Dornoch Station & Slieve Donard open doors under Marine & Lawn brand


Dornoch Station & Slieve Donard open doors under Marine & Lawn brand

04 September 2023

Marine & Lawn Hotels & Resorts – an Adventurous Journeys (AJ) Capital brand, and collection of hotels and resorts set along some of the world’s most coveted golf courses – have opened two brand additions. With a blend of old-world charm and new-era luxury, Dornoch Station and Slieve Donard have relaunched under the Marine & Lawn banner with refurbished guest rooms, public spaces, and food and beverage concepts that celebrate the distinct beauty, rich histories, and golf legacies of their iconic homes.

Dornoch Station and Slieve Donard will join existing Marine & Lawn properties: Rusacks St Andrews in St Andrews, Scotland; Marine North Berwick in North Berwick, Scotland; Marine Troon in Troon, Scotland; and Adelphi Portrush in Portrush, Northern Ireland, currently under development.

“We are thrilled to be bringing not one, but two new properties into the Marine & Lawn portfolio, including our first outside of Scotland,” said Phillip Allen, President, Marine & Lawn Hotels & Resorts. “Our team has taken great care to refurbish these storied, local gems and bring them to brand standards that meet the needs of the discerning traveller. We look forward to reintroducing Slieve Donard and Dornoch Station to travellers and offering a hospitality experience inspired by these world-class golf destinations.”

Dating back to 1902, The Dornoch Hotel has relaunched as ‘Dornoch Station’ now part of the Marine & Lawn brand. The new title honours the hotel’s original name, the ‘Station Hotel,’ and sits on four picturesque acres within Dornoch, just a short walk from the first fairway of Royal Dornoch Golf Club, the crown jewel of golf in the Scottish Highlands. Since the acquisition in 2022, the property has undergone extensive renovations, now featuring 89 spacious guest rooms and all new public spaces, with the grounds now home to a new putting green and fire pits for guests to enjoy.

Led by AJ Capital’s in-house interior design team and inspired by the Scottish Highlands, hunting cabins, and lodges around Loch Ness, the lobby houses existing wood panelling as the design aims to restore and celebrate the original design features. A warm and comfortable spot, the bar features natural colours with green tiles celebrating the golf lawn, and Royal Dornoch Golf Club tartan adorns the walls surrounding a snooker table. Guests can leave behind golf balls representing their home courses to create an experience of pilgrimage for keen players around the world. The ever-evolving collection lines the moulding of the space.

Seaside themes can also be found across the hotel, with shell-shaped lighting installations and wood-carved lighthouse-shaped tables in the bedrooms. The rooms mirror cosy highlands cottages, with custom wallpaper inspired by natural colours, fauna, and flora. Velvet lounge chairs are positioned by the windows encouraging guests to take in the scenic Dornoch Firth views.

Championing seasonal ingredients and local suppliers, for an authentic taste of the Highlands, Dornoch Station announces two new food and beverage offerings: The Golden Gorse and Bar Ross.

A destination restaurant with stunning views over the Royal Dornoch Links and sea beyond, The Golden Gorse will offer a seasonal, all day a-la-carte menu, afternoon tea and Sunday Roast menu. The Golden Gorse takes its namesake from gorse plants which have a cheerful yellow blooming flowers and heady scent in the summer in Sutherland.

The quintessential Bar Ross will offer classic cocktails and a wide selection of whiskies, wines, and beers alongside Scottish bar snacks. Bar Ross takes its name from Dornoch native Donald Ross, the famous golf course architect who learned the game on Royal Dornoch’s links.

Located in Dornoch, a small seaside destination in the historic county of Sutherland, Dornoch Station is approximately one hour north of Inverness, and is ideally located between the Dornoch Firth and the Moray Firth.

The town is famed for the impressive Dornoch Cathedral, founded in 1224. Guests can enjoy walking or swimming along the magnificent beaches and rugged coastline of the East Coast, also home to acclaimed distilleries and historic castles and their grounds.

