Cumberland Building Society paves the way in hospitality lending by investing in luxury Oban hotel refurbishment

01/02/2022
Scott McKerracher, Head of Commercial at The Cumberland Building Society

THE Cumberland Building Society has kicked off 2022 by announcing a six‐figure investment to support a luxury hotel rebrand and refurbishment project.  

Whilst the hospitality sector is still facing the challenges of COVID‐19, The Cumberland has made a statement of intent by financing more than 60% of the acquisition of the hotel in Oban, a seaside town in the West Highlands of Scotland.  

Renowned hotel, bar and restaurant owner, Paul Sloan, purchased the site in 2021 when it was named The Wellpark Hotel. Now undergoing a complete renovation, the hotel will be reopened as ‘No. 17 on the Promenade’. The 23‐room, ocean‐facing boutique hotel is set to open in April.  

Situated on the seafront esplanade in Oban, the hotel is undergoing a complete renovation including a new plumbing system, rewiring, installation of air conditioning across the hotel and more. Some original features will be maintained including a 16th Century Jacobean ceiling which adorns one of the living areas.  

Paul is well known for having operated in the hospitality industry for many years across Scotland, primarily delivering top quality restaurant brands in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Oban. In addition to the No. 17 project, The Cumberland have assisted Paul in the refinance of No. 26 by the Sea, whilst also supporting funding for the acquisition of staffing accommodation.  

Commenting on the investment, hotel owner Paul Sloan said; “I can’t reiterate enough how great my experience of working with The Cumberland team has been. There is always someone on hand to offer advice on the project, which hasn’t always been the case when working with other banks.  

“They have allowed me to not only invest in this project, but also look ahead to future investment opportunities, which wouldn’t be possible without their help. One year ago, I felt extremely unsure on my future in the hospitality industry – now I am set to open another luxury spot in Oban, one that guests will enjoy for years to come.”  

The Cumberland has recently made a number of changes to its offering, including the introduction of a fully relationship managed service, with each customer given a single point of contact for queries regarding their hospitality business mortgage. The team has also hired new team members, including several experienced bankers, who are based in key areas across the UK, including Scotland, Cumbria Devon and Cornwall. 

Scott McKerracher, Head of Commercial at The Cumberland added: “We’re thrilled to be a part of Paul’s latest acquisition. No 17 on the Promenade is set to deliver an exquisite level of luxury and promises to bring something extremely special to Oban.  

“We’re expecting to see more challenges in the hospitality industry in the next year, including staff shortages and inflationary pressures, adding to the sense of instability. However, many businesses have still been able to snap up great opportunities to invest in hospitality, Paul’s project being a fitting example of this.”  

“Despite the obvious challenges, it’s a really exciting time for the future of hospitality. We have seen a 600% increase in the pipeline in hospitality lending for hotels and holiday lets and look forward to supporting many of these opportunities, offering a fully relationship managed service to our clients.”  

“We also want to give those who are now facing layers of debt the opportunity to be guided through the difficult period.” Head quartered in Carlisle, The Cumberland Building Society operates across the UK, specialising in hospitality lending including hotels, holiday lets, buy to let, guest houses, and B&Bs.”  

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