The Fife Arms, Braemar Building, North East Scotland Architecture, Scottish Hotel
The Fife Arms in Braemar
Hotel Development in North East Scotland – design by Moxon Architects
8 Mar 2016
The Fife Arms
Design: Moxon Architects
Highlands Hospitality Ltd is granted planning permission for The Fife Arms, Braemar
Highlands Hospitality Ltd (HHL) is pleased to announce that it has been granted planning permission to sensitively restore The Fife Arms hotel in Braemar, a significant landmark in the scenic village famed for the Braemar Gathering annual highland games, the Cairngorms National Park and its Royal Deeside connections. HHL will re-establish The Fife Arms as a first class hotel offering exceptional and unique accommodation with approximately 45 bedrooms, a restaurant and facilities for the local community as well as national and international tourists.
The project was discussed at the Cairngorms National Park Authority planning committee meeting in Ballater on Friday 19 February 2016, where the application was formally approved. Eleanor Mackintosh, planning committee convener for Cairngorms National Park, says:
‘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.’
HHL is working with Crathie-based Scottish architects Moxon and interior designer Russell Sage on plans to revive the landmark building through careful restoration and discreet remodelling combined with modest contemporary interventions. Their work will safeguard an important part of the village and bring it back to its former glory, ensuring the economic and cultural vitality of Braemar and Upper Deeside. The prominent inclusion of contemporary art and design within the sensitively restored historic interiors of the building will create a unique and transformative experience for guests.
HHL will adopt a ‘Construction Management’ approach for the restoration, which will ensure that local trades and suppliers will be given every opportunity to participate in the project. Managing the process will be the Edinburgh-based construction managers GLM, who have established an office based in Braemar.
It is anticipated that the hotel will re-open in early 2018 and will employ at least 50 people. Edward Workman, CEO of HHL says:
‘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.’
Through a process of public consultation, the new hotel will provide the local community with much-needed accommodation, facilities and services. Federica Bertolini has joined the project team as General Manager from her previous role as the manager of the Hotel Tresanton at St Mawes in Cornwall, where she worked for the past 11 years.
Federica Bertolini says:
‘Braemar and surrounding areas 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 long been a focal point at the centre of Braemar and there will be little perceptible change to the exterior of the building. The majestic 19th-century façades will be revitalised but the distinct decorative elements that characterise the building will be retained in their entirety. The major architectural intervention involves the demolition of uncharacteristic and unsightly 20th-century additions to the main building that are the result of poor planning. These extensions are to be replaced with a series of efficient and architecturally sympathetic structures that complement and enhance the design of the rest of the hotel.
HHL will open up the hotel for public use as much as possible, including a new central courtyard at its heart with a sheltered external space. A line of ‘stripped bark’ tree trunk columns will support a planted heather roof. Locally salvaged granite will be used elsewhere in the project to match existing buildings and untreated timber cladding will be adopted, which as it ages will develop a silver grey patina, complementing the stonework. Sustainability is fundamental to the longevity of the hotel and so the new build elements in the proposal will also be constructed to a very high level of thermal and environmental performance.
HHL has mounted an exhibition of archival photographs in the windows of The Fife Arms with a special focus on the history, landscape and culture of Braemar and its residents. These fascinating historical photographs, sourced from the Aberdeen-based George Washington Wilson and Co. collection, are providing inspiration for the restoration project and will continue to enliven the façade of the hotel during construction.
HHL is owned by Iwan and Manuela Wirth, who have a home in the Braemar area and are both passionate about Scottish heritage, local craftsmanship, and the landscape, wildlife and environment found in the Dee Valley. They will bring their love of contemporary art and design to the historic interiors of the building, creating an unforgettable environment of traditional Scottish hospitality.
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photo 1990 © Tony Freeman
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