Media release: The Co-operative Bank in Glasgow provides six-figure backing for small business start-up

BARCALDINE House Hotel, one of Argyll’s most important country houses, near Oban, is re-opening after months of refurbishment works backed by funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and The Co-operative Bank.

Heather Buchanan, founder of the Blue Grange Group, which owns Barcaldine House Hotel, says: “The Co-operative Bank’s corporate team in Glasgow have supported a start-up.

“They are the main funders in this major redevelopment of the building, and have worked closely with us and HIE to get the work completed. We believe the development works plus the recent appointment of senior management with five-star experience and a top chef, take Barcaldine closer to a coveted five-star rating, which we are very keen to achieve.

“To celebrate completion of the works, Barcaldine is offering a three nights for the price of two winter break to give new and repeat guests a chance to experience the changes.”

Barcaldine House, once the seat of the Clan Campbell, was built in 1709. The Scots Baronial mansion sits within the beautiful Barcaldine forest offering extensive sheltered cycling and walking trails.

This unique hotel, which is near the banks of Loch Creran, and is nine miles north of Oban, had fallen into disrepair before Blue Grange Group owner, Heather Buchanan, spotted its potential. Her initial work on Barcaldine won the title: Hotel Turnaround Achievement at this year’s Scottish Hotel Awards.

The recent further refurbishment works made possible with HIE and Co-operative Bank backing has allowed painstaking restoration of fine period details to an elegant and classic building.

The Barcaldine restaurant is run by the recently-appointed head chef, Oskar Kalnins, who comes from a background in Michelin starred restaurants. The restaurant is already recognised for its passion for locally-sourced ingredients and a well-stocked wine cellar, plus a relaxed and friendly setting. Recently awarded 2 AA Rosettes, the Barcaldine House restaurant offers light lunches, afternoon teas and fine dining experiences for both residents and non-residents.

The Blue Grange team is now marketing Barcaldine House Hotel internationally as a luxury country house with an informal, relaxed atmosphere. In addition to the hotel there are also three self-catering holiday cottages located in the courtyard and gardens.

Buchanan adds: “Barcaldine is one of Scotland’s hidden gems. We have worked very hard to bring it back to life and to create a five star experience for our guests. In our modern hectic lives, we believe that unstuffy relaxed excellence is the height of true luxury. This allows guests to unwind in the midst of spectacular Highland scenery. Now that the recent work has made Barcaldine even more magical, we look forward to welcoming guests and diners at our beautiful hotel.”

Barcaldine House Hotel sleeps 40 in 11 bedrooms, plus the cottages. It is available for exclusive use for weddings, plus gourmet food and wine weekends and experiences such as wild food foraging in the surrounding forests.

ENDS (background info follows)

Press contact: For Barcaldine House interview requests, comment and photos , please contact Penny Haywood Calder, MD, PHPR Ltd – see below.

Blue Grange Property Group: press background

Buchanan is an international hospitality specialist with a talent for management systems.

Barcaldine House Hotel was acquired in 2009.

The Buchanan managerial touch exceeded the entire previous year’s turnover in just nine weeks.

Barcaldine is already winner of three major awards this year at the Scottish Hotel Awards in April 2010:

 Rising Star Chef of the Year 2010

 Scottish Family Hotel of the Year 2010 (child friendly)

 Turnaround Achievement Award (Silver) 2010.

Blue Grange currently manages a portfolio of properties currently valued at £12 million, including:

 Barcaldine House Hotel, built in 1709 as a Campbell stronghold. Barcaldine is one of Argyll’s most important period country houses.

 Fortingall Hotel, the newest addition to the portfolio: a historic 4-star country house hotel in Highland Perthshire

 Eildon House, Melrose-based prestigious serviced business offices.  Holiday let properties in Edinburgh and the Borders

Press contact: For Barcaldine House interview requests, comment and photos , please contact Penny Haywood Calder, MD, PHPR Ltd – see below.

PRESS RELEASE issued by PHPR. You too can post your story ideas for journalists (aka Press or media releases), on Email for more information.

Contact: Penny Haywood Calder