Neil Morrison has taken over the running of The Lochside Hotel on Islay. Neil, who already runs Macgochans on the Isle of Mull, also owns his own whisky brand, Isle of Mull whisky.
The hotel, which is situated in Bowmore, on the banks of Loch Indaal, has great views over the water and Bowmore Pier. As well as a waterside terrace it also has a large conservatory dining room, two bars, and ten en-suite rooms.
Says Neil, “It’s an absolutely wonderful place in a magical location. It does need upgrading but I plan to pull in Scottish designer, Ranald Maccoll for the Lochside Hotel, as his style would fit this perfectly. My father’s from Islay and it’s always been a place I feel close to. I used to visit family in Ballygrant during my school holidays.”
The Lochside Hotel, also houses the world famous Duffie bar, which was named after former owner Duffie MacNeill who created one of the largest collections of Islay malt whiskies in the country – some 300 in total. He sold the hotel in 2011 to local businessman Angus Mackinnon. Now Neil has taken over the business and plans to continue the whisky legacy that Duffie created. He says “I’m looking forward to working with the local distilleries and driving forward what the Lochside is famous for.”
Neil plans to refurbish the Lochside Hotel in stages, he told DRAM, “I’ll probably need to start with the rooms and then attack the two bars. The accommodation side of things is new to me, however I have stayed in all sorts of hotels, and I have a fair idea of what works and what doesn’t. When Macgochans underwent a massive five-week refurbishment in 2012, Ranald was just the man for the job. His exceptional talent can be seen in the beautifully intricate hand painted thistles on display around the establishment, whilst his fine craftsmanship helped create the warm, rustic feel, locked in the interiors of the Main Bar and Bar Beag.”