One of the most mystical places on the planet, Loch Ness sees millions of visitors each year. Entrepreneur Robbie Girvan, Managing Director of GG Leisure Group, tells us how their stunning Sanctuary lodges are giving people a characterful slice of luxury.
Tell us how Sanctuary Loch Ness came about…
I started the GG Leisure Group 18 years ago, when we developed our first park in Loch Ness. We went on to turn this property into an award-winning 5-star resort, followed by a sister park, complete with golf course that is also now award-winning. It was then that we started offering rentals as a hands-free investment opportunity for clients.
Tourism in Scotland is more popular than ever – it increased by 24% in 2017. We realised we needed more lodges to meet demand and from there we invested £10 million into Sanctuary Loch Ness.
This third, 50-acre park is not a gamble for us. We know the demand is there. People love this region, and we know the area so well, that we can give clients the best possible holiday experience.
What are the main reasons that people invest in a lodge?
We’ve found three categories of investor: those who are looking to make a return on their investment, holidaymakers who see the lodges as a second home or for holidays for friends and families, and those who are a mixture of the two – they stay at their lodge, but regularly rent it out when they aren’t there.
We’re proud to say that our lodges have a 92% occupancy rate, so nine times out of 10 there is always someone staying in them. They’re in demand all year round. The sheer quality of the design and build means that even pure investors have mentioned that they’d like to stay.
They’re a hands-free investment with a 13.3% yield. Owners are exempt too not only from council tax but also stamp duty and second home tax.
What sets Sanctuary Loch Ness lodges apart from the competition?
As well as “location, location, location”, we’re experienced, award-winning and dedicated. GG Leisure Group currently owns nine successful businesses within the leisure sector and we’re actively seeking to invest in other businesses to expand and enhance our portfolio.
My team all share my vision and are dedicated to bringing our clients the best possible experience.
We also make things as easy as possible for clients. We’ll organise chauffeurs from various locations in Scotland, including the now widely served Inverness Airport. We even organise transport by helicopter if requested.
What’s your favourite part of the area?
There’s no wrong turning. No matter where you go, you end up in a place of spectacular beauty. Driving down one of the roads at water level on a cold morning and seeing steam coming off the surface of the loch is a sight to behold.
One of the best parts is actually being out on the water. It’s so vast and beautiful. No one knows the exact depth of the loch because of its many caves at the loch bed, but it holds more water than every reservoir in England and Wales combined. We have our own marina onsite, so our clients can bring their own boats and tour at their leisure.
Loch Ness is a much sought-after location – why do you think this is?
The Loch is classed by many as the eighth wonder of the world. It’s a magical and mystical place, and combined with our 5-star luxury lodges, it provides peace and tranquillity to residents. Everyone in the world has heard of Loch Ness – you could be up a mountain in the Himalayas and share a joke with a Sherpa about the Loch Ness Monster and they’d know exactly what you meant – it’s iconic.
What’s on the horizon for Sanctuary Loch Ness and the GG Leisure Group?
We have a new Sanctuary project in another 5-star location which starts development in early 2019. We’re also spending £4 million on a new retail offering for Sanctuary Loch Ness. It will include a range of restaurants, gift shops, premium retail outlets and even a spa.
We’ll also be developing a woodland activities centre to include pursuits such as archery, mountain biking, white water rafting and much more. This will be perfect for companies looking to invest in a lodge for corporate teambuilding retreats.
To find out more, visit the Sanctuary Loch Ness website or email email@example.com.