Leading hotelier Beppo Buchanan-Smith has suddenly departed from the 25-bedroom Isle of Eriska hotel & spa, off the west coast of Scotland, five months after selling the property to a Hong Kong-based company.
Buchanan-Smith had been retained as a consultant on a two-year contract by the new owners, the family-owned business Creation Gem, upon the sale of the hotel, which had been owned by his family for more than 40 years.
However, last week he was unexpectedly asked to leave his role running the hotel. Buchanan-Smith, who is a Master Innholder and a committee member of the Scottish British Hospitality Association, told The Caterer that he was still contracted to offer advice as a consultant if requested. "I was disappointed not to be able to say farewell to my team," he said.
Located on a 300-acre private island near Oban, Argyll, the Isle of Eriska is due to reopen on Thursday after a three-week closure for the refurbishment of seven bedrooms and the creation of a new piano lounge and drawing room.
Further investment is being put into the business by the new owners through the construction of four new self-catering, one-bedroom Hilltop Reserve lodges, to add to the two existing two lodges, alongside further renovations to the main house.
The Isle of Eriska was bought by Robin and Sheena Buchanan-Smith in 1973 and was opened a year later to the public, initially as partial religious retreat on a seasonal basis.
However, it soon became a fully-fledged, year-round business, with Robin's son Beppo and his wife Seona taking over the helm in recent years.
The new owner Wayne Rong said: "My family and I are offering a bridge of friendship from beautiful Shanghai to stunning Scotland. We are honoured to continue as the custodians of such an iconic property and aim to protect and nurture the island, securing a bright future for Eriska for years to come."
Former senior AA hotel and restaurant inspector Gordon Cartwright, joined the hotel in April 2016 as general manager and works alongside head chef Paul Leonard, who heads the Michelin-starred restaurant. Cartwright has previously worked as general manager and chef director of Gilpin Hotel & Lake House in Windermere, Cumbria.
Cartwright said that the "the quality and intimate guest experience" of the Isle of Eriska would be "wholly preserved" moving forward.
"A change of ownership doesn't mean a change in ethos and guests new and old can still expect the roaring fires, luxury, comfort and excellent service from the committed island team, along with a memorable dining experience.
"As general manager, I'm committed to preserving the Buchanan-Smith family legacy that has made Eriska an icon of hospitality for over four decades."
The Isle of Eriska is a member of international marketing consortium Relais & ChÁ¢teaux.