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Highland Coast Hotels acquires the historic Tongue Hotel and celebrates one year of investment in the region

The Tongue Hotel

SCOTTISH-based hotel company Highland Coast Hotels has announced the acquisition of The Tongue Hotel as it also celebrates one year of investment in the North Highlands region.

This is the second hotel that Highland Coast Hotels has acquired in as many months, with The Tongue Hotel following the recently purchased Plockton Inn. These new additions join Kylesku Hotel and Newton Lodge in Unapool, the Royal Golf Hotel in Dornoch and the Royal Marine Hotel in Brora and ensure that the Group now has hotels located from east to west, and north to south in the North Highlands, providing high quality hospitality right around the region and the North Coast 500 in particular. 

Having acquired Tongue hotel, HCH has the NC500 route well covered and the company’s focus will now turn to further raising the quality and range of experiences which its guests can enjoy.

Built in the mid-1800s when it was owned by the Duke of Sutherland, the 19-bedroom Tongue Hotel is an award-winning former sporting lodge nestled within the picturesque village of Tongue on the north coast of the stunning Scottish Highlands. It overlooks the beautiful Kyle of Tongue, the striking Ben Loyal, with the Viking-built Castle Varrich in the foreground,  The Tongue Hotel offers the visitor a glimpse of its historic past, and is ideally positioned as a touring centre for those wishing to explore and immerse themselves in this unique part of the country with a wealth of stunning views, beautiful unspoilt beaches, and endless walking opportunities on the doorstep.

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The Tongue Hotel will retain its name and become part of the Highland Coast Hotels Collection.  There are plans for a full refurbishment of all public areas (including the popular Brass Tap Bar), and a light refurbishment of the bedrooms. 

Highland Coast Hotels’ Chairman, David Whiteford, explained: “We are delighted to be acquiring The Tongue Hotel and building on the work of previous custodians of such an historic and unique hotel. I very much look forward to the Highland Coast team becoming part of the Tongue community as we place even further emphasis on investing back into the local economy by creating more careers and business opportunities in the area. We are  acutely aware that the hotel is held in great affection by both guests and the close-knit local community, and this is a responsibility we take very seriously as we develop our plans for the years to come.  We are grateful for the continued support of the Scottish National Investment Bank which helped make the acquisition possible”

David and Lorraine Hook, departing owners of The Tongue Hotel, commented: “We have had a wonderful 15 years at The Tongue Hotel and are incredibly proud of everything we achieved, however it’s now time for us to pass the baton onto Highland Coast Hotels. Thank you to those who have supported us, from our always-enthusiastic team, to loyal guests and the local community in Tongue.  We are reassured that you will be well-looked after by Highland Coast Hotels. Having worked closely with the team over the last year, we are sure that the group will only build on our successes and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for the hotel.”

Founded in spring 2021, Highland Coast Hotels has spent its first year investing in and developing independently-owned hotels in the region, while boosting regional growth, setting new standards for environmentally-friendly hotels, and supporting local communities and suppliers. Led by Chairman David Whiteford and CEO, Roddy Watt, the Group was established to bring quality, sustainable hospitality to the coastline of the North Highlands of Scotland. Over the course of the last year, Highland Coast Hotels has built a strong leadership team which has been implementing a series of positive changes at each hotel, including an extensive renovation of the Royal Marine Hotel in Brora, which will fully reopen in June 2022. 

Since its launch, Highland Coast Hotels has created over 40 new jobs locally and implemented community-first strategies which have benefited the region and led to exciting business opportunities for those living locally, as well as creating many tourism and hospitality careers. As the Group evolves the guest experience at The Tongue Hotel, suppliers and experience providers in the local area are invited to get in touch. 

The Highland community is at the heart of every decision made by Highland Coast Hotels, and as with its other hotels, it will set up a Community Liaison Group in Tongue which will act as a forum for locals to give feedback on the Group’s plans. 

Highland Coast Hotels takes pride in nurturing and developing its people to be the very best they can be with recruitment continuing to be a key focus. Existing employees at The Tongue Hotel will be positively impacted by the Group’s new status as a Real Scottish Living Wage Employer. There will be wage increases to reflect this, alongside additional training and development opportunities.

Highland Coast Hotels has built on a successful first year of operation with strong occupancy levels across the Group into the summer season and for the rest of 2022. 

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