Sir Jim Milne’s Balmoral Group expands into hospitality with Marcliffe Hotel purchase

Sir Jim Milne's Balmoral Group expands into hospitality with Marcliffe Hotel purchase

Sir Jim Milne and Ross Spence

Aberdeen’s renowned five-star Marcliffe Hotel and Spa is set to change hands in a multi-million deal from the Spence family to engineering and property company Balmoral Group.

The sale, expected to complete in late June, will see Balmoral Group retain existing staff and honour all current bookings. Ross Spence is currently the managing director since his father, Stewart Spence’s, retirement in 2021.

The group has appointed Effective Hospitality Management to operate the hotel in collaboration with the existing Marcliffe team. The company plans to invest in modernising the hotel while maintaining its high standards and commitment to the Aberdeen community.

Balmoral Group was founded in 1980 by chairman Sir Jim Milne and has built a reputation for quality and service through its businesses including Balmoral Comtec across the energy sector, Balmoral Tanks in bulk liquid storage, and Blaze Manufacturing, as well as its business park and property business. The move into the hospitality sector follows several years of growth and diversification to acquire and invest in businesses that align with Balmoral Group’s values of excellence, integrity and customer focus.

Sir Jim, who had previously attempted to buy The Marcliffe eight years ago, shared his excitement at the potential acquisition, saying: “The Marcliffe is an Aberdeen institution, and is an establishment very close to my heart.

“I’ve known the Spence family for a long time and it feels like a natural progression for Balmoral Group. Stewart is recognised as one of the best hoteliers in Scotland, and it’s through his work that we have strong foundations to continue his legacy.”

Balmoral Group will continue the ongoing refurbishment programme at the hotel and has plans to inject a substantial initial investment into modernising the hotel’s systems, processes and suites to offer an elevated customer experience and quality.

Sir Jim added: “Maintaining the quality and standards that The Marcliffe is known for, while also retaining jobs, is of the utmost importance to us.

“We are completely committed to the Aberdeen community through our backing of Friends of ANCHOR and other charitable foundations, and we want The Marcliffe to prosper through our ownership.”

Ross Spence, managing director, said: “While it’s bittersweet to think we may soon be handing over the keys to The Marcliffe, we know that Balmoral are the perfect fit to continue its legacy.

“As long-time custodians of The Marcliffe brand, our family has cherished and nurtured it with love and dedication. So much of our lives have been spent here and the staff and regular customers have become family over the years – Sir Jim is part of that.

“We are confident that Balmoral will honour The Marcliffe’s heritage and care for it with the same passion and commitment that has been at the heart of our family so that the hotel will thrive for decades more.”

Bill Main, deputy managing director at Balmoral Group, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming The Marcliffe team into Balmoral Group, with the help of EHM we are confident we can make it a seamless transition.”

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