An Argyll country house could be turned into a luxury hotel as part of plans to convert the entire estate into a high-end tourism destination.
Achara House is situated at Duror, near Appin, just inside the Highland Council boundary area.
The concept behind Achara is to offer a hotel that is compact enough to give visitors the feeling of being a house guest on a large estate but with the hospitality standards and customer service of the very best of international boutique hotels.
The house is set within mature botanical gardens and has a stunning outlook to Loch Linnhe.
In the business case presented to Highland Council as part of the planning application, developers write: “The hotel will offer 13 large, luxurious rooms and will feature a bar, lounge area and restaurant area. Within the grounds are extensive walks through the mature botanic gardens and there is access to many exciting outdoor pursuits in the wider area as well as country pursuits such as stalking and shooting.”
The next phases of the project will include a large spa building, open to non hotel guests, and remote rooms in individual lodges and pods located high above the hotel. A suite of buildings will come later to cater for weddings and events located throughout the grounds.
It is projected that in phase one of the hotel’s operation at least 12 full time staff will be required, with that number raising to in excess of 30 when the later phases are operational.
As the owner of Achara, Niall McLean of Georope, Ballachulish, is locally based and has grown up in the area, he is committed to developing local people’s skills and retaining young people in the area.
The business case continues: “Achara has spent most of its existence being a holiday home for a London based family, bringing very little benefit to the local area and slowly deteriorating due to lack of use.
“The proposed hotel development at Achara will bring a myriad of long term benefits to the local area, to the wider Highlands and to Scotland as a whole. The use of Achara House as a hotel will also guarantee the building’s future – ensuring constant use, maintenance and care associated with a hotel at this market level.”
Achara, which is category B listed, was largely built around 1900 on the site of an earlier house.