The McMillan family is seeking new owners for its portfolio of hotels in south-west Scotland after more than 60 years in the hospitality trade.

Founded in 1962 by Hammy and Janet McMillan, the group has been family-run for three generations and includes North West Castle in Stranraer, the Cally Palace Hotel & Golf Course in Gatehouse of Fleet, and Fernhill Hotel in Portpatrick. All are said to be trading strongly since coming out of lockdown.

The founders have now retired with their son, Douglas McMillan, heading up the group as managing director. Although most of the founders' 13 grandchildren have also worked in the hotels at one time or another, all have chosen other career paths as adults, leading to the decision to sell.

All 150 staff have been informed of the decision. Property consultants Graham+Sibbald have been appointed as agents for the sale with the aim of finding the "best possible future custodians" for the business.

HeraldScotland: Hammy and Douglas McMillan pictured outside the North West Castle Hotel in Stranrear in 2001Hammy and Douglas McMillan pictured outside the North West Castle Hotel in Stranrear in 2001

Formally announcing the decision to sell in an interview broadcast last night, Mr McMillan said a key priority will be to ensure that staff are taken care of by the group's new owners.

“Nobody was expecting the world to take the turns it has over the last couple of years, but having come through a global pandemic and emerged stronger and more resilient than ever, the family believes that now is the right time to set the wheels in motion to sell the business,” he said.

“The hotels were trading well before Covid, and have been trading exceptionally well since re-opening. The coming years should also be strong as more people choose to staycation in this beautiful rural region, with its clear open roads, stunning countryside and sandy beaches.

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"In the meantime, it will be business as usual. The McMillan family will continue to work hard for the future of their hotels and look forward to welcoming many more visitors to bonnie Galloway.

“Our family has welcomed our guests for over 60 years and we are determined to hand over the reins to the right people, ideally who will have demonstrable plans to nurture and invest in the business in the coming years. The company is in good shape and we are in no rush to sell.”

Alistair Letham of Graham+Sibbald added: “Graham+Sibbald are delighted to have been appointed by the McMillan family to seek a new owner/operator for their group of stunning hotels and will be marketing the portfolio on an 'offers invited' basis with viewings highly recommended to understand the full offering of each hotel.”