A pair of international art dealers have announced plans to restore the historic Fife Arms hotel in Braemar to its former glory with a multi-million pound investment.
Iwan and Manuela Wirth expect to complete the acquisition of the property from East Kilbride-based Hart Hotels in January.
The couple, who set up Highlands Hospitality ltd to acquire the hotel, have enlisted Inverlochy Castle Management International (ICMI) to advise on the redevelopment. ICMI runs tennis star Andy Murray’s luxury country house hotel, Cromlix in Perthshire, part of its portfolio of luxury Scottish hotels under management.
The refurbishment project will see the hotel closed for renovation and refurbishment in January, with a planned re-opening in 2017.
The Wirths run the acclaimed art firm, Hauser & Wirth, which has galleries London, New York and Zurich. Earlier this year the couple also opened a rural arts centre in Somerset.
The Swiss couple said they have a home in the Braemar area and are “passionate about Scottish heritage, local craftsmanship, and the landscape, wild life and environment found in the Dee valley”.
Edward Workman, director of global property for Hauser & Wirth, said: “We are delighted with the acquisitions of the Fife Arms, and look forward to revitalising a significant local landmark, bringing excellent accommodation, quality service and great food to the beautiful village of Braemar.”
The Fife Arms, built as a hunting lodge in the 19th century by the Duke of Fife, will offer 60 bedrooms and employ 50 people when it is complete.
Norbert Leider, managing director of ICMI, said: “We are incredibly pleased to he working with Highlands Hospitality and we look forward to supporting then in realising their vision for the Fife Arms and for Braemar.
“We are hugely excited about the potential to develop the area’s existing tourist and cultural industries, and am confident that together we will create and outstanding hotel that has a lot to offer both locals and international visitors.”