The Royal Marine Hotel Brora reveals a preview of £1.6m refurbishment

by Francesca

Highland Coast Hotels is pleased to share a preview of the extensive and exciting renovation of the Royal Marine Hotel, Brora ahead of its formal reopening. Situated only a little over an hour’s drive from the city of Inverness in the North Highlands, the hotel has undergone a total refurbishment of its 21 bedrooms. All the public areas on the ground floor have also been renovated and the hotel is launching new food and beverage concepts, including the opening of The Curing Yard Restaurant, the Megan Boyd Bar, and the James Braid Lounge, all of which will serve meals. 

Located in the historic coastal town of Brora, the Royal Marine Hotel’s new design reflects the beauty of the nearby stunning beaches just steps from the hotel, as well as an unspoilt wilderness of lochs, glens and mountains which are right on its doorstep. Guests are welcome to enjoy outstanding, fresh, local food with a range of new dining options as well as a challenging 18-hole links course at Brora Golf Club, a stone’s throw from the front door. Overlooking the quaint Harbour of Brora, and with a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, the Royal Marine Hotel guarantees a warm Highland welcome in spectacular surroundings. 

Combining local heritage with country chic, the new interiors have a ‘Scandi-Scot’ feel, making the hotel airier and lighter but still maintaining its many beautiful traditional features and ensuring the theme centres on the story and history of Brora. The design was developed by ISA, an Edinburgh-based architecture and interior design practice.

The Highland community has been at the heart of every decision made by Highland Coast Hotels, with a Community Liaison Group acting as a forum for Brora locals to give feedback on plans. Local building contractors, joiners, suppliers and materials have been used wherever possible during the renovation.  For example, the new, super-quality beds have been sourced from Highland BlindCraft Beds, an ethically run business employing and supporting local people. Based in Inverness,. Since its inception in 1881, Highland BlindCraft Beds has provided education and employment opportunities to visually impaired individuals in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

Highland BlindCraft’s Executive Manager, Heather McDonald, says;

“At Highland BlindCraft over 70% of our staff have a disability, ranging from audio-visual impairments to learning difficulties. The support from local business such as the Royal Marine Hotel allows Highland BlindCraft to continue its long-standing tradition of providing work and education for people in the Highlands living with a disability.”

Other local artisans featured in the newly refurbished hotel include Sutherland-based master potter Fergus Stewart and Sheenagh Harrison from nearby Tain, who creates Highland-inspired seascapes. This is in addition to Isle of Skye-based digital artist Cath Waters, whose inspiration comes from travels around the Highlands, Islands and West Coast of Scotland. The hotel has also used other Highland artists including Fenella Bound and Mouse MacPherson.  The public spaces of the hotel also exhibit many atmospheric photographs of the region taken over a lifetime by the very highly regarded landscape and life and wildlife photographer, Glynn Satterley.  Finally, the bespoke tartan blankets in all the bedrooms are from The Tartan Blanket Company and include a Hunting Fraser Weathered Tartan in the Heritage Rooms and Buchanan Tartan in the Deluxe Double Rooms. 

Chairman of Highland Coast Hotels, David Whiteford comments;

“The redevelopment of the Royal Marine Brora is as much for the local community as it is for visitors to the North Highlands of Scotland. As always, much of our focus has been on showcasing, wherever possible a wide range of locally created products from suppliers, who, in turn, try and source their raw materials as close to home as possible.. We see this refurbishment as an opportunity to play our part in helping to fulfil the ambitious and exciting ‘Vision for Brora’. 

We will also be delighted to reveal in more detail, in the forthcoming days, of our new food and beverage offers which pay tribute to the heritage and notable residents of the village from bygone days.  We hope these new eating out opportunities encourage locals to utilise their community cards regularly in our outlets both in Brora and elsewhere.” 

The renovation at the Royal Marine Hotel is just the first step in Highland Coast Hotel’s substantial investment and modernisation programme. The group is strengthening the offer of its expanding portfolio of hotels on and around Scotland’s most popular coastal touring route, the NC 500, as well as boosting regional growth. The focus is also on creating environmentally-friendly hotels and supporting local communities and suppliers with new jobs and businesses created in the Highlands as a direct result of this investment. As a further example of the group’s commitment to the region, anybody living within 15 miles of a Highland Coast Hotel is eligible to apply for the new Highland Coast Hotels Community Card which provides a 30% discount in the restaurants and bars all year round, and a 50% discount off an overnight stay at any hotel (including the newly renovated Royal Marine Hotel), from October to March inclusive.

Local resident and member of the Community Group, Deirdre Mackay remarks;

“The Royal Marine Hotel has been completely transformed. Whilst tastefully preserving its traditional charm and character, the refurbishment has certainly delivered the wow factor and it’s great to see this standard of facility on our coast. It’s also particularly welcome to see the life and work of Megan Boyd feature in the new bar which I’m sure will prove a particular draw to anglers the world over as well as preserving a special part of our local heritage.

Working with the local community Highland Coast Hotels are providing a range of training and employment opportunities as well as opportunities for food growers and local artisans. The introduction of the Community Card has been warmly welcomed affording local people the opportunity to stay, and or eat, at any of the Highland Coast Hotels at discounted rates.”

Highland Coast Hotels is expecting a strong summer season in 2022. With high occupancy levels already reported, the company is focused on guests who are looking to appreciate ‘slow tourism’, taking longer to enjoy restorative holidays whilst immersing themselves in the glories of the spectacular North Highlands. 

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