An iconic hotel in Galloway has closed its doors after suffering a sustained downturn in business, writes Stephen Norris.
Kirroughtree Country House Hotel in Minnigaff ceased trading on Monday last week.
It is believed eight people, including the general manager, receptionist, waiting staff and cleaners have lost their jobs.
A source close to the closure told the Galloway Gazette the hotel needed four of its 17 luxury rooms to be occupied to break even.
But in recent weeks often just one room had guests and the chef had also left.
The source said: “Apparently the hotel had plenty of bookings for Christmas and New Year so it’s a bit of a shame.
“I think the owner has plans for the building, but it certainly won’t open as a hotel again.”
The last two guests’ comments on Trip Advisor indicate the lack of business.
Alan from Strathaven wrote on July 31: “We were the only guests in the hotel that evening, so they opened specially for us. Staff treated us like lord and lady and were very attentive.”
‘Techtrans 2016’ added on September 19: “It was quiet when we stayed but that did mean I could play the grand piano without fear of upsetting the other guests.”
It is understood the owner, Australian businessman Malcolm John Deeks, plans to re-invent Kirroughtree as an up-market private venue.
It is thought a few staff may be re-employed in the new business.
Visitors to the hotel’s website are directed to a short statement on the closure.
It reads: “As of 6 November 2017, Kirroughtree House has been closed and will no longer be operating as a Hotel.
Kirroughtree House will be re-opening for exclusive use in the near future.
More details will be available soon.”
The MacMillan Hotels group sold Kirroughtree to Mr Deeks in 2012 then leased it back for two years until the Australian businessman took charge in 2014.
Companies House lists 77 year-old Mr Deeks as sole director, with British nationality and resident in Australia.
The imposing category B listed former country mansion was built in 1719 by local landowner Patrick Heron as the family seat.
Robert Burns visited the hotel in the 1790s and is said to have recited his poetry at the foot of the main staircase.
Its individually-tailored service and cuisine was often noted as being reminiscent of a bygone age.
The hotel website and all its links have been disabled. Mr Deeks could not be contacted for comment.