New boutique hotel for Oban

Ioana Moldovan, new general manager of No 26 By The Sea in Oban

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A new boutique hotel and house is set to open in Oban later this month.

No. 26 By The Sea is the latest investment in the town by experienced restaurateur and businessman Paul Sloan.

Major works are under way at the bay-facing nine-room property which has been extended and is situated between MacKays Guest House and Alltavona House on Corran Esplanade.

Formerly guesthouse Ach-Na-Mara, or Meadow By The Sea, it commands panoramic views of the bay and islands.

No formal opening date has been set in August as the property is being entirely redeveloped having been purchased in October.

The original plan was to open in May, but the works were delayed by the coronavirus.

General manager will be Ioana Moldovan, of Oban, who is originally from Transylvania, Romania, where she studied economy and tourism at university.

Ioana, aged 26, has gone on to make a career in hospitality; both in her home country and Cheltenham, England.

A year and a half ago, she moved to Scotland, working at The Taynuilt Inn until December last year, and then taking on the new project.

Of the new venture, Ioana said: ‘It’s not going to be a typical hotel and when you come in I want it to feel like home and to feel really relaxed.’

The aim is to raise the bar for guest accommodation and provide a high standard.

Each room has been individually-created by top interior designer Dominic Paul of Glasgow-based IBDP, which has spearheaded major refurbishment projects across Scotland from top restaurants to major hotel makeovers.

Room themes for No. 26 By The Sea include a cabin room, a garden room and a Scottish room, among others.

The Scottish room will feature a large four-poster bed, a balcony and high-quality fabrics and contemporary Tartan materials.

Special touches include custom-designed handmade features in the rooms made by expert carpenters.

These include headboards made of beautiful wood from Ireland, and a room containing a free-standing copper bathtub.

No. 26 will also offer a modest gymnasium and two self-serving ‘honesty bars’ with guests noting down their drinks and settling at departure.

Plans include allowing the entire property to be booked out as a house by groups of friends and staging events.

These will include relaxed and informal cookery classes led by highly-experienced and long-standing Oban chef Alex Needham.

The hotel has been recruiting new members of staff – four to begin with – and plans to grow depending on the performance of tourism in the months ahead.