From left - Lydia Rissmann and Hans Rissmann
From left - Lydia Rissmann and Hans Rissmann

£1m investment for Lanarkshire country house hotel

A country house hotel in South Lanarkshire has been given a £1 million makeover as its new owners set out to build a hospitality group with a distinctive Scottish welcome, with support from Bank of Scotland.

The Strathaven Hotel, an 18th century former country house set in three acres of grounds, was acquired by its new owners in January, and their refurbishment programme is now almost complete.

It is the first hotel to form part of The Rissco Collection – a new venture by experienced hospitality industry professionals Hans Rissmann and Peter Taylor – which they plan to grow with more acquisitions in the coming years.

They spent more than two years looking for the perfect opportunity in The Strathaven Hotel, which has 22 rooms and employs 48 staff, after previously working together to launch the five-star Blythswood Square Hotel in Glasgow.

The new hotel’s restaurant and bar area has already been completely redesigned and the final phase of the refurbishment is now almost complete with the grand ballroom due to reopen imminently.

Hans said: “My father was a hotelier so I was born and bred into the industry and it has always been my ambition to have a hotel of my own.

“When we found The Strathaven Hotel we immediately loved the Georgian front to the building and we liked the challenge of reinvigorating the interiors to bring them up to date.

“The hotel had lacked investment in recent years and the local competition had improved, so it had lost trade, but this is a great area and Strathaven has great potential.”

Hans and Peter hope to reposition the hotel as a destination for weddings and business conferences when the 200-capacity ballroom reopens, and plan to double turnover to £2 million a year by hosting around 60 weddings annually.

While their current focus is on making Strathaven a success, the pair share an ambition to create a group of five hotels over the next decade, with a plan to welcome guests to properties of a similar size in characterful rural and urban locations.

And Hans is convinced that the Central Belt of Scotland is particularly well placed to welcome growing numbers of visitors in the coming years.

The investment in The Strathaven Hotel was supported by a £1million loan from Bank of Scotland.

Evelyn McNair, relationship director, SME banking, Bank of Scotland, said: “The Strathaven Hotel is a beautiful building with huge potential that I’m sure will achieve great things with experienced operators Hans and Peter at the helm.

“Scotland’s visitor economy is hugely important to the nation and we are committed to supporting businesses like The Rissco Collection in achieving their ambitious growth plans.”