The Great Western Hotel was established in 1886, and was one of the finest hotels for entertainment in the North of Scotland. When it was built it might be said that it was ahead of its time, as no hotel approaching its size or class was to be found within a long distance. The Great Western Hotel entertained Royalty, King and Queen of Portugal stayed there, they were so pleased with the service they stayed for a fortnight, a valuable tribute to the management. The hotel stood on its own ground commanding a splendid view of the bay.
The dining-hall was one of the finest, as it was one of the largest, dining-halls in Britain. The arrangements were of the very best, and the decorations worth going a distance to see. The still-room opens off it, and is in direct communication with the kitchen, which gave every opportunity for the serving of the viands “hot” and in the best style. It dines two hundred guests comfortably, and had an ingenious device, the idea of the late proprietor, Mr Sutherland, which is, that on the walls the dadoes open and are pressed, where a supply of crystal is kept. To those who are practical hotel-keepers the great advantage of this will be at once apparent, as after the first a relay of crystal can be put on the table without leaving the room.
The billiard and smoking-rooms, adjoining one another, were on the ground floor, and can be entered from the grounds. In there was a trophy of Indian armour, arranged by Mr Sutherland, the son of the proprietrix, and who so ably took the management of this large undertaking.
A captain in the volunteers, a yachtsman who capably and successfully designed his own craft in 1894 and took an interest in every movement for the good and advancement of the town, that Mr John Sutherland was a popular man. An educated, refined gentleman and a thoroughly capable businessman, conducted his business on the highest principles of honour.