- Unique and prestigious boutique style hotel with stunning views across Loch Linnhe towards a majestic mountain backdrop in the outdoor capital of the UK.
- Strong operating business benefiting from 4-Star (Arts Venue) and 3-Star (Hotel) VisitScotland gradings plus a range of tourism accolades.
- Highly profitable operation offering a “home and income” lifestyle opportunity with tremendous business expansion potential.
- Accommodation comprises of 9 superior en-suite letting bedrooms, 2-bedroom self-contained annex and private 2-bedroom owners / staff accommodation; all offering exceptional quality and comfort.
- Other trading areas include multi-functional Gallery, offering business expansion potential, well-established dining room, comfortable lounges and excellent service facilities.
- Set within attractive and mature walled gardens with guest parking and alfresco seating taking advantage of the sublime vistas.
The original aspects of the Lime Tree Hotel reflect a traditional Victorian country manse dating from 1850 with an established history. The property has been extensively developed by adding additional accommodation aspects, including the gallery in 2007, making this an imposing and highly attractive acquisition. The Lime Tree's full name is The Lime Tree An Ealdhain Gallery; 'An Ealdhain' meaning 'the place for creativity' in Gaelic. Under the patronage of the current owners, the property has been continually and imaginatively upgraded. The hotel comfortably reflects its Victorian origins whilst providing a modern business platform for anyone wishing to own a prestigious trading operation on the West Coast of Scotland. Located in Fort William, the Outdoor Capital of the UK and a thriving area of tourism, the business trades as a small hotel and gallery. The Lime Tree offers a flexible mix of characterful accommodation supported by a renowned restaurant service whilst offering a high-quality, 4-Star VisitScotland (Arts Venue), art gallery which was inspired and developed by the owner / artist David Wilson. However, for those potential owners who do not wish to operate a gallery, the galleries expansive area would lend itself to being perfectly utilised for further dining or as a function room, for which demand is high. Alternatively, it could be developed into 5 additional letting bedrooms. Both these replacement functions would add considerably to the business’s income earning capacity.
Set back from the A82, the Lime Tree is situated on the South West of Fort William within easy walking distance of the facilities on offer in Fort William. The property has a stunning aspect with panoramic views towards Loch Linnhe and beyond, taking in a rugged mountain backdrop. The hotel is strategically located being at one end of the West Highland Way tourist route drawing in an array of walkers and cyclists etc. from the south, and the Great Glen Way taking like-minded tourists north to Inverness. This positioning at the end /start of these two popular routes generates significant footfall.
The character of the building and the quality of facilities provides an air of splendour seldom seen whilst providing plentiful amenity space for guests to enjoy. This highly distinctive building coupled with the artistic aspects radiate a unique ambience and appealing features. The hotel trades 9 superior en-suite letting bedrooms plus a 2-bedroom self-contained annex culminating in a 3-Star (Hotel) award. These facets coupled with the private 2-bedroom owners / staff accommodation make this a strong trading proposition and home. Throughout the property, the support facilities are of an exceptional nature. The business aspects coupled with spacious owner’s accommodation make this a superior proposition for a discerning buyer.
REASON FOR SALE
The present owners purchased Lime Tree Hotel in 2005 and have enjoyed developing the gallery plus operating this impressive and rewarding business. However, it is their desire to retire from the hospitality sector which brings this exquisite business and home to the market.
The current owners of the Lime Tree Hotel are not hands on operators; one partner has a full-time, senior role outwith the business, and the other focusses on the creative aspects. Neither have a significant role within the practical food or room service aspects of the business. Their input is generally centred on the higher-level management functions. The business operates with robust staffing levels and it is believed that key staff would be pleased to retain their roles under new ownership. The Lime Tree Hotel, by choice of the owners, currently operates about 10½ months out of 12. The extant business model does not cater for lunch time service; thus presenting new owners with a sound prospect of increasing the food trade. Mainly accommodation led, the owners trade successfully maintaining a strong level of turnover and high profitability. Income is generated through the 9 quality en-suite letting bedrooms; gallery income, self-catering revenue, with additional turnover from licensed wet sales and evening meals. Trading as an independent hotel, the proprietors ensure the standard and level of service is to a high standard as reflected in the gradings, reviews and awards being received by the business. There is considerable potential for new owners to approach the trading aspects differently by focussing on greater food provision, offering a broader range of meal service times. There is capacity to take more advantage of the winter trade as Fort William is one of the main winter sports venues in Scotland. Should they so desire, these initiatives would increase turnover and generate even greater profitability.
The 4-Star (Arts Venue) gallery is a popular visitor attraction and is very much a labour of love of the owner / artist (David Wilson). The vendors believe that the gallery offers greater potential beyond its aesthetic appeal. The gallery itself has been used sparingly for functions but this is something that could be developed further. There is also strong potential that the gallery could be converted into 5 additional letting bedrooms. Such a change could be achieved without onerous outlay as this facility was designed with such an option being ‘built into’ the original development.
