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Q&A with the general manager of Dornoch Station hotel


By Rachel Smart

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Marine & Lawn is a collection of hotels and resorts owned by Nashville-based AJ Capital and are set along some of the world’s most coveted golf courses. It has recently acquired and refurbished Dornoch Station hotel. Executive caught up with the general manager Robert Rogers about the changes which have taken place and what people can expect to see at the destination.

Why did Marine and Lawn decide to take over the Dornoch Station hotel?

ONE of our main pillars at Marine & Lawn is that we refurbish storied, much-loved hotels to higher standards for a more discerning type of guest.

The grandiose hotels located next to golf courses have wonderful views of the surrounding seas and landscapes, allowing us to offer a unique hospitality experience that intertwines lifestyle, exceptional culinary offerings, and wellness.

Our hotels are located next to world-famous courses and as such, Dornoch Station, positioned just next to Royal Dornoch Golf Club was a natural fit.

Dornoch Station, with its rich history dating back to 1902, presented a unique opportunity for Marine & Lawn’s collection of properties, each of which draw design inspiration from the coastal positioning, golf heritage, and storytelling of their respective destinations.

The rebranding of the hotel as ‘Dornoch Station’ on August 28 was a nod to its original name, the ‘Station Hotel,’ preserving its

historical significance.

Dornoch is known for its old-world charm, with notable attractions like Dornoch Beach, Dornoch Cathedral, Glenmorangie distillery, and Dunrobin Castle. The hotel’s location also provides guests with breathtaking views of the lawn, flags, and the Dornoch Firth.

Dornoch Station Hotel
Dornoch Station Hotel

What has the extensive refurbishment of the hotel entailed?

The extensive refurbishment of Dornoch Station has encompassed various aspects of the property, enhancing both the property’s design and amenities.

The hotel now features 89 spacious guest rooms which have been designed to evoke the cosy ambiance of Scottish Highland

cottages.

Custom wallpaper inspired by natural colours, fauna, and flora adorns the walls and velvet lounge chairs are strategically placed by the windows to provide our guests with an opportunity to take in the scenic views of the Dornoch Firth.

The public spaces are also brand new, such as the lobby of the hotel. Designed by AJ Capital’s in-house interior design team, the new lobby pays homage to the property’s original design features including existing wood panelling which has been preserved and celebrated.

The bar area has been designed for warmth and comfort and incorporates natural colours with green tiles reflecting the golf lawn

and walls are adorned with the tartan of the Royal Dornoch Golf Club.

We incorporated seaside themes throughout the hotel design, including shell-shaped lighting installations and wood-carved

lighthouse-shaped tables in the bedrooms, adding a touch of coastal charm to the interiors.

With Dornoch Station, we have also introduced two new food and beverage offerings.

Dornoch Station Hotel
Dornoch Station Hotel

The Golden Gorse is a destination restaurant offering stunning views over the Royal Dornoch Links and

the sea, featuring a seasonal all-day a-la-carte menu, afternoon tea and a Sunday Roast menu.

Secondly, Bar Ross offers classic cocktails and a wide selection of whiskies, wines, and beers, along with Scottish bar snacks in our quintessential Highland bar. Bar Ross is named after famous golf course architect and Dornoch native Donald Ross, who learned the game on Royal Dornoch’s links.

The hotel grounds now also include a new putting green and fire pits for guests to enjoy, providing additional recreational opportunities in a picturesque outdoor setting.

The refurbishment of Dornoch Station encompasses a comprehensive redesign and enhancement of the guest experience, combining elements of the Scottish Highlands, seaside charm, and a celebration of the area’s rich golfing history.

Dornoch Station Hotel
Dornoch Station Hotel

What markets are you focusing on?

With Dornoch Station, our primary focus is on the leisure market, weddings, supporting local businesses and local events from the

surrounding area.

While we are not a traditional fine dining establishment, we proudly offer delicious home style cooked food with a Scottish twist at The Golden Gorse and Bar Ross.

Additionally, we have a strong focus on sourcing our food locally and we predominantly cater to the local market using the very best of fresh seasonal ingredients, something which is incredibly important to us.

Dornoch Station Hotel
Dornoch Station Hotel

What are you doing to support the local employment and community?

We are deeply committed to supporting local employment. At present, nearly all of our team is made up of local employees, reflecting our dedication to providing opportunities for the community.

We actively engage in ongoing recruitment efforts, demonstrating a commitment to continually invest in local talent.

Inclusivity is also crucial to our hiring processes, including providing opportunities for individuals with learning difficulties, demonstrating a commitment to creating an inclusive and diverse workforce.

We also actively participate in local events and cultural activities. This involvement not only strengthens our ties with the local community but also contributes to the vibrancy and vitality of the area which is important.

When organising events and activations, we also prioritise the use of local resources. This includes engaging local workshops, suppliers, and decorators. By doing so, we not only support local businesses but also ensure that events reflect the unique character and offerings of the community. We are also looking to collaborate with local musicians to provide in-house entertainment to showcase talent within the community and enhance the overall guest experience.

Finally, we also take an active role in supporting local schools and charities. This support is extended through initiatives such as raffle and prize draws. By contributing in this way, we actively participate in the wellbeing of our community and its members here in Dornoch.

Dornoch Station Hotel
Dornoch Station Hotel

What makes Dornoch Station Hotel stand out?

Our location is absolutely unbeatable – a common thread throughout the Marine & Lawn collection. Dornoch Station is located

mere steps from the legendary Royal Dornoch Golf Club, one of Scotland’s finest championship courses and the crown jewel of golf in the Scottish Highlands, offering our guests a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to immerse themselves in the region’s golfing

heritage.

The hotel is also situated on four acres within Dornoch, offering a stunning backdrop of natural beauty such as views of the coastline and Dornoch Firth.


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