Crerar Oban Bay Hotel has become the only hotel in the town to be awarded the highly coveted AA 4-star status.

Despite the disruption to hospitality created by Covid-19, Marc Gardiner, General Manager, and his team at the Crerar Oban Bay Hotel have surpassed the expectations of one of the toughest grading schemes in the world.


Following the detailed and anonymous inspection by the hospitality inspectors, the facilities and hospitality at the hotel scored well past the expected standards for 4-stars and reached the top quarter of all 4-star hotels in the UK.




Oban born Crerar Hotels Chairman, Paddy Crerar CBE said:

“It’s people that make hotels and knowing Marc’s skill brought us 4-stars at our Loch Fyne Hotel in Inveraray, we had no doubts that his ability to unlock and motivate a team that would deliver the same for us at the Oban Bay. Of course we are completely delighted, and at the same time we fully expected it. The people at the Oban Bay work brilliantly together. They bring fun to what they do and that shines through in their hospitality. Their job is to stay authentic and my goodness they really do. From Lexi, the hotel collie dog, to Marc the General Manager, everyone played part in this superb team achievement!

“I’ve been involved with Oban hotels most of my life and professionally for more than three decades - it’s always been my ambition to see quality in the town. The Oban Bay Hotel has managed to achieve one of the highest gradings possible and it’s my most sincere hope that our fellow hoteliers in the town follow suit. Scotland is a global player in tourism and it’s up to us all to raise our game to match the rightly high expectations of our guests. Competition for Oban is not the next door hotel - it’s the towns and resorts of the Lake District, Cornwall and mainland Europe. Despite Covid-19, we all have opportunity and we must take it, we can do that by being the best we can be. Oban should be the shining gem in Scotland’s hospitality crown.”




Unusually for any first grading by AA assessors, the hotel’s approach to and quality of food was immediately singled out, particularly at the new restaurant, The Grill Room. In recognition of their high standards the town now has its second AA Rosette establishment. Rosettes are the AA most prestigious food award celebrating a high level of cuisine.


Oban Bay is now Oban’s only hotel to hold an AA Rosette and delivering this award winning dining experience.


Chris Wayne -Wills, CEO of Crerar Hotels said:

“We fully expected the Oban Bay to achieve 4-stars and it’s a real credit to the team. The AA rosette is a particularly good award for our team to win. It’s tough to achieve at any time and very rare on an inspector’s first visit.

“This is all thanks to our incredible kitchen brigade and front of house team. Their skills are matched by the best ingredients - slow grown grass fed Luing beef and venison from the Crerar Home farm, and of course we have the world’s greatest seafood on our doorstep. 

“Knowing Oban well, as my fiancé’s an Oban girl, I know just how high the food standards are in the town. To be at the top, which is what this award recognises, is really quite humbling. I’m delighted for the team.”


The AA is the worlds most recognised and trusted brands for rating accommodation, hospitality and food. Introduced in 1912, hotels have to go through extensive annual inspections by highly trained “mystery guests” before being awarded up to a maximum of five-stars.




Marc Gardner, General Manager of Oban Bay, said:

“We never know when or who will be inspecting for an AA grading. We only know once the inspector has completed their assessment - it is always a heart stopping moment when they hand over their card and ask to speak with the manager! The hotel was full when he stayed, as it has been ever since we reopened, add into an already busy environment the very strict protocols we have in place for Covid-19 safety and I can assure you the thought of any assessment was never in our minds. It’s the team we have that delivered this, Oban folk and folk who have made Oban their home - they are every bit hospitality professionals and very dedicated. I’m very proud of them.

“Following our ‘Scottish Hospitality for NHS Heroes Weekend’ where our company gifted over 2000 overnight stays to NHS front line staff to say thank you for their incredible work, we’ve been flying! It’s just really nice to get some good news in what’s been a tough year for us all.”


Crerar Hotels is privately owned with a simple aim - to be the best and most authentic hotels and inns in Scotland. The group includes four 4-star hotels and two 4-star inns . The fifth hotel on the Isle of Mull, was mid refurbishment when lockdown halted work . The group hope to be able to resume their ambitious plans over winter to add a fifth 4-star gem to its portfolio. Each of the seven properties prides itself on its unique personality which is inspired by its location and history.


The portfolio comprises of Deeside Inn, Ballater, The Glencoe Inn & Gathering, Glencoe, Golf View, Nairn, Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa, Craignure, Loch Fyne Hotel & Spa, Inveraray, Oban Bay Hotel, Oban and Thainstone House, Inverurie.


Crerar Hotels


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