The historic Conon Bridge hotel plans to reopen next month with a call for staff as delayed plans for the village fall into place

Hotel, David Whiteford. Photo: Callum Mackay” data-root=”/_media/img/” data-path=”653RB3DOC122LIS520O6.jpg” data-ar=”0.87″/>
The owner of the Conon Bridge Hotel, David Whiteford. Photo: Callum Mackay

The OWNERS of a historic hotel in the village of Ross-shire due to reopen next month have invited staff to join their team after overcoming the coronavirus crisis to help their dream come true.

David Whiteford and his partner Joseph worked tirelessly for over a year to breathe new life into the once thriving Conon Bridge Hotel, which fell into serious decline and disrepair before buying it in September 2020.

The hotel was a local institution in its heyday, attracting a clientele far beyond the village and serving as a major community hub.

With significant capital invested in redevelopment of the property, which occupies a prime position on the North Coast 500 route, the couple originally planned to open a family place that “the whole village could be proud of” at the end of the year. last summer.

The pandemic and other issues have slowed the process, with the added cost of materials and labor also contributing to the delays, but they hope to announce an official May opening date soon.

A chef and maintenance staff have already been recruited, but Mr. Whiteford has seven or eight additional positions to fill.

How we first reported the story last year.
How we first reported the story last year.

At least four of them will be full-time positions.

All staff will be paid a living wage, above the national minimum wage, and the owners want to hire friendly, hardworking people who fit the company’s family ethos.

Three will be a minimum of five people working in the chef’s kitchen team. The cafe and restaurant side of the business requires waiters and baristas, while the pub side requires a bar manager and a mixologist for specialty cocktails.

The revival of the hotel built in 1780 as a family friendly place and gastropub for locals and visitors is set to give the growing village of Conon Bridge a significant economic boost, with job opportunities for locals which only add to that.

“We are close to finalizing an opening date after considerable modernization and makeover work on large parts of the property,” said Mr Whiteford, whose parents own Navity Farm in Cromarty.

“I am quietly confident that we can be open in four to six weeks. We are almost ready, but we are still looking for personnel to join us in various parts of our team.

“It’s a tough time for companies to recruit staff, but we’re seeing a lot of people coming to us because we’re not a big company, we’re a family organization and it will stay that way.

“We are a living wage employer with a long-term commitment to the company and the village.”

Mr Whiteford (35) grew up in the area but moved back to north London after working in shop design and hospitality.

The vital Highland hospitality industry has struggled after Brexit to meet staffing needs.

The famous Applecross Inn, which is also in a prime position to benefit from the NC500 and hugely popular with visitors to the beautiful Wester Ross Peninsula, has also advertised the staff, displaying breathtaking views from their premises to try to tempt a chef and staff member of the house.

His social media post was widely shared.

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