Highland Coast Hotels has appointed global hospitality veteran, Guy Crawford, as its new Chief Executive Officer.
Mr Crawford is a former CEO and board member of Jumeirah Hospitality Group in Dubai; Managing Director of Forte Heritage Hotels; and Managing Director of Le Meridien Africa, Caribbean and Indian Ocean
He has enjoyed a long and distinguished career developing and running some of the world’s most exclusive luxury hotels, as well as being non-executive board member of the Indian Hotels Company, Taj Group; Lausanne Hotel School in Switzerland; and Emirates Hotel Academy in the United Arab Emirates.
As a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality and one of the first members of the Global Scots international business network, he brings with him a wealth of experience and a passion for the Scottish Highlands that fits well with the aspirations of Highland Coast Hotels.
Mr Crawford will join Highland Coast Hotels as CEO from 6th April, when he will begin leading the business into the next phase of its development and expansion.
Created in April 2021, Highland Coast Hotels is a Scottish-based group aiming to bring innovative, sustainable and community-led hospitality to the stunning coastlines of the North Highlands of Scotland.
Mr Crawford joins the business at an exciting time. 2022 saw the relaunch of Royal Marine Brora winning national acclaim and landing straight into The Times Top 100 hotels to visit. 2023 will see the introduction of two newly refurbished properties to the collection. The Tongue Hotel and Plockton Inn will re-open to visitors in April 2023 following extensive renovations. For the first time with Highland Coast Hotels, it will be possible to explore the whole NC500 whilst enjoying consistent high quality highland hospitality.
Under Mr Crawford's leadership, Highland Coast Hotels intends to strengthen and enhance the hotels it owns, and in doing so, help to further boost regional growth. The focus will be on creating great experiences around the North Coast 500 for discerning travellers visiting from around the globe; sustainable tourism; embracing the local community; and drawing upon the expertise and skills of local suppliers in the Highlands.
For Mr Crawford, the appointment represents a return to his roots. His grandparents and parents were hotel owners and managers in the Scottish Highlands, including venues in Forres, Nairn, Grantown-on-Spey, Aviemore and Craigellachie. His wife Elizabeth is originally from Barra in the Western Isles.
Commenting on his appointment to lead Highland Coast Hotels, Guy Crawford, said:
“The Scottish Highlands is not only one of the most beautiful corners of the earth, but the region holds so many personal family connections and memories for me. I’m passionate about enhancing local community life and sustainable tourism.
“As Scotland’s newest luxury boutique hotel collection, Highlands Coast Hotels is already establishing its reputation for showcasing world-class Highland food and drink, supporting local businesses and outstanding hospitality.
“I’m delighted to be joining the team at this time and look forward to the challenge of leading Highland Coast Hotels in the next phase of its development.”
David Whiteford, Chairman at Highland Coast Hotels, added:
“We’re incredibly fortunate to be welcoming Guy to Highland Coast Hotels. Over the last four decades, he’s gained a global reputation as one of the hospitality industry’s most respected leaders.
“We’re thrilled that he has agreed to join our team and look forward to Highland Coast Hotels continuing to grow its positive contribution to tourism, community and the North Highland economy.”
As part of the leadership changes on 6th April, current CEO Roddy Watt will step back from involvement in day-to-day operations and focus on development of the business through investment and acquisition. As founder of Highland Coast Hotels, Mr Watt's contribution to the Group and the North Highland economy is very significant and the board is delighted that he will be involved in the next phase of the Group’s development. Mr Watt will remain on the board of Highland Coast Hotels as Development Director.
Since 2021, Highland Coast Hotels has acquired several of the region’s landmark hotels; the award-winning Kylesku Hotel, overlooking the beautiful Loch Gleann Dubh in the far West Highlands; Newton Lodge overlooking Loch Glencoul a few minutes away from Kylesku; Plockton Inn on the western seaboard of the North Highlands; historic Tongue Hotel on the north coast; the Royal Golf Hotel in Dornoch positioned on the first tee of one of the most revered links golf courses in the world; and the Royal Marine Hotel in Brora, lying close to further golf courses, stunning beaches and world-renowned distilleries.
For more information on Highland Coast Hotels, visit: www.highlandcoasthotels.com
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