Army veteran secures six-figure funding deal to transform unique hotel in the Scottish Highlands

Left to Right: Brian Machray (Reward Finance Group), Tony Brown (Forces Manor) and Lucie Martin (Reward Finance Group).

A HOTEL complex in the Scottish Highlands, dedicated to members of the British armed forces, veterans and their families, has secured a six-figure funding deal to complete its transformation.

Forces Manor, situated in the Cairngorms National Park and owned by former army soldier and now veteran Tony Brown, has utilised the facility provided by alternative finance lender Reward Finance Group to fund extensive refurbishment works.

Tony spent all of his childhood in a children’s home before joining the army at the age of just 15 to escape being in care and to avoid becoming homeless after leaving the care system. The previous owners of Forces Manor, then known as the Ossian Hotel, allowed him to use their registered postal address so he could both provide it to the army and have somewhere to go on leave. At the end of his military career, Tony returned to raise funds and saved the hotel from financial difficulty in 2014 by operating it as a bed and breakfast, until it was forced to close due to COVID-19.

Fast forward to 2020 and Tony devised the idea of reopening the hotel business as Forces Manor, to uniquely provide a stunning staycation retreat for those involved in the military past and present. Designed to cater for up to 56 guests, it specialises in weekend and longer holiday breaks, weddings, military adventure training and business conference facilities.

The latest improvements made to the complex with the help from Reward, include the building of two extensions, improvements to the car park facilities and the renovation of the main hotel area to both enhance its energy efficiency and modernise the accommodation areas spanning 15 bedrooms and three self-catering apartments. Drawing on his vast skills gained during his career in the armed forces, Tony completed the bulk of the refurbishment work himself and within a tight schedule.

The working facility provided by Reward highlights its ongoing expansion within the commercial property finance space. The Dunfermline-based lender provides SMEs and property investors with tailored business finance loans and asset based solutions of up to £5m, and recently achieved a £14.35m lending milestone across Scotland.

Tony Brown, director and founder of Forces Manor, commented: “Although we only opened Forces Manor just seven months ago, we quickly recognised that there was massive potential to modernise and expand the facilities for our guests. I owe so much to the armed forces and so my vision for the hotel was always to create a luxury retreat that gives something back to those in the military, whether they be veterans or currently serving.

“This major refurbishment work is the final piece of the jigsaw. Lucie and the team at Reward have been extremely responsive, working closely with us to understand our aims for the business and to develop a flexible working facility that has enabled us to complete the building work on time and within budget. We’re looking forward to an exciting year ahead and a period of continued business growth after the struggles we faced during the pandemic.”

Lucie Martin, business development director for Reward Finance Group in Scotland, added: “It’s not every day you get to work with a business owner that has been on such a remarkable life journey as Tony has. Forces Manor is testament to his vision, perseverance and dedication to giving something back to the armed forces and so it’s hugely satisfying to be funding this latest refurbishment project that has transformed the entire complex.

“The deal plays to our core strengths of being able to finance a variety of property purchases and development projects across Scotland and provide an agile funding solution that is bespoke to the company’s needs. It has been a turbulent few years for the hospitality industry due to the pandemic and so we wish Tony and the team all the best for the next chapter of their business expansion.”

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