3. Balavil Hotel

BalavilHotelgardensThe Balavil Hotel was originally an inn run by the Bentick family. As the village developed into a fashionable holiday resort in the late 1880s, the inn was upgraded to a hotel.

By 1890 it was known as the Belleville Arms Hotel, after the local estate. The owner at that time was Robert Forbes. He started the long association between the hotel and the Newtonmore shinty team by sponsoring the game. The back bar of the Balavil is is filled with shinty photos and memorabilia and is still the place to find shinty players and supporters after a game. 

In 1900 the hotel was sold to George Sellar, a wine and spirit merchant in Kingussie who became the owner of Dew of Ben Alder whisky. He reconstructed the hotel, with William Laidlaw Carruthers of Inverness as the architect. Tourism in Newtonmore developed so rapidly in the early years of the 20th century that in 1907 and 1913 further additions to the Balavil were needed. It was in 1913 that a new dining-room, ten bedrooms and a new staircase were added. The hotel had impressive gardens where the car park now is. The gardens housed pear trees which were very popular with local boys.

Balavilponiesc1970The hotel has changed hands on several occasions since the First World War. In the late 1940s the Balavil was bought by Ewan Ormiston, who started the first ski school in the area in 1948 and pony-trekking holidays in 1952. The pony park was a field beside the hotel where the Co-op now is.

Sources:

Local residents
Kingussie Record
Badenoch Record
Inverness Courier
Scottish Highlander
Census records
County directories
Valuation rolls
J. Gifford (1992) The Buildings of Scotland: Highlands & Islands

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