Welcome to the Priory Hotel
Over the years our programme of continuous refurbishment has ensured the Priory Hotel has remained a favourite destination. We proudly welcome guests from all over the world and we are also a popular facility for local visitors.
"Popular Highland Hotel now Employee Owned
Inverness 30 November 2018: The employees of Beauly's 46 year old Priory Hotel are delighted to announce “We now own the company!”
Guided by employee ownership specialist, Carole Leslie from Ownership Associates, The Priory Hotel has now joined the increasing number of businesses to be owned by their employees. The deal was completed on Friday 30th November.
The hotel began when Stuart and Eveline Hutton bought the former Co-op building in Beauly’s famous square.When they opened the hotel in 1972 it had 13 bedrooms.Stuart and Eveline worked hard to establish a reputation for comfort and quality.To this day, the hotel still serves shortbread to Eveline’s secret recipe!
Now the hotel has 38 ensuite rooms, a popular coffee lounge, and a restaurant with an enviable reputation for good food.The Priory is more than a hotel, it holds an important position in the local community and attracts visitors from across the globe.
As Stuart Hutton began to think of his retirement, he did look into selling the hotel.However, it had grown too big to interest the typical owner-manager, and was too small to appeal to the large hotel chains.More importantly, Stuart wanted to ensure that the very special place the Priory holds in the hearts of local people and loyal visitors was maintained.A sale to one of the smaller hotel chains may have impacted on how the hotel operated andthere was already a competent management team in place who were well aware of what customers liked. It was difficult to see what value a remote head office could add. Then one of Stuart’s employees suggested he look at the employee ownership model.
Stuart contacted Carole Leslie of Ownership Associates and had the first of many conversations about how employee ownership could work for The Priory.Once the Hutton family were comfortable that this was the right way forward, they brought the senior management team into their confidence.Stuart was adamant that if the individuals were not in favour, they wouldn’t go ahead. He needn’t have worried. Once the five managers understood what employee ownership was, they were very enthusiastic about the proposition.
It was agreed to form a proper board to run the company. Kate Melens is to be installed as the new General Manager, Stuart's son, Kenneth Hutton would be Managing Director, and Paula Dick, Janet Munro and Fiona Mackintosh appointed to the Board. Barry Wright will be a Trustee. It would mean more responsibility and all six are up for the challenge.
The next move was to tell the rest of the staff.That was an emotional day!Although no-one wanted to see Stuart take a back seat, everyone really appreciated this opportunity that was being handed over.
Stuart said, “The support we received from Ownership Associates (Carole Leslie) throughout the transition to EO was invaluable. They made sure we were fully informed on how the model works and what it would mean for the business. We were also given great advice on how best to structure the company. Carole was also very helpful in explaining the process to our staff. Our accountants, Johnston Carmichael, and in particular John Todd, were superb as ever in making sure the numbers all worked. We got invaluable assistance from Handelsbanken, Inverness, with funding, and although they did not know much about the EO model, they quickly understood where we were going and supported us really professionally. They have proven to be an extremely valuable partner and have helped a huge amount in the EO process. Anderson Strathern provided excellent legal advice throughout. ”
The Priory Hotel is now majority owned by an Employee Ownership Trust.All of the employees, once they have completed one year’s service, will become owners of the business through the Trust. This means that every member of Priory staff has a stake in making sure the Hotel continues to be successful, that guests are happy and well looked after.The Priory Hotel will remain a locally-owned business, playing a significant part in the local community for some time to come."
We would love to welcome you for a Highland break, corporate visit, or simply a coffee and home baking.
A word from our staff
“Our main aim is to ensure you thoroughly enjoy your time with us at The Priory Hotel. If there is something you need or wish to ask please do not hesitate. We have an attitude of complete flexibility to ensure our guests leave us with excellent memories.”