A Scottish hotel group owner has revealed plans to add more holiday properties to his portfolio after buying a huge Highland hotel on the market for £1.8 million.

Melville Properties, who this week bought a fifth hotel in Scotland, has its sights on growing its business reach that could also include a greater presence on the North Coast 500 tourist route, where it has just secured its first foothold.

It comes after Glasgow business owner Thomas Melville moved to buy and renovate hotels across the country around six years ago, starting with Loch Long Hotel in Arrochar.

From there the company bought the Grey Gull Hotel at Loch Fyne followed by the Royal Dunkeld and then last year the MacDonald Hotel in Kinlochleven.

Melville Hotels acquired the 100-plus room Royal Hotel Thurso from MGM Muthu of India this week for an undisclosed sum.

“The story continues,” Thomas Melville, owner of the business, said: “We already have our eye on a few things which will be maybe next winter.”

The Herald: The Thurso hotel was on the market for £1.8 million, and sold for an undisclosed sumThe Thurso hotel was on the market for £1.8 million, and sold for an undisclosed sum (Image: Drysdale and Company)

The hotelier, who also has bars in Glasgow including Kilts and Kocktails in Sauchiehall Street and the Bay Horse on Bath Street, was interviewing around 40 new staff for the Thurso hotel this week and has managed to maintain staffing levels in his hotels.

However, others have not been so fortunate, and a shortage of workers remains a challenge.

READ MORE: Scottish hotelier toasts purchase of historic Highland hotel

He said the end of free movement for European workers to the UK continues to hit the industry, and in some cases hotels are only able to open to half capacity because they do not have enough workers.

“The European workers,” he said, “Were the hospitality in Scotland’s backbone.

“For me that’s a major issue. The interest is still there, they are still looking for work here, but it is because of Brexit. It is a massive block.

“I know hoteliers personally who can’t open half of their hotels because they can’t staff them.

“There must be something that can be put in place, even a seasonal visa for work.”

Elsewhere, veteran restaurateur Marco Giannasi said this week he has “no regrets” over his decision to sell the landmark Battlefield Rest business in Glasgow, as he reflected on achieving 50 years in the hospitality sector in Scotland.

Mr Giannasi sold the Battlefield Rest business as a going concern to long-serving staff member Alex Matheson and wife Jen Doherty, having founded the bustling restaurant in 1994, business editor Ian McConnell wrote.

Also this week, business correspondent Kristy Dorsey said “there was a palpable but short-lived sigh of relief” two weeks ago when new First Minister Humza Yousaf announced that the launch of the controversial would be stalled.

The Federation of Small Businesses is among a profusion of industry organisations calling for a wholesale review of DRS, adding that this should involve ‘the broadest range of businesses’,” she wrote. “The latter appears a thinly-veiled reference to Circularity Scotland Ltd, the organisation set up on behalf of the Scottish Government to run the scheme, which has been criticised as a forum of major producers and retailers who have engineered the system to their benefit.”

BP this week saw its share price plunge nearly nine per cent at one stage, wiping more than £8 billion from its stock market worth, as it faced fresh claims of “profiteering” amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Deputy business editor Scott Wright reported: “The energy giant beat analysts’ forecasts to report first-quarter profits of nearly $5bn (£4bn) on its preferred underlying replacement cost metric, sparking further calls for the UK Government to increase windfall taxes on oil and gas company profits.”