The Inn at John O'Groats

Alissa Ugolini—homify UK Alissa Ugolini—homify UK
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Here on homify, we love seeing projects that were destined for the wrecking ball, but were salvaged, and given the opportunity to have a second chance at life. Left to rot for fifteen years, the John O’ Groats Hotel became a forgotten icon in the historical county of Caithness. Situated on the north-eastern tip of Scotland, the location of the hotel has been colloquially dubbed as The start of Great Britain. Interestingly, the area is a popular tourist attraction, as it is one of the furtherest points on the island if you are travelling from tip to tip. The original hotel is one of the United Kingdom's most famous landmarks, and thankfully, under the guidance and expertise of GLM architects, has been restored to its former glory, as well as undergone a facelift, and many changes to bring the new identity of the hotel in line with modern day hospitality trends and comforts.

In conjunction with interior design firm NoChintz, the hotel was revitalised, lovingly restored and re-launched under the new name The Inn at John O’ Groats. Paying homage to the original story of the site with such a name, existing customers are able to recognise what once was, and what will hopefully be, a legacy that will continue for many centuries to come. Let's take a look…

Images © Pip Rustage

A colourful façade

The Inn at John O'Groats:   by GLM
GLM

The Inn at John O'Groats

GLM
GLM
GLM

GLM have masterfully extended the hotel by adding 23 additional self-catering residences, all in a style that is reminiscent of traditional wooden barns. Inside, there is also a cafe, retail space and an activity centre. These residences, which have also been called chalets, provide outstanding panoramic views of the stunning scenery at bay. The architects have brought the hotel into the 21st century with this exciting colour scheme, throwing caution to the wind, and implementing a series of vibrant and vivacious façades to join alongside the existing exterior. 

History joins modernism

The Inn at John O'Groats:   by GLM
GLM

The Inn at John O'Groats

GLM
GLM
GLM

Local trade and artisans have been considered first and foremost in the building and construction of the new hotel. Paying careful attention to sustainable and environmentally friendly design principles, materials such as Caithness stone, Scottish Larch timber and sedum roofs were used. This was important not only for maintaining the appeal of the hotel, but keeps it traditional, and helps the local economy. By looking at this image, you can see the link between the new residences in their shape, but instead of attempting to not reveal what is old and what is new, the architects have decided to show a profound distinction between the two. 

The bedroom suite

The Inn at John O'Groats:   by GLM
GLM

The Inn at John O'Groats

GLM
GLM
GLM

A good holiday is defined by how relaxed we feel, therefore, all creature comforts have been catered for. A stunning free-standing brass bathtub is the focal point of this room, tucked underneath the window sill to allow the occupant unparalleled views of the landscape. The height is perfectly adjusted to ensure that you can maintain full privacy from the warmth of the tub. Then, you can wrap yourself up in a towel or robe, and transfer your warm body into the comfortable bed that awaits. Undeniably, one of the most stand-out features of this room is the glorious pitched ceiling, which allows us to view the stunning woodwork and construction details that have gone into the roof structure. This not only gives the space a feeling of warmth, but adds real character and charm to this cosy and inviting bedroom

The living area

The Inn at John O'Groats:   by GLM
GLM

The Inn at John O'Groats

GLM
GLM
GLM

Again, combining elements of old and new, the wall which hosts the fireplace is in stone, held up in contrast to the stark, modern white walls. Adding a little nod to the maritime history of the area, is the hanging rope lights. Three intertwined bits of rope come together to form a light fixture with a sculptural quality. In this room, you have a full view of the outside scenery, in either the warmth or cool of your suite. You can take breakfast by the window, enjoy a movie, read a book or simply contemplate life in an serene and calm setting. 

Ethereal

The Inn at John O'Groats:   by GLM
GLM

The Inn at John O'Groats

GLM
GLM
GLM

Resembling the inside of a church, the spiral staircase in white, along with the cathedral style windows, creates an ethereal and whimsical ambience. A true testament to minimalist design, the windows allow us to gain an insight into the external envelope of the building, while the modern features inside tell us a different story. The strong juxtaposition between the two spaces creates an interesting dialogue between the inside and outside areas, making us almost question, based on where we are standing, where we are.

The landscape

The Inn at John O'Groats:   by GLM
GLM

The Inn at John O'Groats

GLM
GLM
GLM

Before we bid farewell to this stunning hotel, we want to take one last glance at the rear of the property. The view from this angle shows the combination between the old, the new and the stunning British landscape where it is situated. The colourful buildings speak in volumes for themselves, jutting out from the green landscape, yet speak, via their form, to the original adjoining building.

We hope you have enjoyed this short tour around one of Great Britain's most iconic locations, and remember that each little piece of our history is worth salvaging, not matter the state it is in.

Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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