Argyll ‘hidden gem’ is shining bright

The Royal an Lochan in Tighnabruaich in line for further investment

Royal an Lochan hotel in Tighnabruaich
The Royal an Lochan hotel in Tighnabruaich overlooks the Kyles of Bute.

A HOTEL on Argyll’s ‘secret coast’ is set for further investment as the team at the helm eyes four-star status.

The Royal an Lochan in Tighnabruaich was bought in November 2021 by Roderick Macgillivray and Janet Cornthwaite, who are based in England.

Overlooking the Kyles of Bute, The Royal an Lochan is said to have traded since 1865 and features a number of original and historic features, including a mosaic tiled floor at the hotel’s entrance.

The waterfront hotel comprises 12 large en suite guest rooms, a restaurant overlooking the Kyles of Bute, and The Shinty Bar.

General manager Zak Robb-Gillan, who has worked in hospitality for 20 years and joined the hotel earlier this year, told SLTN there are plans for further refurbishment and expansion going forward, including extending The Shinty Bar (the hotel is a sponsor of the local Kyles Athletic Shinty Club) and refurbishing the guest bedrooms, giving each its own unique identity.

“The owners aren’t from hospitality backgrounds, but they love this area, they came across The Royal and fell in love with it,” he said.

“They are very involved in the day to day running of the hotel – remotely and they’re up every week; they’re very committed. They’ve invested a lot in the hotel so far and there are exciting plans going forward.”

Alongside further development of the building, The Royal’s food offer, which majors in fresh, locally-sourced produce, continues to evolve under head chef Ross Entwistle and his team.
And the hotel is continuing to build on its already diverse clientele, which spans locals, day-trippers, and domestic and international visitors.

“The next few months is looking good,” said Zak.

“Travel has obviously opened back up – we’re getting the ‘staycation’ market and international travellers are back.

“And Tighnabruaich is a lovely small community; the village is very supportive.

“We’re a bit of a hidden gem; we want to be known as a haven on the secret coast – and want guests to feel like it’s a home from home.

“We’re three star now but we’re aiming for four, and I know we can deliver on quality and service.”