A POPULAR hotel and restaurant that has been part of the fabric of Shetland’s South Mainland for over a century is set to close down this autumn as its owner is retiring and has been unable to find someone to take the business on.
The Spiggie Hotel’s owner Keith Massey has confirmed that the hotel will cease to trade on 16 October – two months from now – as part of his retirement plans.
Fifty nine year old Massey, who purchased the hotel in October 2007, said it was necessary to inform staff, customers, suppliers, trading and licensing authorities in advance of his decision.
The Spiggie Hotel will cease offering lunches from the end of this month. Evening meals will continue to be available to non-residents until the end of September but only for advanced bookings.
The bar will remain open to the public until 16 October, but for the last two weeks the restaurant will cater for residents only.
“It has been a privilege to have your support and to be the custodian of the Spiggie Hotel for the last nine years,” Massey said. “Making the decision to retire has been very difficult but nevertheless it is the right decision for me.
“I have enjoyed every minute and only wished I had started down the road 20 years earlier. As much as I had hoped to be able to continue trading by passing on the baton, it has not been possible to do so.”
He said there had been some interest in the hotel since it went on the market around a year ago.
“There’s been rumours that people might be interested in taking it on,” Massey told Shetland News. “But I had the hotel, lodges and land, and it’s maybe too expensive if there was anybody local wanting to take it on.
“I’m splitting the properties up and maybe there’ll be someone that’ll come forward and buy the hotel and bar bit.”
Although he’s not reached retirement age yet, Massey said he was “wanting to do a few other things before I get too old”, but said Spiggie Hotel would still be a profitable family business for someone committed to the lifestyle it entails.
“It’s a nice little business,” he said. “It’s a lifestyle choice for somebody and it’s not everybody’s choice. That’s why I feel the need to give it up now – it takes its toll. It’s a great family business – it’s not about profitability, it’s just finding the right person to take it on.”
Massey added that he always felt like he was the custodian of a “part of the South Mainland’s history” and that “weighs heavily on your mind”.
“It’s a business that’s been trading for over 100 years now,” he said. “That’s why I was dearly hoping that someone would take it on. It’s a really difficult decision but I can’t hang on forever.”