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Business / Town hotel owner holds talks with other operators as it looks to go ‘budget’

Shetland Hotel. Photo © Mike Pennington (cc-by-sa/2.0)

THE OWNER of the Shetland Hotel says it is in discussions with other operators over a possible franchise agreement as it looks to turn the hotel into a budget operation.

Brudolff Hotels Group managing director Robert Smith said he hoped the rooms at the hotel – located opposite the Holmsgarth ferry terminal – could go ‘budget’ by the end of the 2021 tourist season.

It comes after Premier Inn dropped its interest in a proposed hotel at the site of Brevik House in Lerwick.

Smith added that bedrooms at one of Brudolff’s other hotels – the Lerwick Hotel – will undergo a modernisation to “suit the needs of those travellers looking for a full service hotel operation”.

Speaking about the Shetland Hotel plans, Smith said Brudolff put the idea on hold when it looked like the proposed Brevik hotel was going to go ahead.

“We had been contemplating this for some time, but another operator announced plans for a budget operation and we decided to hold fire,” he said.

“As that is on the back burner meantime, we will now proceed with our own plans. We have to look at what travellers are looking for, and what is right for Shetland and Lerwick going forward.

“We have concluded that that involves a budget hotel at the Shetland. We are speaking to a couple of operators at present with us as their franchisee, but we may also do it ourselves based on a common model used by various companies.”

Smith said that the changes would be “conditional on our ability to upgrade the Lerwick Hotel bedroom wing to suit the upgrades we have done to the public areas there in recent years, so that travellers looking for a full service hotel operation still have a modern offer in Lerwick”.

He said to do that, Brudolff, which also owns the Kveldsro Hotel, would need financial support from agencies like Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

“I hope that they, when we approach them in the new year, will be as willing to help us as them seem to be to assist others,” Smith said.

Last week it was confirmed that Premier Inn was no longer interested in operating a 98-bedroom hotel at the Brevik House site due to concerns over financial viability.

The property developer behind the plans said it was seeking a new hotel operator to take the project forward.

Travelodge, meanwhile, has previously expressed an interest in running a hotel in Lerwick.