Guest house

The Cumberland invests in a luxury guesthouse and baking school in the Scottish countryside

LA Cumberland Building Society has announced a six-figure investment to support the acquisition of a guesthouse and baking school in Perthshire, Scotland.

The investment in Strathardle Lodge, an 18and A century-old Jacobean property set amongst woodland and in the foothills of Cairngorm National Park, demonstrates The Cumberland’s continued commitment to lending within the hospitality industry.

Lee Doswell, business relations manager, and Natalie Richardson, business associate at the Building Society of Carlisle, worked on the project, which involved financing more than half of the purchase of the property, formerly named the Strathardle Inn, by a well-known cake decorating expert. Paul Bradford and his partner David Brice.

The couple bought the property in December 2021 to provide a new and unique experience for guests visiting the Perthshire countryside by combining luxury dog-friendly accommodation with the provision of residential cake courses, run by Paul.

Situated in one of Scotland’s most scenic and unspoilt areas, Strathardle Lodge offers guests the opportunity to take advantage of many hiking and cycling routes and even ski in the nearby town of Glenshee by winter.

As part of the investment, Strathardle Lodge is currently undergoing renovations to upgrade its nine bedrooms as well as build a brand new gym on the property. In addition to sourcing products and materials locally, the owners plan to make the property more sustainable by installing solar panels on the grounds. They are also exploring opportunities to expand the supply of leisure facilities to ensure that the focus is on the health and well-being of guests.

Renowned for his skills as a cake decorator, Paul Bradford has over 20 years experience in the industry and has created cakes for the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince Albert of Monaco. He is the lead tutor for CakeFlix, the leading subscription-based online cake decorating tutorial website, which now has over 200,000 subscribers. David manages the administrative parts of the business, including the website, marketing and finance.

Commenting on the investment, Strathardle Lodge co-owner David Brice said: “It has been a pleasure working with The Cumberland to make our dream of creating a beautiful rural getaway a reality. Lee and Natalie made buying Strathardle Lodge not only possible, but a much smoother and less stressful process than we ever anticipated, especially as we were living in Spain for much of the process. We are delighted to have the opportunity to demonstrate Highland hospitality to our customers and offer a unique retreat to enhance the creativity of those who attend our pastry school.

The Cumberland has recently made a number of changes to its offering, including the introduction of a relationship management service, with each customer given a single point of contact for questions regarding their hospitality mortgage . The team is also supported by dedicated associates who provide essential support to ensure cases are handled efficiently.

The commercial team has also taken on new members, including several experienced bankers, based in key regions of the UK, including Scotland and the North West, North East and South West of England, including Devon and Cornwall.

Lee Doswell, Business Relations Manager at The Cumberland, commented: “We are truly delighted to be part of Paul and David’s adventure into the guest house industry, which combined with a residential school of cakes and to a highly desirable location, brings a unique experience and an exciting offering.With a successful business track record behind them, we have no doubt they will make Strathardle Lodge a huge success and we are proud to be part of such an exciting project and innovative.

“While the pandemic has brought many challenges to the hospitality industry, we have a very positive outlook when it comes to hotels and vacation rentals and look forward to showing our continued support for hotel loans over the coming months. year.”

Scott McKerracher, Commercial Manager at The Cumberland, added: “We expect to see more challenges in the hospitality industry over the next year, including staff shortages and inflationary pressures, adding to the sense of instability. .”

“However, many companies have still managed to seize great investment opportunities – David and Paul’s project is a perfect example. It’s a truly exciting time for the future of hospitality, and this new chapter for Strathardle Lodge promises to bring something special to the beautiful Perthshire countryside.

Based in Carlisle, the Cumberland Building Society operates across the UK, specializing in hotel loans, including hotels, holiday rentals, buy-to-let, guest houses and B&Bs.