• Highly attractive former 19th century coaching Inn currently operating as a Highland guest house but with all infrastructure in place to trade as a hotel.
• Commanding trading location on the Northern leg of the North Coast 500 Tourist Route along the A836, close to the Castle of Mey and John O' Groats.
• Strong historical trading figures presenting a solid income and lifestyle proposition in a stunning setting.
• Trading 8 letting bedrooms with spacious 2-bedroom owners accommodation plus space to develop further private or letting accommodation.
• Extensive grounds offering some future development potential subject to planning; the subjects extend to circa 2.12 hectares (5.24 acres).Description
The Castle Arms Hotel is a highly attractive establishment dating from 1871. This former coaching Inn presents a substantial and impressive traditional building with a prominent roadside location on the A836, the main coastal route along the north coast of Scotland forming part of the North Coast 500 Tourist Route. The hotel is configured to 10 bedrooms, of which 8 are used for letting purposes. The letting rooms comprise of 3 bedrooms on the first floor of the main building with a further 5 bedrooms situated off the courtyard in the beautifully renovated stables.
The 2-bedroom suite currently used as owners accommodation could be brought into use as letting accommodation where new owners completed the renovations on the ground floor. The former public bar is presently being used as a lounge for the vendors but this space plus ancillary rooms could be converted into spacious owners accommodation. There is also some further exterior space available for redevelopment of additional letting rooms.
The hotel has excellent public spaces with an attractive lounge bar plus a separate quiet sitting room for guests. Additionally, the restaurant presents the capacity for up to 40 covers. The trading aspects are well-supported by, a reception desk and office, a cellar and wine / spirits store, commercial kitchen and commercial laundry plus ample storage throughout.
The trading aspects of the hotel are presented in excellent condition reflecting the renovations undertaken by the vendors since taking over in 2012. There is plenty of scope for new owners to develop the main building further or to provide additional accommodation within the lands behind the hotel. The hotel combines to make a tremendous business and family home in a stunning setting. This entity would ideally suit an extended family operation or experienced operators. The property could be run as a large guest house with an easy to operate model or a fully functioning hotel maximising revenue.Trade
Since March 2019 the Castle Arms has traded on a restricted level due to the owners desire to retire. Currently they operate the business on a bed and breakfast basis letting a maximum of 3 rooms per night which reduces the need for a full staffing regime. The vendors also trade on a seasonal basis. Evening meals are provided on a pre-booked basis to guests only. Should the current bed and breakfast trading model be operated to its full capacity, it would be profitable suiting new owners without any formal hospitality experience. However, new owners could, should they wish, revert to the full hotel operation providing a full meal service to non-residents. The hotel would see significant demand from the many bed and breakfasts and self-catering providers in the area plus the significant passing trade.
The lion share of the business is generated in the months March to October with the influx of visitors. Being situated along the North Coast 500 Tourist Route and within a highly popular tourism area, The Castle Arms has a constant stream of guests drawn to the area during the busy season. In addition, the business is located adjacent to the main entrance to the Castle of Mey, the late Queens Mothers highland home. This attracts thousands of tourists to the area annually, offering a true trading benefit to the Castle Arms. The business also benefits from its proximity to John o'Groats which generates regular passing and residential trade from those undertaking the trip from Lands End to John o'Groats or as it is fondly known from “End to End”.
The hotel uses a number of web platforms to generate trade and has a modern website. However, the proprietors feel that new younger owners might use web portals and social media marketing platforms to develop the business further.Staff
The business currently operates without the need of staff members.Location
The Castle Arms is situated along the popular North Coast 500 Tourist Route and is located adjacent to the main entrance to the Castle of Mey, the late Queen Mothers highland home; both draw thousands of visitors to the area annually. The business also benefits from its proximity to John o'Groats which generates trade from those undertaking the trip from Lands End to John o'Groats. Caithness itself is an area tremendously rich in opportunities for both the resident and the holidaymaker alike. Breath-taking cliffs are host to innumerable seabirds including the puffin, one of the ornithologists favourites. Beautiful golden beaches stretch for miles, none more so than nearby Dunnet Bay with its high dunes. Indeed, such is the setting that the area is well known as a destination for surfers and hosts many national competitive events. Small harbours to explore and sea excursions are available, whether to watch seabirds, wildlife or for angling. Nearby passenger ferries offer a choice of day trips to the well-known Orkney Islands. Genealogy research, ancient Brochs or perhaps the local Camster Cairns are aspects that appeal to guests, whilst the excellent Caithness trout and salmon fishing is some of the finest in the UK. During the winter months the county is also a favourite with wildfowlers and several nearby sporting estates offer deer stalking and the opportunity for both walked up and driven shoots, these activities are undertaken outwith the main tourist season. Staying on the sporting front there are several 18-hole golf courses within comfortable reach, namely Thurso, Wick or the links course at Reay.
