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”.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £32,000 Uncapped

    £22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £10,000 Uncapped - Part Time

    £7500 - £10000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness chai...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Marketing / Digital Marketing Executive (CRM, Eve...

    Recruitment Genius: Receptionist / Sales / Customer Service Assistant

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: The role is likely to be 4on 4 off, days and ...

    Day In a Page

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones