An upmarket island hotel overlooking the historic Highland Park distillery has doubled its capacity in a move that is expected to create new jobs in the local area.

The family-run Lynnfield Hotel in Orkney has completed a 10-room extension following a £400,000 funding package from Royal Bank of Scotland. The investment will ensure that the hotel is prepared for the upcoming staycation season as travel restrictions lift, creating up to five new jobs with additional reception, cleaning and service staff required to support increased guest numbers.

Purchased in 2006 by Malcolm Stout and his partner Lorna Reid, who previously ran the Cleaton House Hotel in Westray, the extension of the Lynnfield on the outskirts of Kirkwall was completed during its closure in line with local lockdown restrictions. Its 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.

HeraldScotland: Lorna Reid is head chef while Malcolm Stout runs front of house at the Lynnfield HotelLorna Reid is head chef while Malcolm Stout runs front of house at the Lynnfield Hotel

The hotel works closely with a number of suppliers in the area including farmers, oyster-farmers, artisan cheese producers and fishmongers and 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.

“Despite a challenging year, it is great to finally welcome guests back to the hotel, and to reveal our new rooms to the world," Mr Stout said.

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"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 Royal Bank of Scotland, said the team at the Lynnfield "have been resilient in the face of an uncertain time" as travel to 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," she added. "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.”