The vendors have developed the trading aspects of the Lime Tree over many years making this a truly delightful and profitable turn-key enterprise. The hotel has a well-established and credible reputation, being a popular destination venue benefiting from a high level of repeat trade and being highly commended on numerous visitor review websites. The business has an active modern website with an automatic booking service. In addition, the business has a good social media presence and utilises a number of portal on-line booking websites.
The hotel’s clientele is derived from the many tourists and business people who visit Fort William and the surrounding areas. The location and stature of the hotel is such that it is easy to locate for those who have booked via the internet or for the casual passer-by. The vast majority of room occupancy is booked in advance and forward bookings are always at a high level.
Fort William offers year-round activities and hosts many International events. Just a few minutes from the town is Glen Nevis, one of Scotland’s most picturesque Highland glens. The Glen is formed from the flank of Ben Nevis and two other mountains and has the River Nevis flowing through it. Fort William is renowned for its outdoor activities including walking and climbing in the summer months with skiing and ice-climbing being popular in the winter. Ben Nevis is without doubt a great draw to hillwalkers and mountaineers of all capabilities but within the broader area there are numerous other mountains (Munros and Corbetts). Fort William is also synonymous with two long distance tourist walking and cycling routes; the Great Glen Way and the West Highland Way. Tourism is the key driver of trade and includes the many visitors who fish, undertake walking, cycling and climbing holidays or partake in a more sedate excursion of the Highlands taking in the many cultural and historical sites. Other visitors include ornithologists and naturalists who find an abundance of wildlife to keep them busy for an extended stay; species include red deer, pine marten, otter, osprey, red squirrels, elusive golden eagles etc.
For mountain bikers there are plenty of demanding venues, especially at Nevis Range which is close by. In addition, this property is well located for the world-famous Jacobite Steam train which operates twice daily from May to October carrying up to 600 passengers per day. This train travels over the Glenfinnan viaduct featured in the Harry Potter movies and brings many fans of the films to this area. Fort William is also an ideal stop-over point for travellers to Skye, the North Coast 500 and the outer isles including Lewis and Harris.
There are excellent links by rail and bus from both north and southern routes. Other recreational opportunities and events are available including Annual Highland Games and the town has a reputation for being friendly and having a welcoming community. There is excellent schooling locally to Fort William.
Of traditional stone construction, the original aspects were built in 1850, the Lime Tree Hotel is a substantial detached villa under a pitched slate roof. In 2007 the property was extensively renovated and extended. Throughout, the business is deceptively spacious with accommodation being laid out across 3 floors. The property exudes many original Victorian features which adds to the charm of this impressive hotel. The vendors have applied their creativeness to many aspects of the building including glass and art works providing artistic stimulation for the many who appreciate such endeavours. Within the grounds there is a 2-bedroom annex (Lime Tree Mews) which is a timber clad building offering excellent self-catering accommodation.
The Lime Tree Hotel offers excellence in quality and comfort. The building not only has a stunning visual impact from its imposing location but the Victorian quality and charm featuring within the original aspects also engender a warming ambience. The internal décor both within the original aspects and the more recent extensions are of a very high standard.
The main entrance is situated to the front of the hotel and leads into a smart reception hallway. With two lounges either side, these are set to soft furnishings and coffee tables etc. and benefit from views to the front aspects over Loch Linnhe. Within each lounge there is a solid fuel fire place; one being tiled and the other of wrought iron construction. Following on into the hallway and to the right, is the reception area with a feature reception desk. Through a further doorway access is gained to the restaurant lounge and thereafter onto the attractive restaurant. The lounge area is often used as a restaurant overspill and offers a mix of comfy seating and a dining area. The restaurant is well-presented with a variety of tables and free-standing chairs which are set on a mix of slate and wood flooring. Seating 30 plus covers, the restaurant offers a comfortable and spacious setting to enjoy a formal evening meal whilst observing the chefs work through an open hatch in to the kitchen. Drinks are served from the counter within the restaurant. The restaurant has patio doors which lead on to an external seating area affording an alfresco dining option during the warm summer nights. Off the reception are good quality washroom facilities for ladies and gents plus separate disabled facilities.
