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Derelict Town Centre Building Converted Into Boutique Hotel

By June 29, 2023No Comments
An photo of a hotel interior showing tables, chairs and pictures on a wall

The North East Scotland Preservation Trust (NESPT) is delighted to see that the Stag & Thistle Hotel & Restaurant in the centre of Fraserburgh is now fully operational. The NESPT developed the hotel from the derelict former John Trail Bookshop on Mid Street. The Bookshop was destroyed by fire in April 2009 and the building was left derelict until the NESPT took control in 2020. The £1.4 million project was disrupted and delayed by the pandemic, but the 11-bedroom hotel and restaurant are now open. Local hotelier Esther Slater has taken a lease on the building and has fitted it out to a high standard.

The project was made possible by grant funding from the Architectural Heritage Fund, Fraserburgh 2021 Regeneration Project (a partnership between Aberdeenshire Council, Historic Environment Scotland and the National Lottery Heritage Fund), the Scottish Government Town Centre Fund, the Scottish Government Place Based Investment Programme and the Aberdeenshire Council Regeneration Programme.

The hotel was designed by EK:JN Architects and the work was carried out by local contractor V G Willox.

NESPT Chairman, Marcus Humphrey said “This was an extremely challenging project for the NESPT due to the impact of the pandemic, so I am really pleased to see the new hotel up and running under the skillful management of Esther and her team. I wish them every success for the future. I would particularly like to thank Vince Willox and his team for completing the hotel to such a high standard under very trying circumstances, and the officers and elected members at Aberdeenshire Council for their help and support”.

Local Councillor, and Chair of the Banff and Buchan Area Committee, Doreen Mair said “The opening of the Stag & Thistle Hotel & Restaurant marks a major milestone in the ongoing regeneration of Fraserburgh.  This project was identified by the community as a key priority several years ago and combines the ambition to restore and revive a much loved and historic town centre building with the need to offer more much needed visitor accommodation options in Fraserburgh. Aberdeenshire Council have worked hard alongside NESPT to bring this building back to life and we are delighted to see folk enjoying the new offering it presents in the town and wish Esther every success with her new venture.”

Esther Slater said “I am absolutely delighted to have taken on this new venture in Fraserburgh and it is especially pleasing to see the former John Trail bookshop brought back to life by the NESPT after years of closure. Our aim is to provide excellent quality of service to our guests, both with accommodation and meal offerings. We hope that the opening of the new hotel and restaurant will bring increased visitors which will positively impact other local businesses. Finally, we want to say a massive thank you to those who have supported us so far and we are really excited to see what the next year will bring. We are open for light lunches and evening meals and would be delighted to welcome you in”.

The NESPT also owns the category B listed former Clydesdale Bank immediately next door to the hotel. The intention is to extend the hotel into this building to create a large bar/bistro and five additional bedrooms with lift access. A project is currently underway in the courtyard behind the two buildings to provide an extension to the existing hotel restaurant and to link the two buildings together. This work is being funded by the Architectural Heritage Fund and the Scottish Government Place Based Investment Programme. The new restaurant is due for completion at the end of September.

The NESPT is a Registered Scottish Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee. It works across the north-east to restore historic buildings and to bring derelict properties back into productive use. Recent examples include the Sail Loft Bunkhouse in Portsoy and the Silversmith’s Quarters in Banff.

For more information on the Stag & Thistle Hotel & Restaurant see

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