The former head of one of the world’s most iconic hotels has been hired by a Scottish hospitality group.

Guy Crawford, former chief executive of the Jumeirah Hospitality Group, will be the new head of Highland Coast Hotels, which has a portfolio that includes landmark sites and hotels with access to golf courses.

Mr Crawford has developed and operated “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”.

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In just two years Highland Coast Hotels has acquired several of the region’s landmark hotels including the award-winning Kylesku Hotel, overlooking Loch Gleann Dubh in the far west Highlands, Newton Lodge overlooking Loch Glencoul, Plockton Inn on the western seaboard of the north Highlands and historic Tongue Hotel on the north coast.

It also owns 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 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.

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His wife Elizabeth is originally from Barra in the Western Isles. 

Mr Crawford said the region “holds so many personal family connections and memories for me”.

He said: “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.”

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David Whiteford, chairman at Highland Coast Hotels, said: “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.”

Roddy Watt, chief executive, will step back from day-to-day operations and focus on investment and acquisition in April when Mr Crawford takes up his role.

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”, the firm said. He will remain on the board as development director.