Inspired to visit the Scottish Highlands? Keep this on your radar: The Fife Arms is a buzzworthy art-centric hotel that’s scheduled to debut in December. It’s located in Braemar, the village in Cairngorms National Park famous for its annual highland games (the Braemar Gathering). Since being acquired in December 2014 by art dealers Iwan and Manuela Wirth, the property has been undergoing a top-to-bottom makeover. A recent article in The Financial Times' "How to Spend It" describes how the Swiss art dealers (of the Hauser + Wirth galleries) have heavily invested in their hospitality concept over the last few years, recruiting Scottish artisans to create the inn’s aesthetic, with a deep respect for its sense of place.
The property was once a coaching inn for the Duke of Fife in the 19th century, but the inn had fallen on hard times prior to their acquisition. Designer Russell Sage was responsible for the interiors of the hotel, who brought “an expertise in late-Victorian textiles, furniture and styles” to the 46 guest rooms—each dedicated to a local person, place or event. (For example, Robert Louis Stevenson started work on Treasure Island while staying in Braemar.)
The work of contemporary artists is interspersed throughout the property; the Wirths commissioned individual works from international artists like Guillermo Kuitca from Argentina, Richard Jackson from the US, Zhang Enli from China and Subodh Gupta from India. Facilities will include a bar, spa and restaurant focusing on seasonal Scottish produce sourced from local providers. The Fife Arms is located a one and half hour drive from Aberdeen airport.