have a boutique hotel like ‘the Lake’, the operator has to be close to the coal face. Covid has brought it home to me that, with two historic inns to run in the States, this is no longer possible for me, and my vision of what ‘the Lake’ should be becomes too diluted. I now have the...1710 Robert Morris Inn together with the...1744 Washington Inn [in Maryland] and I am looking to continue growing that historic inn estate. I also have three grandchildren here in the States which is deservedly diluting my time at the helm these days.”

He outlined the ethos behind the Lake of Menteith Hotel’s current look and feel, explaining that it had been inspired by “the environment, and its magical setting”.

Mr Fleming said: “We wanted that to shine through, rather than the hotel. Hence the very subtle New England/Bostonian feel that our customers very much enjoy. Our dining chairs are the original Spalding Lloyd Loom, we serve food that is comparatively simple, locally sourced wherever possible, we hero the artwork of homegrown artists on the wall, the likes of Sam MacDonald, Nichol Wheatley, and Colin Bullock. It’s all to let the location and the amazing views sing.”

He added: “I am confident there is plenty to entice an experienced operator to a place like this, and very much hope to attract strong, early interest before the autumn, through choosing Drysdale & promote this sale for me whilst I remain in the States looking after my other business interests.”

Drysdale & Company is headed by chartered surveyor Stuart Drysdale, who said: “Any new operator of this...hotel, which is already a well known brand in its own right, will hit the ground running, especially given the current popularity of staycations. They can also expect to add further value to the food and drink offering.”