THE owners of the Aberdour Hotel have decided the "time is right" to sell after running the business for 17 years.

Scott and Iona Wilkinson have been in charge since the beginning of 2007 and will put the High Street property back on the market next month.

Last week we reported that the Woodside Hotel was to be turned into flats as the owners said keeping it as a viable business was "virtually impossible".

However, Mr Wilkinson said any idea that they were selling up due to similar struggles was "so far from the truth".

He explained: "It's a personal choice rather than a business choice. My son Jack is coming to the end of his schooling and we'd always planned to sell at that time.

Dunfermline Press: Scott and Iona Wilkinson have owned the Aberdour Hotel since 2007 and have now decided the time is right to sell.Scott and Iona Wilkinson have owned the Aberdour Hotel since 2007 and have now decided the time is right to sell. (Image: Google Maps)

"Last year was our busiest year ever. This year has been pretty good, probably a tiny bit down on the previous year but that was our best in 16 years.

"So any thought that the hotel is struggling is so far from the truth.

"We do lots of food, we've got the beer garden and accommodation has been one of our major successes because, let's be honest, 21 bedrooms at the Woodside aren't there any more and that's helped us.

"The Cedar Inn has also been shut for maybe five years, I think we've seen three or four operators go in our time here.

"We do accommodation for business, golf trips, tourists and because we're so close to Edinburgh, when it fills up at festival time we then fill up."

A deal for the hotel fell through in October as the prospective owner wasn't able to sell their property down south.

Mr Wilkinson said: "It will be going back on the market at the end of January but I'm still hoping he'll come back as he's absolutely the right person for it, he's got the right experience and has family in Aberdour.

"I hope for the village he does buy it."

He added: "I'm not precious about it but I would like it to be taken over by someone that knows what they're doing as it's an important asset for Aberdour.

"We're the only hotel left and if someone does what they're doing at the Woodside and turned this into flats that would be really sad.

"The only place left to go for a drink would be the Foresters Arms."

The hotel started out as a 17th century coaching inn and now has 16 bedrooms, a bar, restaurant and beer garden.

Asked what makes for a successful hotel and he said: "It's about staff.

"Look after the staff and make sure the offering is as good as it can be. And fill your bedrooms.

"Do that and everything else will fall into place.

"We have a number of long term members of staff, some up to 12 -13 years, which tells me they must be reasonably happy.

"They know the customers and customer service is paramount."

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The hospitality industry is still facing tough times and he continued: "Yes, Covid was a major inconvenience but we used that time to do lots of jobs we'd wanted to do but hadn't got round to.

"We put on a new roof, tarmacked the car park, we used the time wisely.

"The grants we got from the government we spent on the building, we fixed things that weren't right before we reopened."

Mr Wilkinson, who previously worked for Whitbread and ran the Guildford Arms in Edinburgh for five years, said he was looking forward to spending more time with family.

He admitted: "I'm a little bit nervous but quite excited too.

"The time is right for me and my wife, Iona, to take a back seat as we've been doing this for a long time.

"I'm not going to retire, I'm only 53, but we will semi-retire."