Positioned adjacent to the world-renowned Royal County Down Golf Club, the 180-key Slieve Donard is the first Marine & Lawn property in Northern Ireland. Celebrating 125 years of service, 2023 welcomes a new chapter for the famed hotel, with updated guest rooms, renovated meeting and event, and restaurant spaces. Rich in history, the hotel, built by the Belfast and County Down Railway in 1898, has welcomed various icons over the years including Charlie Chaplin, Tiger Woods, Catherine Zeta Jones, King Leopold (of Belgium), Dame Judi Dench and many more. The famed Polar Express at Slieve Donard will also remain on property as a family-favourite activity.

Led by AJ Capital’s in-house design team, the decor pays homage to the destination’s seaside beauty and rich Irish traditions, with an aim to preserve the Victorian elements and characteristics of the building. Across the railway-inspired lobby are also nods to nature, with a large variety of overhanging plants and artwork featuring local landscapes and scenery. Food and beverage spaces similarly embody the marriage of land and sea. Warm, welcoming interiors showcase original architectural details while textural design elements such as Victorian-inspired wall coverings and statement chandeliers bring a refreshed personality to the space.

Many of the 180 refurbished rooms offer stunning panoramic views over the mountains of Mourne and County Down coastline. The colour palette throughout the rooms is inspired by the wild scenery surrounding the hotel, with florals around the bed (headboard, pillows, drapery). Hand carved crests mounted over each of the guestroom headboards are replicated from the carved stone that hangs above the front entry into the building.

Slieve Donard will be home to four restaurants that emphasise in-season and local ingredients.

J.J. Farrall’s is named after Slieve Donard’s architect, where guests will enjoy 19th-century architecture and open fire, whilst tucking into dinner, afternoon tea, or a traditional Sunday lunch.

Lighthouse Lounge will draw inspiration from Italy, Greece, and the Levant – this casual eatery will serve seasonal Mediterranean menus with views overlooking the property.

Wolf Bar is inspired by local history – this intimate and richly decorated space will offer plates of local Carlingford oysters, platters of local cured meats and cheeses, and a number of snacks from pastries and sandwiches.

The Percy French is a local favourite which has been reimagined under the Marine & Lawn brand. From pub classics, regional fare, bar snacks, and a traditional Sunday roast, all dishes will focus on in-season and local produce alongside a wide-ranging wine list, draught beers and a menu of classically inspired cocktails.

The Spa at Slieve Donard will welcome guests looking to relax and unwind during their stay, as well as locals alike. Spanning over two floors, it will offer therapeutic ESPA treatments, one of the world’s leading spa and skincare brands. Their unique face, body and massage treatments combine traditional holistic therapies with modern-day techniques and the purest natural ingredients.

Other wellness and fitness facilities include a 20-metre indoor pool, a vitality pool, steam room, rock sauna and drench showers. The Gym will be home to Peloton and Life Fitness equipment, offering a range of classes in the studios such as yoga, HIIT and more. Relaxation rooms will provide comfortable seating, herbal teas and fresh fruit. The award-winning hair salon will offer cutting, styling and colouring, as well as specialty services around hair loss and hair replacement by experienced stylists.

The hotel is located at the foot of the famous mountain Slieve Donard, which peaks at 850m (2,789 ft) and is the highest of the Mourne Mountains. Having recently been awarded the internationally coveted UNESCO Global Geopark status, the destination is ideal for hikers and nature-lovers, and offers pristine views of Isle of Man, Wicklow, Donegal, Wales and Scotland. Located five minutes’ drive from the hotel is also Tollymore Forest Park, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the sea. Tollymore Forest Park caters to many outdoor activities including walking, horse riding and orienteering.

Royal County Down is located in one of the world’s most naturally beautiful links settings in the Murlough Nature Reserve, voted #1 in the world according to Golf Digest. Against the magnificent backdrop of the Mountains of Mourne, the links stretch along the shores of Dundrum Bay, zigzagging back and forth to provide a different vista from virtually every hole.