04 FEB 2019: The Fife Arms, a landmark inn in the village of Braemar has re-opened after a much-anticipated renovation. Such was the profile of the event that the opening ceremony was attended by the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay (the Scottish titles of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall), who further toured the property.

Dating to 1856, the Aberdeenshire, Scotland hotel has been given a meticulous craft restoration, reviving the splendour of the former coaching inn. New owners, Iwan and Manuela Wirth, of the international art gallery Hauser & Wirth, intend to “once again establish The Fife Arms as a hotel for the Highlands.”

The Fife Arms brings together Scottish heritage, craftsmanship and culture with world-class contemporary art and a strong sense of community. The interiors are by designer Russell Sage (known for his work at The Goring and The Savoy) and feature over 14,000 historic objects, artwork and artefacts that have been collected over three years in order to tell some of the many stories associated with Braemar. The suites and bedrooms have all been individually designed – each one a homage to place, person or event with links to the area.

Highlights of the property include:

• The newly christened The Flying Stag pub continues to be the social centre of the village. With regulars rubbing shoulders with visitors, the bar has a vibrant atmosphere with animated conversation and live entertainment. The bar offers local beers, Scottish whiskies and spirits accompanied by a menu of bar snacks and hearty Scottish dishes.

• The Drawing Room brings together art and history. The walls are covered in The Fife Arms tartan, which was designed specially for the hotel and the room is richly furnished with Scottish art and antiques. The room is a place for hotel guests and visitors to relax and unwind over coffee, afternoon tea or a drink at cocktail hour. The room’s ceiling was commissioned from renowned Chinese artist, Zhang Enli, who paints directly onto the walls or ceiling of a room to create immersive, nostalgic environments. For ‘Ancient Quartz’ Zhang took inspiration from cross sections of Scottish agates, whose deceptively simply exteriors conceal a dazzling array of colour and texture.

• Taking its name from the River Clunie, which runs past the hotel, The Clunie Dining Room showcases wood-fire cooking and seasonal Scottish produce in a striking room painted by artist, Guillermo Kuitca. The restaurant is open to hotel guests and non-residents.

• An exquisite jewelbox of a bar, Elsa’s Bar brings Art Deco glamour to the Highlands. Inspired by fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli’s signature style, love of shocking pink and “bon mots,” this bijou bar offers champagne and hand-crafted cocktails that are beautifully presented. The perfect spot for a pre-prandial aperitif or a late-night digestif, the bar showcases Scottish spirits and elixirs.

Braemar is located 100 km. west of Aberdeen and is noted as home to the Highland Games. This year’s Braemar Gathering is set for Sept. 7.

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Michael Baginski

Editor at Large, Mike Baginski is well known and well respected within the industry across Canada, the US, in the Caribbean, Mexico and numerous other destinations outside North America.

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