The hotel where Prince Charles, aged 14, once bought a cherry Brandy, after giving his security detail the slip whilst on an excursion, is undergoing a complete transformation over the coming weeks.
Locals are already enjoying the newly refurbished public bar at The Crown Inn in Stornoway, with the hotel’s 15 en-suite rooms due to reopen in May and the new restaurant and lounge bar opening shortly after.
The refurbishment, the first for 20 years, is being completed with a joint investment of several hundred thousand pounds, funded by the new publican Tom Strathmore, in partnership with the owners of the premises, Punch Taverns.
This is Tom’s first hotel business – he previously worked in restaurants, bars and hotels around the country. For the past seven years he has lived on the island with his family while working for Cala Hotels more latterly at the Caberfeidh Hotel.
In the long term, Tom wants to make The Crown Inn a key part of the Stornoway community, offering a little bit of something for everyone.
He said: “When everything’s finished there will be a restaurant with lovely views of the harbour and castle, a lounge bar that’s great for coffee and tea, a public bar with sports TV and other entertainment, and 15 brand-new en-suite bedrooms – all at the heart of Stornoway and without breaking the bank.
“With that winning combination, I’m aiming to welcome locals, business custom and tourists alike – whatever the occasion.”
For now, Tom is enjoying welcoming regulars to the bar they have always known as the ‘Crown’ bar (its official name is the Harbour bar). He is offering a good range of drinks, including cask ales and a range of single malts.
The pub offers fresh coffee, wi-fi and entertainment, with sport on TV. Tom will shortly be introducing monthly quiz nights and live music from local musicians.
The Crown Inn is already a pleasant venue, with more facilities to come – and with an over-21 policy at weekends, Tom promises there will be no more cherry Brandies for 14-year-olds!