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Highland Coast Hotels swoops for Plockton Inn and hikes wages

Highland Coast Hotels has taken over the Plockton Inn.
Highland Coast Hotels Plockton Inn takeover will see "substantial refurbishment."

Highland Coast Hotels has acquired the Plockton Inn with its adjoining seafood restaurant for an undisclosed price and is raising wages to a base rate of £10 for existing staff.

Founded in spring 2021, Highland Coast Hotels is developing independently-owned properties in the region and has bought the 14-room Plockton Inn as part of its plans which will now see the Scottish Living Wage applied across its portfolio.

Plockton Inn joins the four hotels acquired by the group in 2021; Kylesku Hotel, Newton Lodge, Unapool, the Royal Golf Hotel Dornoch and the Royal Marine Hotel Brora.

North Highland coastal village of Plockton.

Located on the western seaboard of the North Highlands, the hotel is in the village of Plockton adjacent to the bay.

Plockton Inn will retain its name and become part of the Highland Coast Hotels Collection.

Earlier this year, Highland Coast Hotels received a £4.45 million publicly-backed investment as a loan from state-funded Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) to boost jobs and training for the local area.

The funds will be used to improve accommodation options for tourists by upgrading four hotels along the route as well as create up to 40 full-time equivalent jobs through investment in the local supply chain.

Community Liaison Group to be set up

As with its other properties, Highland Coast Hotels will establish a community liaison group in Plockton to act as a forum for locals to give feedback on the group’s plans.

Anybody living within a 15-mile radius of the Plockton Inn will also be eligible for the new Highland Coast Hotels Community Card which provides a 30% discount in its restaurants and bars all year round and a 50% discount for an overnight stay at any hotel, from October to March.

The company is also inviting local suppliers in the area to contact them.

Further job opportunities

“It’s a daunting prospect to be picking up the baton from Kenny and Mary Gollan and Susan Trowbridge, who have nurtured and developed the hotel into such a landmark in this beautiful part of the world,” said Highland Coast Hotels chairman David Whiteford.

Plockton Inn – even with fish in the stained glass windows.

“However, with a focus on working closely with the local communities around our properties and investing back into the local economy, we very much hope we can add further value to the hotel and the surrounding area.

“We will continue to operate the hotel on a year-round basis and expect to create further permanent employment opportunities, both directly and indirectly through our support of local producers and activity providers.

“While it is early days, we have exciting plans for the hotel, which we anticipate will undergo substantial refurbishment this winter.”

Highland Coastal Hotels chairman David Whiteford
Highland Coast Hotels chairman David Whiteford also helped establish the NC500.

As well as pay increases for existing staff at the Plockton Inn, there will also be additional training and development opportunities for the 30-strong team which will grow in size as the hotel is integrated within the wider group.

“After 25 years of ownership of the Plockton Inn, Mary, Susan and I are very sad to be handing over our wonderful hotel after all these years,” said departing owner Kenny Gollan.

Focus on supporting local economy

“It has been a source of huge satisfaction and pride to us and we will be forever grateful for the unstinting support we have received from the local community and our many regular guests from further afield.

“We very much see the opportunities for our team will be opened-up by being part of a larger organisation and one that clearly respects the importance of ‘community,’ understands this part of the world and is very focused on supporting the local economy and the broader environmental agenda.”

Plockton Inn seafood.
Seafood features heavily on Plockton Inn’s menu.

Highland Coast Hotels is building on the first year of operation with what it says are strong occupancy levels across the group into the summer season and for the rest of 2022.

The acquisition comes ahead of the reopening of Royal Marine Hotel in Brora following a refurbishment of all bedrooms and public areas as well as a face-lift of the exterior.