BY Peter Diamond | May 31 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

3-arasiag

Arisaig church lists chapel house on Airbnb

A priest in the Scottish Highlands has said he has been ‘overwhelmed’ by the ‘positive response following the parish decision to advertise the chapel house for rental on holiday accommodation website Airbnb

Fr Stanislaw Pamula, parish priest at St Mary’s Arisaig, only put up the listing of the house, which can accommodate nine people, in the second week of May and has already five bookings with the month of July accounted for.

The decision to advertise the parish house on Airbnb was not one taken lightly after initially attempting to advertise as a retreat house, but with little interest Fr Pamula and the parish council opted to go commercial.

 

Laying empty

Fr Stanislaw, who is also parish priest at St Donnan’s Isle of Eigg, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour and St Cumin’s Morar and St Patrick’s, Mallaig and St Columba’s, Isle of Canna, said: “When I came here in 2016 I was given parishes in Mallaig, Morar and Arisaig and because of the location I opted to stay in Morar because it was situated between the other churches.

“However, this meant that the house in Arisaig was always empty and parishioners rightly began to ask is there a way to generate money out of the chapel house.”

 

Renovation

According to the parish priest some of the building hadn’t been refurbished since the 1960s.

More than £24,000 was spent renovating the building, with funds coming from parish fundraising.

“The people here are terrific and there is still a great sense of community and togetherness,” said the parish priest.

Fr Stanislaw added: “We have had five bookings already with the whole of July almost booked up including a family from Luxemburg who are very excited about coming to stay in the Highlands.

“It is quite reassuring to know people are excited to come because I was initially a bit anxious about listing the place as a chapel house but people have sent messages saying they are delighted to be staying next to a church.”

 

Hospitality

The 19th century C-listed building is now poised to take on a new lease of life and Fr Stanislaw believes the parish is doing a great job of honouring ‘Highland hospitality.’

“I’m delighted with the progress so far because I thought you have to make sure everything is up to standard if you want to generate income from this and at first I was a bit unsure but we are now getting there.

“Airbnb is actually a good service because you can set the rules and make sure that any guests are firmly aware that we have church bells that ring every hour. We are trying to honour the great Highland hospitality.”

 

Religious purpose

St Mary’s parish house will also still be available to people who want to use it for religious purposes, Fr Stanislaw said.

St Mary’s Chapel house can be stayed in for a minimum of three nights at a rate of £94 per night. The house can accommodate nine people.

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