A stunning feature of this boutique hotel is the high quality and individual letting rooms which have been decorated to a high standard and have been finished with some beautiful touches. The excellent en-suites provide modern facilities. All rooms offer spacious accommodation with the rooms located in the new build having most generous space. The rooms are well-appointed with charming fixtures and fittings of the highest standard. In-room service is in keeping with the demands of the modern-day holiday maker which include internal telephones, satellite TV, hospitality trays, hairdryers and toiletries. Rooms have controllable central heating and are configured as follows:
First Floor of Original Building
Room 1 - Superior double room with four poster king-size bed and en-suite bath & shower, plus loch view
Room 2 - Superior double room with four poster king-size bed and en-suite bath & shower, plus loch view
Room 3 - Double room with four poster double bed and small bathroom with shower
Second Floor of Original Building
Room 4 - Double room with king-size bed and en-suite bath & shower, plus loch view
Room 5 - Double room with king-size bed and en-suite bath & shower, plus loch view
First Floor of New Building
Room 6 - Double room with king-size bed and optional sofa bed, with en-suite bath & shower
Room 7 - Double room with king-size bed and optional sofa bed, with en-suite bath & shower
Room 8 - Twin room with two single beds and en-suite bath & shower, plus garden view
Room 9 - Twin room with two single beds and en-suite bath & shower, plus partial loch view
The Lime Tree Gallery presents a unique facility within Fort William providing a high profile, must see, venue for art lovers visiting the region. This 4-Star (VisitScotland) venue is a spacious and beautifully appointed gallery which displays art works in a most stunning and secure way. The gallery has been a venue for a number of highly rated displays.
The space allocated to the gallery is ideal for use on a number of levels. It could be adapted for use as function / wedding venue and is equipped to seat 60 guests. The attractiveness of the Lime Tree as a wedding venue is, amongst other things, the fact that the Registrar’s Office is located next door to the hotel. Where new owners were minded to develop the catering offering further, this room would also make a perfect dining room, further uses include hosting conferences and speciality events.
A key consideration for this versatile space is that it could be developed into further letting rooms. During the design of the gallery, the owners had the intelligent foresight to develop this area to include the capacity of being altered into 5 guest bedrooms, with features in place to allow for this such as, including appropriately placed windows etc. Off the main gallery are 3 large workshops / storage rooms providing ample utility space.
THE LIME TREE MEWS
This attractive annex is located to the rear of the main subjects and offers flexible accommodation either as letting accommodation, owners / extended family use or staff accommodation. The property has a prominent portico / car port. Entrance to the property gives access to the 2 double bedrooms which are beautifully appointed. The bathroom (wet room) is also located on the ground floor and is fitted with a shower. This inverted property has the open-plan lounge /dining room and kitchen on the first floor. This stunning living area reflects the highest modern standards in provision. The kitchen is all electric with ample floor and wall-mounted units. The partially coombed ceiling and stunning décor / fittings make this a wonderful self-catering unit and offers views across Loch Linnhe. To the side of the Mews is a secluded private garden area.
OWNER’S / STAFF ACCOMMODATION
The main owner’s accommodation within the hotel is situated to the side aspects and can be accessed via a private entrance with stairs leading to all accommodation on the first floor. This spacious and comfortable accommodation comprises of 2 double bedrooms and a modern family bathroom. In addition, there is a modern, well-appointed kitchen plus a large family lounge which can accommodate a dining table. An attractive feature of this accommodation is a lovely balcony affording loch views. This charming unit is more than ideal to act as family accommodation, however should new owners prefer to use The Mews for their own use, this area could be used as extended family accommodation or for staff use. If not required for private use, the unit could bolster income and be let out as a self-contained unit.
The business is further supported by a wide range of service and storage areas. The substantial and attractive commercial kitchen comes with a range of modern fitted units and an extraction unit. The kitchen provides ample workspace for a full commercial operation and has extensive ancillary areas plus storage space. The food production aspects of the business allow for ample capacity to meet the demands of a high level and quality of food service. There is a wine store and a staff room on the ground floor, with a boiler room situated to the rear.
With excellent signage, Lime Tree Hotel is a substantial property benefiting from an elegant, slightly elevated and prominent trading location. The property sits in around ½ an acre which is set to a mix of mature garden areas with shrubs and trees plus extensive and beautifully manicured lawns to the front. The subjects are surrounded by feature walls and pillared gateway. There is an area of decking off the dining room which affords a wonderful space to enjoy the splendour of the hotel’s surroundings. The hotel offers parking for about 12 cars accessed from the rear. Further public car parking is available just across the A82 (The West End Car Park).
Both a site plan and building plans are available from the selling agents.
The Lime Tree Hotel presently trades on a partially restricted basis, through personal preference, thus offering the opportunity for new owners to expand the trading model, if so desired. The business also does not open for lunches and afternoon teas, again affording a degree of further trading development. The current model could be adapted to increase turnover by replacing the art venue with either more dining options or by developing further letting bedrooms. Plans for this latter option have already been drawn-up and are available upon request from ASG Commercial.
The property benefits from mains electricity, with private water and drainage. There is oil-fired central heating and hot water system with double tanks to provide more than ample supply. LPG gas is used for cooking; there is a bulk tank situated to the rear grounds. The Lime Tree Hotel is fully compliant with extant fire regulations and environmental health requirements. The property is double glazed. There is Wi-Fi access at the hotel.