Hotel group hoping tourists will flock to the Highlands following £20m investment
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Highland hospitality group Black Sheep Hotels has made a £20 million investment in its portfolio of boutique hotels, lodges and restaurants in Lochaber and Inverness-shire, creating more than 80 new jobs.
Since the easing of lockdown measures at the end of April, allowing tourists to return to the Highlands, the hotel chain has welcomed more than 1250 guests to its hotels and restaurants in two weeks.
The new additions to Black Sheep Hotels’ portfolio, which include the construction of eight new cabins, a new restaurant in Fort William and the construction of a unique bakery on the road to Skye, reflect the anticipated demand for quality accommodation and food and drink as the season gets underway.
The hotel chain properties include The Whispering Pine Lodge at Loch Lochy in Lochaber, Rokeby Manor in Invergarry and Cluanie Inn at Glenmoriston.
The investment has created an additional 19 bedrooms at these properties with six new cabins at The Whispering Lodge and two cabins at the Cluanie Inn, which all come with outdoor patios, spacious living, dining, and open kitchen areas, gas fireplaces and barbeque facilities. Whilst the cabins are self-catering, they are also adjacent to the hotel to make full use of the restaurant facilities.
Buoyed by the success of its Inverness pop-up Asian restaurant, Tiger on the Wall, the company is opening a second restaurant of the same name on Forth William High Street in Fort William. Located opposite the Highland Cinema which opened last year. The restaurant will be open throughout the main tourist season and will close briefly in the autumn for a full refurbishment.
In another extension to its food and drink arm, which also includes Emily’s Byre, Lochside Brasserie and The Cluanie Bar and Kitchen, Black Sheep Hotels will open the Landour Bake House.
This bakery and patisserie, newly constructed during lockdown, is directly opposite The Cluanie Inn, on the road to Skye, and will serve homemade cakes, pastries and sandwiches from recipes dating back to the 1890s.
All of these new facilities are set to open over the next few weeks as well as a new spa offering, The Little Spa & Salon, at the group’s flagship hotel, The Whispering Pine Lodge.
Group owner Sanjay Narang said: “Everyone at Black Sheep Hotels is optimistic about the season and looking forward to welcoming guests back to the Highlands. Whilst there is no doubt that the hospitality industry has been badly hit by the pandemic, I firmly believe that the Highlands offers the perfect destination for people seeking a well-earned break and escape after lockdown.
“We anticipate a surge in demand in tourism, especially from within the UK at the start of the season and we think that this popularity is set to stay. We pride ourselves on offering excellent customer service and luxury accommodation and our £20 million investment and expansion of our portfolio reflects both the market opportunities we predict as well as our commitment to the Highland economy and creating sustainable employment.”