Black Sheep Hotels has invested over £20 million in its Highland 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, when tourists once again returned to the Highlands, the hotel chain has welcomed more than 1,250 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, which offers luxury 5-star accommodation at The Whispering Pine Lodge on the shores of Loch Lochy in Lochaber, Rokeby Manor in Invergarry and the iconic Cluanie Inn at Glenmoriston has added an additional 19 bedrooms to these properties via the construction of six cabins at The Whispering Lodge and two cabins at the Cluanie Inn, which are to be launched shortly.
These cabins offer guests a tranquil and beautiful loch side location at The Whispering Pine Lodge or stunning views of the mountains at Glen Shiel at the Cluanie Inn.
Inspired by the Highlands and built with timber, each cosy cabin has a different theme.
The cabins are beautifully furnished and 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.
Since first opening in the Highlands in 2019, Black Sheep Hotels has established a strong reputation for its food with its restaurants Emily’s Byre, Lochside Brasserie and The Cluanie Bar and Kitchen offering a host of different cuisine options for customers.
Its popular Asian restaurant Tiger on the Wall in Inverness, which serves Indian and Oriental cuisine, has proved extremely popular since opening last year, reaching a peak of 65 orders a night for takeaway during lockdown.
Buoyed by the success of Tiger on the Wall, the company is opening a second restaurant in the High Street in Fort William.
Also called Tiger on the Wall, the pop-up restaurant will be 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, 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.
Styled as an old-fashioned bothy, it 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.
Speaking about the programme of investment, Sanjay Narang, owner of Black Sheep Hotels, 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.”