Orkney hotel doubles capacity and creates new jobs thanks to £400,000 funding from RBS

The family-run Lynnfield Hotel in Orkney has unveiled a modern extension comprising 10 new rooms, following a £400,000 funding package from Royal Bank of Scotland.

Malcolm Stout and Lorna Reid

Purchased in 2006 by Malcolm Stout and his partner Lorna Reid, the small country house style hotel on the outskirts of Kirkwall, next to the iconic Highland Park distillery, offers an upmarket, relaxed experience for visitors and locals.

The duo, who previously ran the Cleaton House Hotel in Westray, both work on-site, with Malcolm operating front of house and Lorna working as head chef. The couple have undertaken an extensive refurbishment of the hotel, with the brand new extension the latest modification to be revealed to the public. Royal Bank of Scotland provided funding support to allow the extension to be completed during the hotel’s closure in line with local lockdown restrictions.

The Lynnfield’s highly-regarded restaurant, which focuses on dishes crafted with local produce, including seaweed-fed mutton, allowed the business to continue operating throughout 2020 and to retain all staff.

The hotel, which works closely with a number of suppliers in the area including farmers, oyster farmers, artisan cheese producers and fishmongers, places high importance on supporting the wider local economy. This ethos has been carried through to the finer details in the hotel’s new rooms, which have been completed with finishing touches curated from a range of Orcadian suppliers – from the furniture made by local craftsmen Kerr Carpentry, bedding and cushions from Westray designer Hume Sweet Hume and Isle of Auskerry, and curtains made of Orkney tweed.

The grand opening of the extension last month has ensured that the hotel is prepared for the upcoming ‘staycation’ season as travel restrictions lift with capacity now doubled. The move is helping to create up to five new jobs in the area, with additional reception, cleaning and service staff members required to support the increased guest numbers.

Malcolm Stout, owner of the Lynnfield Hotel, said: “Despite a challenging year, it is great to finally welcome guests back to the hotel, and to reveal our new rooms to the world. Thanks to the support from Royal Bank of Scotland, we were able to complete the majority of building work during the hotel’s downtime, working with talented local contractors. Their unwavering commitment throughout the past year has been excellent, and places us in a strong position to cater for an expected increase in demand over the coming months.”

Margaret Keenan, senior relationship manager at RBS, added: “The team at the Lynnfield Hotel have been resilient in the face of an uncertain time, as travel to our island communities remained restricted until very recently. It’s fantastic to see such a strong re-opening from the hotel, with all rooms booked out; and a busy period to come. The hotel is a wonderful attraction and income provider for many in the local community, and I look forward to supporting the team on their continued journey.”

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