Buchan Braes Hotel is NOT closing says concerned owner

BUCHAN Braes Hotel owner Ken Watt will be writing to brides-to-be this week to reassure them that the Boddam-based hotel will NOT be closing.

Tuesday, 16th March 2010, 7:26 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th March 2010, 7:27 am

Mr Watt says rumours have persisted for around a year now that the 18-months-old hotel is set to shut down, but he insists that couldn't be further from the truth.

Speaking to the Buchanie on Friday, Mr Watt says he did not usually respond to such rumours, but he has been inundated with so many queries from concerned brides-to-be that he has been forced to defend his hotel's reputation.

"I just can't understand where these rumours have come from," said a concerned Mr Watt.

"The rumour mill on this one has been on the go for so long now, but it's getting to the stage where I've had calls from concerned brides asking if their wedding is still going ahead.

"I'm not a great believer in defending something until I have to, I just worry about the brides as they have enough to worry about without having to deal with rumours about our supposed closure."

Mr Watt says contrary to the rumours Buchan Braes Hotel, located at the former RAF Boddam site, is busier than ever.

"If we had been closing then that would have happened around a year ago when we were in relative infancy, but we have weddings booked right up to 2012 and have already had enquiries about 2013," he said.

"Our Grill Room is in the running for Restaurant of the Year and our overnight bookings are steady with a good core of returning guests.

"We have various different functions outwith that already booked for the coming year, so where these rumours are originating from I just don't know."

Mr Watt said that speculation over the sale of the Buchan Braes site by owner Frank Strang may have given fuel to the fire.

"It was reported last week that Mr Strang is considering putting the Buchan Braes site up for sale via his Military Asset Management arm. He also has an arm of his company called Buchan Braes Ltd and that may be where the confusion is coming from.

"My business is Buchan Braes Hotel Ltd and I am the private owner of the hotel and have nothing to do with Military Asset Management nor Buchan Braes Ltd," he said.

Mr Watt says he will be sending letters out to all brides-to-be this week to reassure them that their booking is safe.

"I have been in this town now for 17 years doing weddings and I would not be committing to people if I was in it for the short term," he said.

Mr Watt said he has held a meeting with staff in the last week to reassure them, adding: "They know what's going on and they are fine. They can see for themselves that the business is going from strength to strength."

Meanwhile, the Grill Room at Boddam's Buchan Braes Hotel has been short-listed as one of five finalists in the Taste of Grampian Restaurant of the Year.

The popular restaurant, which only opened 18 months ago, has already established itself at the forefront of fine dining in the Buchan area, using only the freshest local produce on the market.

Ken Watt said he was 'delighted' that the restaurant had been selected for the top honour, admitting: "It was great news to hear that we are in the top five for the award and it's testament to the hard work and dedication of the team at Buchan Braes."

Head chef at the hotel, Gary Christie (pictured), will be going along to the Marcliffe Hotel in Aberdeen on Thursday along with Mr Watt and hotel operations director Tony Jackson to see if they have been successful.

"Pre-judging for the competition took pace at the Marcliffe Hotel last week. Judge, Andy Roger, general manager of Aberdeen's Malmaison Hotel, said: "It's been fantastic that we have had to have a full day of judging because there have been so many applicants."