Only 10 minutes drive is the nearby town of Thurso which has a railway station, secondary schooling, hospital, supermarkets etc. Primary schooling, and many other facilities are more local.Reason for sale
The present owners bought the hotel in September 2012 but it is their retirement that brings this charming business opportunity onto the market.The property
Dating from the 19th century the hotel is a substantial detached property of traditional stone construction under a pitched slate roof. The original building has accommodation arranged over two floors with 5 of the bedrooms being located on an adjoining single storey “wing”. There have been additions to the original building including an area of flat roofing to the rear of the property.Public areas
The main access to the hotel is situated to the front of the main building and enters directly into the reception hallway to the right of which the large reception desk is located. Straight ahead is the welcoming lounge bar, complete with open fireplace, beamed ceiling, attractive seating and smart, fully pine panelled bar servery. Off the lounge bar is the dining room which has a charming wooden dancefloor and large panoramic picture windows. The dining room can seat up to 40 covers. These 2 large public rooms readily combine to form a large area which could be suitable for functions etc. Both the lounge bar and dining room have separate doorways leading into the sitting room, a bright room with ladies and gents bathroom facilities.
Turning to the left from the reception hallway leads to the former public bar via an internal corridor but which also has a private side access leading from the car park. This area is now set aside for owner use and could be renovated into snug owners accommodation. Off the reception hallway, stairs lead to the 3 letting bedrooms together with the further 2-bedroom accommodation currently used by the resident owners. Access to the 5 courtyard rooms is either through the dining room or direct from the car park.Letting bedrooms
The hotel has potentially 9 beautifully presented letting bedrooms, which are all en-suite with modern facilities. Room 1 is presently used as owners accommodation. Most rooms offer generous proportions offering comfortable, attractive furnishing and benefitting from television and tea / coffee making facilities. 5 of the bedrooms are located off the tranquil courtyard to the rear aspects. The 4 rooms in the main building are set to the first floor. The rooms are configured as follows:Main Building
1 - Pentland Suite - comprising 2 bedrooms (super-king and double) with a private sharing bathroom.
2 - Double with en-suite shower room
3 - Super-king (Zip and Link) with en-suite bathroom with shower over
4 - Super-king with en-suite shower roomCourtyard
5 - Small double with en-suite shower room
6 - Twin with walk-in shower room (disabled friendly)
7 - Family (double and single) with en-suite shower room
8 - Double with en-suite bathroom with shower over
9 - Double with en-suite shower roomOwners accommodation
The owners currently occupy a suite of 2 bedrooms on the first floor with a private bathroom with shower over. In addition, the former public bar is now used by the owners as a ground floor lounge for their private use. There is scope for new owners to develop out the ground floor aspects and thus releasing the two bedrooms used by them into letting use as a suite of rooms.Service areas
The hotel has a spacious commercial kitchen with adjoining wash-up area. There is good fridge and freezer capacity and storage space for dry goods etc. Within the accommodation wing to the rear of the main building is a substantial area used for additional freezer space and as a tool-shed etc. One boiler room is located to the rear of the building, housing the boiler which services the courtyard bedrooms. A second boiler is located inside off the kitchen, providing hot water and heating for the main building. There is a large in-house laundry. An administrative office is conveniently located behind the reception area. There is a beer cellar and further wine / spirits store.Grounds
The Castle Arms Hotel is a substantial property enjoying a prime site immediately adjacent to the main A836. Set within circa 2.12 hectares (5.24 acres), the rear aspects offer some development potential subject to planning. This area is mainly flat and mostly laid to grass with a good mix of pine and native Scottish trees. The site would be ideal for a complex of glamping pods, holiday cottages or campervan hook-up points, or indeed a combination of such. There is off-road parking for approximately 30 cars in the main car park which is set to one side of the subjects.Services
The property benefits from mains electricity, water and drainage. The heating throughout is gas-fired from an lpg gas tank; this is also used for cooking. Wi-Fi is available in all areas. The property is mainly double glazed. The business is fully fire compliant and meets environmental health standards.