SCOTTISH group Crerar Hotels, built up by industry veteran Paddy Crerar, has been sold to a joint venture between Blantyre Capital and operating partner Fairtree Hotel Investments.

The price was not disclosed but is almost certain to have run into tens of millions of pounds.

Crerar has seven, four and five-star hotels.

The group's portfolio comprises the Loch Fyne Hotel & Spa at Inveraray, the Oban Bay Hotel, the Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa at Craignure, the Balmoral Arms at Ballater on Royal Deeside and the Golf View Hotel & Spa in Nairn, as well as Thainstone House in Inverurie and The Glencoe Inn.

Crerar’s highly portfolio will form a key part of the new owners’ plans to build a significant luxury UK hotel portfolio.

Mr Crerar and his family, together with the charitable Crerar Trust, owned more than 98% of the group.

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Commenting on the deal, Mr Crerar said: "We set out to deliver the type of hotels and service that properly reflects Scotland - a world-class destination that is consistently a podium finisher in the global tourism marketplace.

"It’s been an absolute joy seeing our ambitions flourish and be rewarded by guest demand and loyalty.”

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He added: “The current year we believe will be our best yet with double-digit [percentage] growth forecasted in every month ahead.

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"After getting to know the new potential owners it was soon clear that they shared identical aims and ambitions to those we have worked hard to foster at Crerar Hotels. Their view of the potential for high quality hospitality in Scotland pitched to the global stage is unquestionable and their access to greater resources makes delivering on the potential of Crerar Hotels achievable.”