Built in 1881, the Loch Awe Hotel was acquired by Lochs and Glens in 1990 and since then a number of improvements have been made to the building. The building has been sympathetically modernised and considerably extended since 1881 but the surrounding countryside and scenery have changed very little.

Loch Awe Railway Station



The Loch Awe Hotel was built in 1881 to accommodate the tourist boom in the Highlands. Throughout the late 19th century the railway was spreading westwards and Duncan Fraser, the founder of the Loch Awe Hotel, realised the impact that the railway would have on tourism in the area. Duncan Fraser was entrepreneurial and became successful through a remarkable series of events. Initially employed as a hall porter at the Ardeonaig Hotel on Loch Tayside he was commonly known as Boots Fraser because one of his numerous jobs was to clean the shoes of hotel guests. The Ardeonaig Hotel was owned by the Earl of Breadalbane, a wealthy landowner. Once a year the tenants gathered at one of the Earl's properties to pay rents to the factor. History does not relate exactly what happened but there was unrest amongst the tenants (more than likely due to a rise in rent). Whatever the cause, the tenants were unhappy and ended up attacking the factor and it was young Duncan Fraser who came to the rescue and managed to spirit the factor away by the back door. The Earl was so impressed with Fraser's heroics that he decided to reward him handsomely with the next vacant tenancy of a hotel on his estate - the Dalmally Hotel. This series of events coincided with the age of Victorian travel and the coming of the railways to the Western Highlands. The line reached Dalmally in 1877 and finally terminated in 1880 at Oban. With all of this going on Duncan Fraser realised the impact the railway would have on tourism in the area. So in 1881, with the help of his benefactor, Fraser arranged for the building of the Loch Awe Hotel at a cost of slightly over £7,000. The hotel was built in the Scottish Baronial Style and the outward appearance has changed very little. 

The village of Lochawe owes its existence and name to the railway line. During the last few years of the nineteenth century a number of houses were built and the village was created. Lochawe became a Victorian hot-spot for the gentry and a number of mansions were built as hunting and fishing lodges.

During the 1920s and 1930s the Loch Awe Hotel gained a reputation as a high class establishment. The idyllic location and elegance of the hotel attracted the aristocracy and many contemporary celebrities, including the American tennis players Helen Wills and Bill Tilden. Kirk Douglas was another famous visitor and he starred in the film “To Catch Me a Spy”, part of which was filmed at the Loch Awe Hotel. As tourism spread so did transport and up to 15 rowing boats were available to guests for fishing. The saloon steamer Mona also called in regularly to the pier. The hotel could also provide lawn tennis, croquet, billiards and guides for the ascent of Ben Cruachan.

The Loch Awe Hotel remained in Duncan Fraser's family until 1943, when his trustees sold it to the Loch Awe Hotel Company Ltd. In about 1960 this company went in voluntary liquidation and the liquidator sold the building to the New Loch Awe Hotel Ltd. During the early 1970s, the hotel changed hands twice ending up as part of HF Holidays Ltd - part of the Christian Holiday Fellowship. For many years it was a temperance hotel and it was not until 1987 that the bar was reinstated! During this period the building was neglected and constant refurbishments have been undertaken since the hotel came into the Lochs & Glens Holiday group in 1990.