As a leading tennis player who travels for much of the year Andy Murray knows what it is like to be a guest at some of the world's best hotels. From next spring he will find out what life is like as mine host.
Murray, who already owns a number of residential properties in Britain and the United States, has made his biggest investment yet by buying a hotel near his home in Dunblane. The 25-year-old Scot is understood to have paid nearly £2m to buy Cromlix House Hotel, which closed last year.
He plans to convert the Victorian mansion into a luxury 15-room five-star hotel, with the aim of re-opening next spring. The hotel is not far from Gleneagles, where the 2014 Ryder Cup will be staged.
Murray, nevertheless, will not be swapping his place on the tennis court for a seat behind the desk at reception. The hotel will be managed for him by Inverlochy Castle Management International, which owns eight other independent properties in Scotland. Albert Roux, the owner of Le Gavroche in London, works with ICMI and Cromlix House will feature a Chez Roux restaurant using locally sourced produce.
The project will create up to new 40 jobs for the local community. Murray said in a statement: "By re-establishing Cromlix as a leading luxury hotel at the heart of the Dunblane community we will be able to attract new visitors to the area, create a number of new jobs and focus on supporting other local businesses. I'm pleased to be able to give something back to the community I grew up in."
Built as a private residence in 1874, the hotel is set in secluded woodland within a 2,000-acre estate less than five miles from Dunblane, where Murray was born. The previous owners, the Eden family, converted it into a hotel 30 years ago. Its facilities include a private chapel, which has made it popular as a venue for weddings. Murray was best man when his brother, Jamie, married Alejandra Gutierrez there in 2010.
Murray lives in Surrey and also spends time at a property he owns in Miami, where he trains regularly. He has been in Florida for the last 10 days, working with his coach, Ivan Lendl, and will stay there until he plays his next tournament in Indian Wells next month.
Tennis has helped to make the world No 3 a wealthy man. Last year Murray's off-court earnings were estimated at around £7m. He has sponsorship agreements with adidas, Head, Royal Bank of Scotland and Rado, the luxury Swiss watch brand. The adidas deal is particularly lucrative. In 2009, he signed a five-year deal with the sportswear manufacturer which is believed to be worth more than £2m a year.
Last year's Sunday Times Rich List of Britain's most wealthy sports people put Murray's net worth at £24m. However, that was only enough to place him No 42 on the list, behind a number of footballers, golfers and motor racing drivers. According to the list, the 2012 US Open champion is worth less than Colin Montgomerie, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, none of whom have won a major.
Rival Rafa's rooms
Rafael Nadal may not yet be ready to rival Andy Murray again on court after his long injury lay-off, but he is looking more than competitive off it. The Spaniard has just announced a £9.3million remodelling of properties he owns on the Mexican island of Cozumel into two luxury hotel resorts. His outlay is more than four times that being spent by Murray, possibly a reflection of his earnings after winning 10 more Grand Slams than the Scot. "It's nice to invest in a place where you really feel good," said Nadal. "I love nature, I love the sea, this is a natural paradise."