Lookout Mountain's McLemore resort gains international expertise as it continues to grow

Valor Hospitality Partners managing Walker County property

Contributed photo by Crowe PR / The clubhouse at the McLemore resort on Lookout Mountain also holds a restaurant called The Creag.
Contributed photo by Crowe PR / The clubhouse at the McLemore resort on Lookout Mountain also holds a restaurant called The Creag.

Euan McGlashan's hospitality company manages hotels and resort properties in such far-flung places as Bangkok, Cape Town and Glasgow and now it's doing so on Lookout Mountain in Georgia.

Valor Hospitality Partners was picked to oversee the growing McLemore resort in Walker County, where a restaurant and clubhouse recently opened to join the golf course, which Golf Digest in August cited as having "the best finishing hole" in America.

"That's an incredible property," McGlashan said in a telephone interview last week. "It's amazing. That's something very special."

Valor, co-founded by McGlashan a decade ago, has 60 hotel properties in its portfolio. While Atlanta based, the company has offices in London, Cape Town, Bangkok and Dubai, he said.

The company chief executive said Valor will bring to bear its worldwide expertise and experience to McLemore.

"We've got a lot of golf resort experience in the world," McGlashan said.

photo Contributed photo / Euan McGlashan is CEO of Valor Hospitality Partners

The upscale resort on the east brow of the mountain overlooking McLemore Cove has 80 homes with more underway. Also, there are plans for a 235-room lodge and a 30,000-square-foot convention center, with the total project seen as a more than $150 million development.

McGlashan and McLemore CEO Duane Horton originally met years ago, they said.

Horton recalled that when the project was called Canyon Ridge, the hotel company with which it was then working recommended operators to manage their flags and one of those was McGlashan.

"Euan and his team stood out," Horton said, citing Valor's Atlanta home base and its worldwide reach. "As much as we say McLemore is a regional destination, we believe it will be an international destination as well."

The Creag (pronounced Craig), the newly opened restaurant, features a large, double-sided stone fireplace, exposed wood beams and glass doors that connect the space to an outdoor terrace, according to the resort.

The menu is termed Southern comfort with a contemporary twist and features items such as smoked portobello fries, barbecue short ribs, pimento cheese hush puppies and deep-fried apple pie as well as prime rib and steak options from the grill. Horton said The Creag is open to the public by reservation.

McGlashan and Horton said Valor is undertaking all the management operations at McLemore, including the restaurant, clubhouse and the so-called stay and play packages which enable guests to book overnight accommodations in some of the existing homes.

photo Staff file photo / McLemore developer Duane Horton talks about plans for the Lookout Mountain resort.

Horton said he expects McLemore to finish 202o profitably. He said the Golf Digest recognition attracted a lot of attention.

"We turned away 71 groups in October," Horton said. "We didn't have enough places for them to stay."

He said that McLemore is working with some downtown hotels when it is at full capacity, but some people want to stay on site.

Nine new homes are under construction with more to come, Horton said, with several of those going into the rental program. Only one of the 80 existing homes, all privately owned, are on the market, he said.

While groundbreaking has occurred on the lodge, which will hold a Curio by Hilton flag, construction work is expected to move forward on the and the convention space sometime in 2021, Horton said. The developer hopes to open the convention and hotel complex in 2023.

"The community works without the lodge,"Horton said. "It's a grand slam with the lodge."

Horton said the project in October generated sales and hotel taxes of $20,000, not including property taxes. Currently, McLemore has 70 employees.

Looking ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic, McGlashan said he sees "a groundswell of pent-up demand" for travel. While the first half of 2021 will be tough, he expects people will be back up and traveling by the summer.

That said, conventions and conferences will recover more slowly, according to McGlashan.

McLemore will be regarded "as one of the very best in North America. This will be second to none."

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

photo Staff file photo / The McLemore golf course's 18th hole sits on a perched terrace overlooking the valley.

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