Up to 100 jobs are to be created by Highland Coast Hotels, a new Scottish-based group aiming to bring innovative, sustainable, and community-led hospitality to the North Coast 500 touring route in the Highlands of Scotland.
In a substantial investment and modernisation programme, Highland Coast Hotels intends to strengthen existing, independently-owned hotels on and around Scotland’s most popular coastal touring route and boost regional growth.
The focus is also on creating environmentally-friendly hotels and supporting local communities and suppliers.
As the first step in the delivery of its strategic plan, Highland Coast Hotels has acquired several of the region’s landmark hotels; the award-winning Kylesku Hotel and Restaurant, overlooking the beautiful Loch Gleann Dubh in the far West Highlands; Newton Lodge overlooking Loch Glencoul a few minutes away from Kylesku; The Royal Golf Hotel, Dornoch positioned by one of the most revered links golf courses in the world; and The Royal Marine Brora, in this historic town, lying close to further golf courses, stunning beaches and world-renowned distilleries.
The hotels, which will retain their names and identities, will now become part of The Highland Coast Hotels Collection.
The North Coast 500 has become synonymous with stunning coastal scenery for those wishing to drive, cycle or explore on foot. With an abundance of history, heritage, culture and visitor attractions, not to mention adventure and wellness activities, the region also offers some of the finest natural and sustainable food produce to be found in the country.
Highland Coast Hotels is led by Chairman David Whiteford, who lives locally and previously led the Northern Highland Initiative from 2009 to 2021. The group’s experienced executive team is led by CEO, Roddy Watt, a specialist in the Hospitality sector.
David Whiteford, Chairman of Highland Coast Hotels, 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”.
Roddy Watt, CEO of Highland Coast Hotels, added: “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.
“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.”
Tanja Lister, co-owner of Kylesku Hotel, commented: “We are so pleased to be handing on the baton at Kylesku, and that our much-loved hotel is to become part of The Highland Coast Hotels Collection.
“The new Group’s forward-thinking culture, and its focus on great hospitality and environmental sustainability will deliver so much for our local communities and the region.
“We could not be happier to be passing on our legacy to such a professional and culturally aligned group, and all of our team are looking forward hugely to expanding their horizons and building on the success we’ve enjoyed over the last decade of our stewardship of Kylesku Hotel.”
Inverness businessman David Sutherland, who led a consortium which owned The Royal Golf Dornoch and The Royal Marine Brora Hotels, added: “Highland Coast Hotels have extremely positive plans for the hotels and intend to build on what has been achieved, so we extend our very best wishes to them for the future.
“They are fortunate to inherit a staff with outstanding levels of quality and commitment, to whom we express our gratitude. We’re confident that the new owners will make a valuable contribution to Sutherland’s visitor product and continue to underpin the communities of Brora and Dornoch in particular.”
Highland Coast Hotels 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 whilst immersing themselves in the glories of the spectacular North Highlands.