Apr 3rd, 2016
Castle Stuart gearing up for next stage
Big plans afoot for Scottish Open venue
Words: John Dean
The partners behind the internationally renowned Castle Stuart Golf Links have held talks with several new investors, as they want to take the venue to the next level.
Castle Stuart, which is hosting the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open for the fourth time this summer, has ambitious plans to create a major resort including a second championship course, two hotels, a spa and leisure facility.
They also want to build a par 3 course and refurbish the 17th century castle that gives the site its name.
Inverness is about make a huge step jump forwards due to a number of infrastructure developments, which will make it much more accessible.
A recently announced £315 million City Deal, will lead to unprecedented infrastructure activity, including work to improve both the A9 and A96 trunk roads to motorways connecting Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen to the Highland capital.
British Airways and KLM will start new air routes between Inverness and the international hubs of Heathrow and Amsterdam in May. Inverness has actually been one the fastest growing cities in Europe over the last ten years, so the Castle Stuart team feel that the time is now right to press ahead.
The Arnold Palmer Group has already invested in plans to develop the second course at Castle Stuart, which was Palmer’s first in Scotland.
According to Grant Sword, a Castle Stuart managing partner, said: “For some time we have been on the lookout for other investment to allow us to move to the next stage and fulfil our vision. This has led to us speaking with a number of potential new partners recently.”
“There is a need for more quality accommodation in this area, with current occupancy rates in Inverness hotels amongst the highest in the UK. Creating a high-end development in keeping with our spectacular environment will help bring more visitors to this part of the world.”
The site is zoned for the next phase, which includes the second course, a 60-bedroom hotel and the refurbishment of Castle Stuart into a luxury eight-bedroom base for guests plus a super-suite occupying the top floor.
Longer-term proposals enjoying planning consent include a larger hotel, 148 lodges, and the par 3 course.