Andy Murray’s Cromlix House Hotel is served top honour in tourism awards - despite being open less than a month
Rival owners stunned as hotel is deemed Scotland’s best despite opening only this month
The announcement that his Cromlix House Hotel in Kinbuck, Perthshire, is the Scottish Hotel of the Year has stunned tourism experts and dismayed rival owners.
A hotel industry veteran, Mark Linklater, who runs Scotland’s Personal Hotels website, said: “I was dumbstruck, I can’t believe that they would do something like that – to give the award to a hotel that’s only been open 20-odd days. I would have thought most hotel owners would be in utter disbelief.
“No hotel can open and be fully functioning and have absolutely everything 100 per cent [in such a short space of time] unless they have pulled out a magic wand or something, because everybody has teething problems – whoever they are.”
The Victorian mansion, set on 34 acres of grounds (including tennis courts, of course) was bought by Murray last year and has been turned into a 15-bedroom luxury hotel. Managed by Inverlochy Castle Management International (ICMI), it costs up to £595 a night to stay. The controversial decision to give the accolade to the new hotel is in stark contrast to the heritage of last year’s winner of the coveted title, the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow, which first opened in 1907.
Read more: What about the long game, Andy?
The dispute is the latest controversy to hit the hotel, which was criticised this month when it emerged that five-star reviews had been posted on the Tripadvisor website before it had even opened. But it was able to evade censure by the website because the reviews had been made by guests (who had stayed for free before the hotel opened its doors to paying visitors). And in February a number of families living in the grounds of the hotel were evicted to make room for staff accommodation.
Lucy Gillmore, a food and travel writer based in Scotland, said to give Cromlix House such an award within weeks of opening “is a bit premature... I can understand why some people would say it’s ridiculous as it’s been open less than a month”. But “the signs are all there that it’s going to be a real success... I didn’t notice any of the teething problems you normally associate with a soft opening”.
Although most local hoteliers were reluctant to comment openly, Alan Garnier, who owns the nearby 20-bedroom Clachan Cottage Hotel, said yesterday: “He took over a place that was legendary in its own right already so I’m going to guess it came with a good local following anyway. I’m going to guess there was a bit of leverage there, a bit of pressure there.”
Defending the decision, the judges’ chairman, Gary McLean-Quin, said: “Hotels often have sizeable sums of money spent on them but that’s only half the battle.” He described Murray’s hotel as a “national treasure”.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns aged 27
- 3 World peace? These are the only 11 countries in the world that are actually free from conflict
- 4 Nicki Minaj finally releases predictable 'Anaconda' video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women
£6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...
£17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...
£23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...