One of Aberdeen’s most prestigious hotels has been saved from demolition after it has apparently been withdrawn from sale. The Marcliffe at Pitfodels in Cults was due to close this year after owner Stewart Spence announced in 2014 his retirement from business, with the family’s iconic site to be bought by Stewart Milne Developers for re-development as a business and office complex.
However, Mr Spence, after 53 years as a hotelier in various parts of Aberdeen city, revealed to his staff last Friday (February 27) that both parties have “walked away” from the deal. The reasons given by the hotelier are that he himself does not feel quite ready to retire, that his son Ross will now take over from his father doing the ‘Front of House’ work (Ross is currently the head chef in the establishment), and that he had also been motivated by the amount of public appeals the family have received to keep The Marcliffe open, saying: “There is no doubt the public demand made the decision to keep the hotel going much easier,” and adding that now “things feel very positive for our family.”
Much of the concern expressed by people both in the Cults area and further afield around the city centred on the issue not merely of losing the hotel but that it had apparently been revealed by Stewart Milne Developers that the original granite hotel building would be demolished, an issue which had been raised with local councillors as it appeared to contradict the city council’s policy of not demolishing fine old granite buildings. In addition, the loss would be felt by many organisations which used the hotel’s function suites for annual events that had become part of the area’s social life, especially well-known fundraising charity events like fashion shows, luncheons, and the huge annual Art Evening run by Aberdeen-Deeside Rotary Club.
With no bookings having been taken for 2015 (once those already booked had taken place), it remains to be seen what happens next as the new generation of the Spence family move to the forefront for what Stewart Spence hopes will be a return to what he terms “the glory days” of The Marcliffe at Pitfodels.
Things feel very positive for our family.Stewart Spence