Braemar’s Fife Arms Hotel is set to undergo a huge upgrade after securing planning permission from the Cairngorms National Park Authority.
The work to be carried out during the refurbishment of the hotel includes major internal and external alterations, including the demolition of 20th century extensions and the addition of a heather-roofed courtyard.
Meeting in Ballater last Friday, the Park Authority planning committee members agreed with the planning officer’s recommendation to approve the application.
Planning committee convener, Eleanor Mackintosh, said: “The owners of the Fife Arms are to be congratulated – I am delighted to see this application before us and welcome the significant investment being made which will have a very positive impact on Braemar and will enhance the tourism offering in the National Park.”
Edward Workman, CEO of HHL said: “This is an exciting moment for Highlands Hospitality, The Fife Arms and the village of Braemar. The much needed renovations will start immediately and we have confidence that the transformation of this beautiful and historic hotel will bring huge benefit and opportunity to the local community, attract visitors from all over the world, and safeguard the grade-B listed building for future generations.”
Following its sale to HHL at the end of 2014, the popular local hotel went into hibernation while the new owners considered ways of rejuvenating the historic structure.
Federica Bertolini, General Manager of HHL, commented: “Braemar and the surrounding area are bursting with hospitality talent. Scots are warm and welcoming, it is in their genes.
“I cannot wait to see how the hotel will once again become a focal point in the village and a catalyst for what is already an incredibly active community, full of plans and ideas.
“It will also offer many young people a real opportunity to live and work in this area.”
The Fife Arms Hotel has been a prominent feature in the village of Braemar since it was built by the Duke of Fife in the late 19th century as a hunting lodge on Clunie Water.
The building represents the expansion of the tourist trade in Deeside in the wake of Queen Victoria’s purchase of Balmoral and the coming of the railway to the area.
Local councillor Geva Blackett, who lives in Braemar, said: “We are all looking forward to watching the renovations develop and of course to the opportunities that will be opened up for the community by this prestigious hotel.”