Scotland’s Cairngorm Mountain resort will receive GBP6.2 million investment in the next five years after switching operator.
The Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) will hand the running of the resort to Natural Retreats from June.
Natural Retreats has signed a 25-year operating deal and has plans to overhaul the resort with the ultimate goal to host the summer and winter X Games.
Natural Retreats founder and CEO Matt Spence also wants to move the resort away from just a ski destination.
“I am immensely thrilled with the appointment of Natural Retreats as operator of Cairngorm Mountain. I founded this company with the aim to create a way of life in a natural world and I am proud that Natural Retreats have been recognised in our quest. We truly believe Natural Retreats will elevate Cairngorm Mountain as one of the leading leisure and adventure resorts in Europe,” said Spence. “My dream is to see both the prestigious international summer and winter X Games held here. Cairngorm Mountain is after all one of Scotland’s best assets with Natural Retreats aiming to provide the ultimate training ground for the next generations of Jenny Jones’ and Callum Smiths with the goal of gold at the next Winter Olympics. This is a four season resort with endless opportunities – we are determined to break seasonality here.”
The first phase of development which include a refurbished day lodge and Ptarmigan space restaurant and exhibition space; to improve signage and improve operational efficiencies.
HIE will continue to support the area with plans to put GBP4 million into developing a new Day Lodge, which is part of phase two plans. Combined with Natural Retreats’ investment this will include a new activity centre, a new nursery slope and beginners lift and a Perma-Snow slope.
A new education centre and restaurant could be part of Ptarmigan in the future.
“Our aim is to re-launch the Cairngorm Mountain brand to encapsulate the unique visitor experience Natural Retreats hopes to bring and to help create a sense of pride and place with the existing expertise on-site. Our mission will be to engage, inspire and mobilise the public,” said Spence. “We believe Scotland has the best tourism opportunity in Europe now and for years to come. Visit Scotland’s Homecoming Scotland 2014 coupled with the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games will position Scotland on the international stage as a dynamic and creative nation and we’re honoured to be in the running to help welcome visitors from all over the world.”
Natural Retreats runs several holiday cottages, lodges and villas in the UK, Spain and USA.