By Ian McConnell

THE man who revived the Islay Hotel after it had been closed for two decades, reopening it in 2011, has expressed “delight” it has been bought by French luxury goods group LVMH, which owns the nearby Ardbeg whisky distillery.

Roland Worthington-Eyre, who is retiring, has sold the hotel in Port Ellen to The Glenmorangie Company, which operates the Ardbeg single malt distillery and is a subsidiary of LVMH, for an undisclosed sum. The sale was handled by property adviser Christie & Co. Ardbeg hailed the move as a “multi-million-pound investment”.

Mr Worthington-Eyre said: “The dream was to rebuild the Islay Hotel, which had been closed for 20 years, and I am really happy that was achieved. However, now it’s time for me to retire. I would like to thank all those who were involved in rebuilding, financing and running the hotel since it reopened in 2011, without whose dedication and loyalty it would not be the successful hotel it is today.

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“I am delighted that LVMH want to take the Islay Hotel on the next stage of its journey, and we all wish them the very best of luck.”

The 13-bedroom hotel, which employs around 30 staff including seasonal workers, has been purchased as a going concern by The Glenmorangie Company, which plans to create “a world-class whisky and hospitality experience”.

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Gary Witham, hotels director at Christie & Co, said: “This was a rare opportunity to acquire an island hotel built to modern, high-quality standards, with sustainability at the forefront. The superb vision of the original developers has translated well for LVMH, a major luxury conglomerate, demonstrating the island’s position as a prime Scottish tourist location, and it’s fantastic that a local company operated by the group will be taking the hotel forward.

“The strong price achieved for the property shows the strength of buyer appetite for quality hotels in the Scottish Highlands and Islands.”