Nestled in amongst some of the most beautifully remote and magnificent Scottish Highland scenery is an unexpected and truly exhilarating hotel – The Fife Arms. Situated in the small and humble town of Braemar, this hotel has fast become an out of the ordinary vision that truly is a ‘must see’. Purchased in 2016 by celebrated art collectors, husband and wife team Iwan Hauser and Manuela Wirth aka Hauser + Wirth, the hotel was remodelled and decorated with tradition, romance and macabre at the heart of the design.
With the remarkable concept of designer Russell Sage, The Fife Arms somehow manages to combine tweed with taxidermy, contemporary with antique and cosy warmth with rich eclecticism. There are 46 bedrooms within the hotel, each with its own character and theme, from the Royal Suites inspired by their noble visitors to the 19th century influenced Victorian Suites. There are bedroom themes shaped by some of Scotland’s greatest writers and poets, as well as the Scottish culture rooms where tribute is paid to literature, astronomy and engineering within Scotland’s history. The Croft bedrooms are the most charming with snug traditional cabin beds, and lastly you have the Artist’s Studio that hosts stunning views and decor motivated by the Bloomsbury Group and the interiors they produced at Charleston house in East Sussex.
You don’t have to stay at the Fife Arms Hotel to relish in the exceptional décor, there are two restaurants and a 1920s inspired Art Décor cocktail bar that should all be paid a visit. The causal and relaxed atmosphere of The Flying Stag pub is complimented with the cosy sheepskins that adorn bench seating and the plentiful art and taxidermy, in particular the showstopping winged stag that floats above the bar. The more formal restaurant is the Clunie Dining Room, a moody and theatrical space that features a custom mural along the walls by artist Guillermo Kuitca.
A blend of styles and reinvention of old mixed with new and contemporary, means the interior of The Fife Arms never fails to surprise and delight. Strongly connected to the remote location and Highland legacy, turn any corner and the space has its own personality and distinctive character, there is simply too much to see and absorb in one place. It is a spectacle as well as a relaxing retreat in the heart of the Scottish countryside, seemingly miles away from civilisation yet here is the zeitgeist and ‘place to be’ for all design lovers.