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Highland Coast Hotels eyes up another six hotels on NC500 tourism route

By Caroline McMorran

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Highland Coast Hotels has its sights set on acquiring another six establishments on tourism route North Coast 500, it has emerged.

The company bought over the Kylesku Hotel, the Newton Lodge, Kylesku, the Royal Marine Hotel, Brora, and the Royal Golf Hotel, Dornoch, earlier this year.

The Kylesku Hotel.
The Kylesku Hotel.

Assynt community councillor Malcolm Bangor Jones gave news of the firm’s future plans to Assynt Community Council at its meeting at the end of last month.

Dr Bangor Jones was speaking after attending the inaugural meeting of the Kylesku Hotel and Newton Lodge Community Liaison Group at the Newton Lodge on September 29.

He said: “This was an interesting meeting and we heard of their plans to acquire perhaps another six hotels but also their plans to invest in their existing hotels, starting with the Royal Marine in Brora because that is possibly in the worst state.

“The investment appears to combine both upgrading and expansion. There was particular discussion over the Kylesku Hotel because it was recognised it was a constricted site and the number of cars there is quite extraordinary.

“I made the point that I would expect provision for additional parking to be party of any planning application.”

Dr Bangor Jones said the hotel group was keen to remove the public toilet block, sited near the Kylesku hotel, but had backed down following resistance.

He continued: “But we should all just bear in mind these are just plans, which could change. They have to talk to the Kylesku Crofters’ Trust over land acquisition. There are going to be future meetings and it sounds like these will be a regular occurrence.”

Dr Bangor Jones was asked if there was any reference made to a post on the Better Than Zero Facebook page which stated that it had been contacted by workers at the Kylesku Hotel concerned that their colleagues were being sacked for “raising reasonable complaints and being evicted from staff accommodation with less than 24 hours notice”.

Launched in 2015 by the Scottish Trades Union Congress, the Better than Zero campaign “takes on the issue of insecure work”, especially in the case of young people.

Dr Bangor Jones responded: “That matter was dealt with head-on. They began the meeting dealing with it and their version of events does not coincide with the other version. I suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

“There were issues on both sides. They insisted they followed all procedures and that there were genuine issues. These issues included substances and a fire in the kitchen at 2am and I can understand that action had to be taken.”

Highland Coast Hotels announce business partnership with North Coast 500 Ltd

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