The Royal Hotel, Cromarty

Jenny likes to ensure guests have a right royal time.

Often the sign of a successful business is its popularity with its local community and The Royal Hotel, Cromarty can certainly claim to be local through and through.

Taken over last year by local businesswoman, Jenny Henderson, who also runs the popular Pantry teashop in the village, the hotel has undergone an impressive transformation but without losing any of its charm or character befitting its enviable historic harbour front location.

Jenny says: The whole aim was to serve really good, local food that was home cooked in nice surroundings where people can relax.

The Royal really does mean local. The beef comes from the family’s Udale Farm just five miles from Cromarty and the hotel has first refusal on the catch of day from Cromarty’s fishing fleet. Diners can expect to find Cromarty landed lobster, langoustine, crab, and mackerel as well as mussels from nearby Dornoch. You can’t get fresher or more local than that!

Dingwall butchers Fraser Bros provides the locally sourced lamb, chicken and pork as well as its own black pudding and sausages.

In the bar enjoy a pint of the locally-brewed Black Isle Brewery real ale or a dram of the house malt, Glenmorangie from just up the road at Tain. The bar has a list of over 200 malts. Jenny also plans to add a real ale from the newly formed Cromarty Brewery at nearby Davidston.

It is not just the menus that have been transformed.

While keeping many of its traditional features such as the beautifully tiled open fireplaces, many of the public areas and private rooms have been refurbished in a fresh, contemporary style that is still warm and welcoming – even the stylish loos which wouldn’t look out of place in a chic boutique hotel!

Guests can also relax in the traditional sitting room sinking into the oversized leather sofas by the open fire with a coffee and a good book or dine in style in the new dining room with its high-backed leather chairs and crisp white linens.

The public bar has also been refurbished but remains just as welcoming for both oil-skinned fisherman enjoying a pint at the end of a long day or young folk all dressed up, ready for a long night (the disco ball is optional!).

The hotel has nine bedrooms altogether but the crowning glory is undoubtedly the two new superior guest rooms. Both overlook the harbour and Cromarty Firth (you don’t even need to get out bed) and feature thoughtful touches such as fresh flowers and Cromarty Bakery shortbread. The first room offers a romantic four poster bed and a stylish black and white Victorian bathroom boasting the best “loo with a view” anywhere.

The second guest room is just as delightful with antique furniture, sumptuous furnishings and a chic bathroom featuring an oversized bath tub with a view for two.

The hotel is perfect for a break away.

Added Jenny: “People forget Cromarty is only 30 minutes from Inverness but when you get here you feel you are a world away.”

Renovating the hotel has meant a busy time for Jenny and her team but they have still managed to host several popular events over the past 18 months including fancy dress nights with live music, restaurant theme nights including curry, Mexican and steak nights, a 25 Food Miles special where all the food on the menu has been grown, reared, produced or caught within 25 miles of Cromarty, and the ultimate party of the year at Hogmanay.

Of course with the festive period just around the corner, the hotel is gearing up for Christmas parties and office lunches.

The Royal can cater for parties up to 65 who will have exclusive use of the dining room for evening or daytime gatherings, private functions for smaller parties and lunches offering the new Christmas menu -ideal for office festive outings.

However, The Royal is more than a hotel.

It is the only place in Cromarty selling daily newspapers and has established a strong bond with many other local businesses from fishermen and tradesmen to B&Bs and artists which helps boost the local economy for all.

With its local credentials, excellent food and good craick The Royal is a must visit destination.

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