A new 175-room hotel currently under construction on the banks of the River Ness will bring something new to Inverness’s hotel offerings.
Gerben de Wit, project manager for Amsterdam-based Vastint Hospitality’s Glebe Street development, believes the AC by Marriott hotel can help attract new customers to the Highlands.
“It has spacious rooms, with high quality beds, air conditioning and connectivity for today’s traveler,” said de Wit.
“It’s completely modern hotel room and has the feel of luxury, but it’s affordable.
“This is something Inverness can really do with. There is a great demand to bring that four star quality.
Mr de Wit added that he had heard of concerns from owners of small guest houses in the city that the new hotel could impact their business, but he believes the internationally renowned name will attract a clientele. different.
“This type of hotel is more attractive to groups of people traveling for golf or whiskey tasting or organized tours. This will lead to a lot of Americans who prefer to stay at a Marriott hotel because they want something familiar. We see it as an addition rather than a withdrawal, ”he said.
“It’s not a 100% different customer base, but it just gives a different option to choose from. “
Vastint, which builds hotels across Europe, works with Marriott brands and picks the one that she thinks would best suit the location, which in Inverness’s case is AC by Marriott.
It will be one of the first AC hotels in Scotland.
Mr de Wit revealed that Vastint, who is also building two hotels in Glasgow, has wanted to come to Inverness for some time.
“It was always a place we wanted to come to,” he said.
“It’s the capital of the Highlands. It’s a very small town, but if you go to the Highlands, you go to Inverness.
“It’s an attractive, lively and vibrant city – maybe not as vibrant as London, but it doesn’t need that, it has its own style. Inverness is a fantastic city to come to.
Vastint was also delighted to have secured such a prestigious location overlooking the Ness.
“Being right by the river is just a unique opportunity in the UK,” he said.
“We had a few options to study in Inverness and this was by far the most attractive.
“The site is incredibly distinctive. Town planners describe the city as a library and it’s one end of the library with the castle at the other, and we’re also next to Douglas Row which is a fantastic street.
The proximity to historic Douglas Row also meant that the developer had to think carefully about the design, although the original plan was rejected by the Southern Highland Council’s Southern Planning Applications Committee, which criticized the initial proposal as ” hideous ”.
It was replaced by a revised design, which reduced the height of one story.
“You can’t make a pastiche of a traditional design – the pastiche doesn’t work,” Mr. de Wit said.
“You have to do something modern, but it’s in keeping with that next to you, and you’re next to Douglas Row, so it’s a challenge. But I think we’ve got it. the building will look great and bring this part of downtown to life.
The hotel is slated to open later in 2022 thanks to good progress by contractor ACREO, favorable weather conditions over the summer, and a modular building system that will complete construction in about a year.
It also uses an environmentally friendly and sustainable cross-laminated timber construction technique compared to steel-based techniques.
The hotel is also re-commissioning a site that has remained vacant since the demolition of Inverness Pool and Baths in the 1930s in 1999, but the construction process has revealed ample evidence of the former occupant of the site, especially in the blue tiles used extensively at the swimming pool – Mr de Wit revealed that he even took his family to a house in the Netherlands.
However, the new incarnation of the site will see it used as a place to exercise again, although this time it will not be aimed at swimmers.
Mr de Wit added: “This hotel will also have a gym – unfortunately no swimming pool, but we
bring back a reference to the old swimming pool in the art used in the hotel to respect the history of the site.