A historic watering hole in Glencoe reopened yesterday after undergoing a major £12million revamp – creating 54 new jobs.
The iconic Kingshouse Hotel, looking out at Buchaille Etive Mhor, is a former cattle droving inn dating back more than 400 years.
The initial refurbishment plans had attracted opposition, with claims it was not sympathetic to its surroundings or to the history of the building, but yesterday its facelift was welcomed.
North MSP and rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing carried out the official ceremony, saying: “The Kingshouse has provided a vital place of respite for drovers, walkers, skiers, climbers and general visitors to Glencoe for centuries, so I am very honoured to play a small part in helping to launch the next chapter in this iconic building’s history.
“These new, enhanced facilities will provide much-needed economic stability for the area, by creating jobs and revenue for many years to come.”
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The hotel has been expanded to offer 57 bedrooms, a 32-bed bunkhouse, a new restaurant, bar and pub.
It is steeped in history, having once been used after the Battle of Culloden in 1745 as barracks for the government troops of King George II, hence the name King’s House.
Historic figures including author Charles Dickens and poet William Wordsworth have stayed there.
Kingshouse will be managed through Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels and third generation owner Stephen Leckie said: “Our aim is create a welcoming destination for all. By improving facilities for serious walkers as well as recreational tourists, we intend to make Kingshouse Hotel a destination for all year round, including hosting events and weddings amongst some of the most dramatic scenery in Scotland.”
Councillor Andrew Baxter said: “Although there was opposition to this redevelopment from outside the area, there was widespread support from the local community.
“When councillors agreed the proposals, I expressed concerns about how the new building would be overbearing alongside the original kings house. However, I think it works well.”
A spokesman for Mountaineering Scotland, which had objected to the original designs, said: “The building is there now. The owners have said they want to be welcoming to climbers and walkers so we will wait to see.”
Lesley Benfield, Chief Executive of Lochaber Chamber of Commerce, added: “Situated at the gateway to the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’, this is a significant contribution to the creation of jobs and year-round economic benefits in one of Scotland’s most remote and iconic locations.”