Major refurbishment of a rural hotel in Sutherland has created new jobs and resulted in the establishment’s busiest year yet.
Kylesku Hotel is an old coaching inn dating back to 1680 on the shores of Loch Glencoul and Loch Glendhu.
It was taken over by Tanja Lister and Sonia Virechauveix in 2009 who received a ‘Scottish Hoteliers of the Year’ award in 2014. Last year they secured a £200,000 contribution from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) towards their plans to develop the hotel and extend the season.
The work involved creating new rooms and extending the dining space to make the most of the spectacular view over the loch and surrounding mountains.
Employee numbers at the hotel have increased from 11 to 18, making it a major employer in rural West Sutherland. Earlier this year it received the Thistle Award for ‘Most Hospitable Hotel’ in Scotland.
Tanja Lister, director of Kylesku Hotel, said:
“We are absolutely delighted to end this year on a high following a record-breaking season for us. Since the refurbishment and extension that HIE’s support has allowed us to undertake, we have seen a 60% increase in trade and are regularly seeing visitors coming from all corners of the world to visit us. This would not have been possible without HIE’s assistance and we are truly grateful for their support in helping us realise our growth ambitions.
“With the success of tourism initiatives such as the North Coast 500, we are seeing a definite increase in trade which is giving us more and more confidence to open all-year round.”
Claire Farquhar, HIE account manager in Caithness and Sutherland, said:
“Our assistance is about helping businesses like this to realise their growth ambitions whilst enabling key sectors, such as tourism, to develop an increasingly robust and innovative offering. This in turn helps make our area a more attractive place to visit, live and work.
“We are pleased to hear the extension and refurbishment has been such a success for Kylesku Hotel. In creating jobs and extending their season, Tanja and Sonia are making a significant economic impact in rural Sutherland. Their initiative and achievement provides real proof that there is potential to create a viable, all-year round tourism destination in our stunning north Highlands.”