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Hotel to say no to birthday buses after weekend trouble

A NORTH Mainland hotel says it will no longer take in birthday or party buses following the behaviour of revellers at the weekend.

The St Magnus Bay Hotel in Hillswick said it made the decision following a visit from a bus on Saturday which left toilets damaged and guests frightened, while a child’s ride-on toy car was also broken.

Hotel co-owner Andrea Manson said it was a case of a “tiny minority” spoiling it for the majority, with the business thanking the “many hundreds” of people who have come to Hillswick on a bus “without the need to cause damage and needless insult to the staff and our other customers”.

A picture of some of the damage in the toilets. Photo: St Magnus Bay Hotel

Manson described the weekend as the “straw that broke the camel’s back”.

“Ninety nine per cent of them are lovely, and then you get the ones that are fuelled by maybe more than drink and they seem to think they have a God given right to do whatever they want,” she said.

“They give our staff abuse, they give the lovely customers abuse.”

Manson said the bus in question made a “horrendous mess” and “intimidated” a family who were checking into the hotel.

“We had to give that folk discounts after we had to apologise,” she explained.

Damage in the bathroom included a toilet seat being broken, bolts being bent in the wall, a cistern being blocked and paper and batteries being stuffed into a urinal. The police have been informed.

Birthday or party buses generally see groups of people travel around some of Shetland’s out of town pubs on a Saturday, usually ending up in Lerwick.

Lerwick councillor Stephen Leask raised concern last year over the amount of alcohol consumed by revellers on buses, as well as potential under age drinking.

The St Magnus Bay Hotel on the left, with the Hillswick church on the right.

Manson said most of the hotel’s visitors and guests understand and accept that bus-goers are just out having fun, but its the groups that go “over the top” that cause issues.

“We’re a hotel and it can’t mix,” she added.

Manson also said that there are plenty of “lovely folk” out on buses for “genuine reasons” like stag or hen parties, or milestone birthdays.

“But there’s some of these buses that come out every single weekend for a 19th or a 20th – no what you would consider to be a special occasion.

“There are some of them that you see nearly every Saturday.”

The decision, meanwhile, could see something of a change in direction for Saturdays at the hotel.

“We’ll start having afternoon teas instead and nice little afternoon tea buses will be very welcome,” Manson said. “One or two henny parties said that sounds like a fabulous idea.

“Something to make it a more enjoyable place for families, or if folk want to come for a quiet drink and avoid the hullabaloo of the birthday buses.”