Natural Retreats reveal plans for Lews Castle

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Natural Retreats are delighted to announce their proposed plans for the hospitality and accommodation facilities at Lews Castle.

Subject to formal approval and on-going discussions with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Natural Retreats hope to create a 5-star experience at the iconic Castle.

Natural Retreats are a specialist leisure and travel company, renowned for offering customers high quality tourism based experiences in some of the most dramatic natural locations the world. With over 100 years of relevant international and regional leisure and tourism experience, Natural Retreats’ senior management in both Europe and the US bring a wealth of expertise to the project.

Sustainability runs through Natural Retreats’ core emanating from its founder Matthew Spence, who developed the first location in the Yorkshire Dales on his family farm in 2006. Sustainability is prevalent today in the development of new destinations, through sustainable operations using local employment and supply chains and, most importantly, sustainable tourism that makes significant economic contributions to the communities in which Natural Retreats operates.

Spence, founder and CEO of Natural Retreats, commented: “I am delighted to share our vision for Lews Castle. We hope to create a 5-star accommodation offering and service and look forward to sharing this wonderful destination, which boasts stunning scenery, a rich history, wildlife and endless activities, with our guests. It is easy to see why this was voted the Number 1 European Island to visit recently by TripAdvisor, I couldn’t agree more.”

The accommodation at Lews Castle will be completed to a 5-star standard and will consist of 52 bed spaces which include stunning en-suite rooms and larger suites that make the most of the unrivalled setting, some of which will contain kitchen and dining areas. Due to the innovative design, the accommodation can be offered to guests in different configurations containing one, two and three bedrooms. This allows a wide range of visitors to be accommodated from families and couples to groups and corporate guests.

The ground floor of Lews Castle will feature a dedicated and staffed reception space for guest check-in along with a guest lounge and bar. These will be in addition to the on-site café where guests can enjoy locally sourced food or have delicious dishes delivered to their room. There will also be a retail and activity space and unique function rooms to allow the Castle to host weddings, conferences and events.

Staff based at the Castle and Natural Retreats’ concierge service will help guests explore the island, discovering highlights such as Callanish Standing Stones and Uig Sands, or taking to the open water for a sea safari. As with all locations within Natural Retreats’ portfolio, guests are given ultimate freedom on arrival dates and trip duration, encouraging visitors to stay longer and enjoy this beautiful location.

The style of accommodation planned for Lews Castle has been branded as an ‘Inn’ by Natural Retreats and will be similar in terms of flexibility to the inaugural Inn launched at the iconic John O’Groats in August 2013. The interior design, furnishing and fittings within the Castle will be in keeping with Natural Retreats brand standards – modern, contemporary, functional and inspired by British and preferably local designers and manufacturers. This commitment to design-led development is what sets Natural Retreats apart. The Inn at John O’Groats has been put forward for a number of international design awards and has featured heavily in the international press.

Natural Retreats are delighted to share plans for this landmark property in one of the world’s finest locations.

Natural Retreats plan to invest into the marketing and promotion of this wonderful destination and the region in order to enhance the existing initiatives and ultimately attract additional visitors on top of what is already in place.

The brand adopt a multi-channel B2C marketing approach and each year have over 750,000 unique visits to and a contact database of over 300,000 individuals.

The marketing team also employs international PR agencies who generate expansive press coverage on behalf of the brand and the regions and communities. Since Natural Retreats became involved at John O’Groats, John O’Groats has benefited from extensive media coverage including a circulation of over 135m and an Equivalent Advertising Value (EAV) of £3m. This team also utilise national and international advertising campaigns, strong tourist board engagement with VisitScotland and strategic partnerships with wide-reaching complementary brands.

Natural Retreats have a loyal guest following with around 30% of bookings from repeat guests. The brand is delighted to offer their loyal customers another must-see destination.