New Scottish hospitality group Highland Coast Hotels has acquired three further properties: Newton Lodge, the Royal Golf Dornoch hotel (pictured) and the Royal Marine Brora hotel, all in Sutherland.
The news follows the group's recent acquisition of the nearby Kylesku hotel. As part of a "substantial investment and modernisation programme", Highland Coast Hotels intends to buy and invest in existing hotels on and around the coastal touring route. The focus is also on creating environmentally friendly hotels and supporting local communities and suppliers.
The hotels, which will retain their respective names and identities, will now become part of the Highland Coast Hotels Collection. The seven-bedroom Newton Lodge was previously owned by Ed, Lisa and Blythe Newton; while the 22-bedroom Royal Golf hotel and the 21-bedroom Royal Marine hotels were owned by a consortium led by Inverness businessman David Sutherland.
Sutherland said: "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."
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, chief executive 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."