Plans have been lodged to revamp the ground floor of an historic Highland hotel which will include creating new private dining and whisky tasting rooms.
The owners of Dornoch Castle Hotel, a B-listed former Bishop’s castle built in about 1500, want to alter their ground floor arrangements by spring next year.
The existing bar will be removed and its layout will be reconfigured to create a more spacious servery area – and an outdoor courtyard bordering Castle Street will be tidied up and used for outdoor seating.
Numerous timber stud partitions and doors, none of which are historical, will be removed to the rear of the bar area to create a new private dining room and whisky tasting room in the cellars.
The area features some 16th and 17th century moulded door pieces which will remain in the hotel, which is owned by Colin and Ros Thompson and run with their two sons, Simon and Phil.
Yesterday Phil Thompson, who also runs a micro distillery in the hotel grounds with his brother Simon, said the refurbishment plans had been in the pipeline for a number of years.
He added: “We’ve got all of these old cellars and we really want to bring them back for public use because it’s such an impressive part of the building.
“It’s been such an incredible year for us, especially with the whisky, and we’ve really cemented ourselves as one of Europe’s most well known whisky establishments. These plans fit in to what we are already doing.
“We will also hopefully be working with good food and wine producers to bring them in and give them space to work in.”
A new reception office will also be created, replacing an existing toilet at the front entrance to the building.
The plans were lodged with Highland Council’s planning department on September 11.