Highland Coast Hotels, a new Scottish-based group, has announced plans to bring sustainable and community-led hospitality to the North Coast 500 touring route in the Scottish Highlands, acquiring several landmark hotels in the region.
The “substantial” investment and modernisation programme will see up to 100 jobs created by, as the group intends to strengthen existing, independently-owned hotels on and around the coastal touring route, as well as boost regional growth.
As the first step in the delivery of its strategic plan, Highland Coast Hotels has acquired several hotels; the Kylesku Hotel and Restaurant, overlooking Loch Gleann Dubh in the far West Highlands; Newton Lodge overlooking Loch Glencoul a few minutes away from Kylesku; The Royal Golf Hotel, Dornoch and The Royal Marine Brora.
The hotels, which will retain their respective names and identities, will now become part of The Highland Coast Hotels Collection. The hospitality group is led by chairman David Whiteford, who lives locally and previously led the Northern Highland Initiative from 2009 to 2021. The group’s executive team is led by CEO, Roddy Watt, a specialist in the Hospitality sector.
Whiteford said: “Together with my colleagues at Highland Coast Hotels, we are delighted to be building on the work of previous custodians of such fine, landmark hotel properties. With the aim of developing a collection of high-quality hotels on and around the increasingly popular and successful North Coast 500 touring route, these hotels represent a very exciting first step in building our portfolio.
“We are very aware they are held in great affection by many regular guests, and this is a responsibility we take very seriously as we develop them for the good of the local communities, our employees, our suppliers and our stakeholders.”
Watt said: “Our aim is to provide memorable hospitality for those visiting the North Highlands. Our intention is to be recognised as the leading group of independent-spirited hotels on and around the route, for those wishing to welcoming, comfortable and authentic experiences in this spectacular landscape.
“We envisage that our substantial investment in the next few years will support sustainable growth in local Highland communities, extend the traditional season, and create many more full-time career opportunities within the Hospitality sector.”
He added: “Our hotels will offer a broadening range of opportunities to our guests to immerse themselves in what the region has to offer. Crucially, we intend to do all of this while being environmentally sensitive and protecting and preserving one of the most beautiful and fragile landscapes in the UK, and one of Europe’s last great wildlands.”
Highland Coast Hotels said it is expecting a strong summer season in 2021. With high occupancy levels already reported, the company is focused on UK-based guests looking to appreciate ‘slow tourism’, taking longer to enjoy restorative holidays.