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Costs revealed as multi-million-pound Invercauld Arms revamp progresses

The Braemar hotel is being brought back to life by the wealthy owners of the nearby Fife Arms after closing in 2018.

The cost of turning the Invercauld Arms into 23 self-catering apartments, with a new swimming pool, have been revealed.
The cost of turning the Invercauld Arms into 23 self-catering apartments, with a new swimming pool, have been revealed. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

The huge cost of transforming Braemar’s historic Invercauld Arms hotel has been laid bare as the project progresses.

The C-listed attraction has been in the Royal Deeside village since 1700 but it has lain closed since 2018.

New building documents reveal the price of a new leisure centre, to be used by locals as well, and the thorough refurbishment of the entire building.

The hotel seen here with snow-covered hills in the background. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

They also detail the cost of improvements at the distinctive Omnibus building nearby, which is being brought up to scratch as extra staff space.

Here we list, in ascending order, how much cash is being ploughed into each part of the Invercauld Arms revamp…

What will be happening to the old bus station?

The wealthy art dealers who reopened the village’s luxury Fife Arms Hotel after a major refurbishment are behind the Invercauld Arms plans.

They bought it about five years ago, after the final guests checked out.

As part of Artfarm’s project, they will carry out a package of work on the historic Omnibus building yards away.

Braemar Omnibus Station as it now looks. Image: DC Thomson

The B-listed structure is one of the most distinctive in Braemar.

It dates back to 1900, when it was a bus station connecting the Cairngorms community to the railway line in Ballater, but has been used as flats since about 2013.

Artfarm is now spending £210,000 turning it into offices and space for the staff who will be working at the relaunched Invercauld Arms.

The old waiting room. Image: Moxon architects

Moxon Architects say work on a downstairs living room will pay homage to its past, bringing back the appearance of the former waiting room.

Plans approved by Aberdeenshire Council state: “The timber panelling to the walls, floor and ceiling are to be reinstalled to match the historic layout.

“The existing fireplace will be restored into working condition.”

Demolition work pencilled in too

Meanwhile, various single storey extensions to the rear of the hotel will be torn down as the inside is reimagined.

The demolition work, along with various “internal downtakings” on the ground floor, is priced at an overall £250,000.

The Invercauld Arms site in Braemar will undergo a revamp at significant cost. Image: Moxon architects

How much will artist space revamp at Invercauld Arms cost?

The arty owners, who have already installed an eye-catching sculpture of a giant bucket outside, want to ensure the new hotel is a haven for creatives.

The shiny sculpture is unmissable. Image: Kirstie Topp/DC Thomson

With this in mind, a whopping £880,000 will be ploughed into work converting a storage facility behind the hotel into artist studio and workshop spaces.

Walls will be insulated, new windows and doors created, a lift will be built and new heating and power supplies installed.

A kiln will be put in for potters, too.

The mews building will become a retreat for artists. Image: Google Maps

How much will special accommodation for staff cost?

It’s expected that the hotel will require about 35-40 employees.

And an old dairy building will be turned into accommodation suites to house some of them.

A building warrant states that this will cost £1.79 million.

The cost of reviving this derelict old dairy at the Invercauld Arms has been revealed. Image: Google Maps

The work will see the complex divided into 10 apartments.

It comes after Artfarm has gone to lengths to provide accommodation for existing workers at the Fife Arms.

Bosses are converting the former Craigard House care home in nearby Ballater into a complex for workers at both of its Braemar venues.

Craigard House. Image: Google Maps

How much will new swimming pool set back the owners?

One of the most striking parts of the revamp project is the pledge to create a new leisure building behind the hotel.

The pool, gym and yoga studio will cost an estimated £5.818 million.

Invercauld Arms revamp cost
|villagers packed into the village hall to hear about the plans last year. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

Moxon Architects’ Ben Addy previously said the “most impactful” part of the Invercauld Arms project for locals would be this leisure building.

The 25m, four-lane swimming pool, along with the other facilities, will be open to residents as well as guests.

It’s hoped to be “more or less self-reliant” – with power coming from solar panels on the roof.

How much will it cost to revamp the Invercauld Arms hotel?

Project leaders have filed papers with the local authority outlining the mammoth cost of overhauling the Glenshee Road establishment.

Previous plans to bring it back to life as a traditional hotel offering 63 rooms were scrapped last year, in favour of renovating it as 23 serviced apartments.

This will come in at £11.329m.

It’s been six years since the last guest stepped foot inside. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

Building works will include adjusting the interior, extensions to the east of the venue, a new staircase, services and heating upgrades and underfloor heating for the apartment bedrooms.

New bathrooms and kitchenettes will be added too.

Invercauld Arms revamp cost
The Invercauld sign currently in place at the Braemar hotel. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

A “comfortable” 18-person cinema room would be for the use of guests – but available for locals to book too.

In total, the various works across the Invercauld Arms site add up to almost £20.3m.

Do you think the new hotel will bring a welcome boost to Braemar? Let us know in our comments section below

When will hotel open?

The official website indicates that the revived venue will open in 2024.

Meanwhile, a patch of “waste ground” at the rear of the building would be transformed into a “new public space” for villagers to enjoy.

There would be a kitchen but no restaurant, encouraging guests to boost the local economy by venturing elsewhere for meals.

Read more about the plans:

Exclusive: Revamped Invercauld Arms to bring swimming pool, gym and mini cinema to Braemar

Approved: Braemar’s Invercauld Arms transformation to go ahead – bringing wealthy owners’ local workforce to 100

Too bizarre for Braemar? Giant bucket sculpture divides opinion in Deeside village