The Golspie Inn stands at the north-eastern end of the attractive village of Golspie in Sutherland. The main A9 road passes by as it heads north-east towards Dunrobin Castle, under a mile away, and onwards towards Wick and Thurso. This road forms part of the hugely popular North Coast 500 long distance route and that makes the Golspie Inn an ideal stopover for those travelling the route who are not carrying their beds with them: and a great place to dine for everyone, including those not looking for accommodation. You can read our dining review for the Golspie Inn here.
The hotel was built in 1808 by the Sutherland estate, which owned a vast area of Sutherland and administered it from Dunrobin Castle, to provide accommodation for travellers on the main road. At the time it was, perhaps not surprisingly, called the Sutherland Arms, a name it retained for much of its history. It only became the Golspie Inn in recent times as it embarked on its current renaissance. There are still signs of its previous identity, quite literally. An old-style hotel sign by the huge monkey puzzle tree outside the front of the hotel carries the old name, as does the etched glass on the main entrance. And there's an old fashioned stone milepost giving the old name, the date of 1808, and mileages to a range of locations, including Land's End. The retention of elements of its past identity and heritage are very welcome.
Many of those who have been travelling this road for years will remember the Sutherland Arms. We stayed there once ourselves, a couple of decades ago, while en route to a family holiday in Orkney. We are pleased to be able to report that in its new guise, the Golspie Inn is delivering on the potential of an attractive building in a superb location. Extremely comfortable and nicely refurbished accommodation is accompanied by excellent and memorable dining: and although the Golspie Inn had only been open a short time when we visited, there is every sign of it turning into a real success.
The hotel's main public rooms are on the ground floor. The conservatory area attached to the south wing and obvious in views of the hotel is home to the restaurant and bar. This has been attractively redecorated and feels welcoming and friendly. There is also a breakfast room on the ground floor of the main body of the hotel. And there is a large public bar, the Big Burn bar, located at the A9 end of the ground floor of the hotel. This was not open when we visited, we suspect for reasons to do with the then still active pandemic restrictions.
The Golspie Inn has thirteen guest bedrooms, all on the upper floor. They are individually furnished and come with free WiFi, complimentary tea and coffee and wall-mounted TVs. It's only really possible to comment from personal experience, especially when pandemic-related cleaning regimes mean you can't as reviewers go on a grand tour of hotel rooms, but our room was remarkably comfortable and both the bed and bedding were exceptional. We were also very impressed by a thoroughly modernised bathroom. This came with a feature that is all-too-often overlooked in hotel bathrooms, a light that can be operated independently from the main bathroom light and associated fan. That avoids the need to choose between switching on the main light and fan - and inevitably waking up your other half - or fumbling your way to the loo in the pitch dark in the middle of the night.
It was great to be back at the Golspie Inn and see how its new identity is developing. At the time of our visit it was still to some extent a work in progress as it had only recently opened under its new guise; and some pandemic restrictions were still in place. But we enjoyed a great welcome, a comfortable room offering a superb night's sleep and excellent food. What more could you want? You can read our dining review for the Golspie Inn here.