Global luxury hotel chain MGM Muthu Hotels (MMH) has entered the Scottish market through the acquisition of five Highland hotels.
The company, which is part of a diversified business empire founded by Indian entrepreneur M.G. Muthu, is the new owner of hotels in Oban, Tyndrum, Dalmally and Nairn.
MMH snapped up four of the hotels – the 96-bedroom Royal Hotel and 132-room Ben Doran Hotel, both in Tyndrum, the 99-room Dalmally Hotel and the 66-room Alexandra Hotel in Oban – after they were put up for sale by property firm Colliers International at offers over £4.5million.
These went up on the market after Highland property owner Ian Cleaver decided to retire from the multimillion-pound tourism venture he built up over 40 years.
The hotels in his £8million turnover Highland Heritage business, which was launched in the mid-1970s when he bought the Royal Hotel in Tyndrum, were sold together with 16 liveried coaches used to bus tourists into the region.
Another asset owned by Mr Cleaver, Kilchurn Castle, the 15th-century seat of power of the Campbells of Glenorchy on the banks of Loch Awe, was available separately and has not been sold. It is currently managed by Historic Scotland.
Nairn’s Newton Hotel, once popular with Charlie Chaplin, who took numerous holidays there with his family, was snapped up by MMH after offers of around £4million plus VAT were sought by Colliers.
Set on a 21-acre estate overlooking the Moray Firth, the Newton was owned by London-based private investment company Pearchal Properties and managed by Bespoke Hotels.
It had been on the market since November 2015 and had its price tag slashed by £500,000 last year in an attempt to secure a buyer.
Alistair Letham, the Scottish director in the UK hotels agency team at Colliers, said: “These two sales to a rapidly expanding international operator are a great outcome for everyone involved.
“Muthu is an ambitious luxury chain, which will be well-positioned to further develop the potential of these excellent properties in a way that will be welcomed by the local economy.
“We are pleased to have used our market expertise and international connections to bring about these deals, which see businesses that have invested and grown in the Highlands reap their rewards, and properties move on to the next stage of their history and growth.”
MMH now has 27 hotels in its global portfolio, including sites in England, France, Portugal, Spain, India, Singapore and Cuba.
A statement from MGM Muthu Group corporate director Monicca Maran and K.Ranjan, chief executive of Highgate Asset Management, which helped with the acquisitions, said “We are extremely thrilled about the five properties that spell a surreal scenery magically enveloped in the enchanting views of Scotland.”
M.G. Muthu’s business empire also includes restaurants, theme parks and international trading and logistics operations.