It used to be an unassuming working farm with a two-room B&B business charging £35 a night. But now, Easterton Farm in Perthshire looks set to be transformed into a luxury farm stay run by the new owners of the five-star Gleneagles Hotel and modelled on a private members’s retreat operated by celebrity London club Soho House.
Scotland on Sunday has discovered that the farm, a stone’s throw from the Gleneagles estate in the nearby village of Blackford, has been bought by Ennismore, the owner of the Hoxton Hotel in London and Amsterdam.
The sale comes just months after Ennismore snapped up Gleneagles from drinks giant Diageo for around £150m. The hotel is currently undergoing a major refurbishment.
Documents filed with Companies House and Registers of Scotland reveal that Easterton – along with a small parcel of land originally belonging to neighbouring Whitehills Farm – was bought in October by GH Easterton Farm Ltd, a company set up by a group of entrepreneurs behind the Gleneagles acquisition, including Sharan Pasricha and Charles Oakshett.
Gleneagles Hotel general manager Bernard Murphy is also listed on Companies House as managing director of GH Easterton Farm.
Local councillor Tom Gray, convenor of Perth and Kinross Council’s development management committee, said: “Gleneagles is a prime spot and I couldn’t imagine the hotel doing anything that is not in keeping with what they are already doing on the main estate.”
He added: “I am a farmer myself and anything which casts farming in a positive light can only be a good thing. Hopefully they will continue to produce something on the farm and something that is of good quality.”
The 257-acre Easterton farm estate was put up for sale last summer for offers over £1.45 million, marketed by estate agent CKD Galbraith,
It is believed that the farm is now set to be modelled on the Soho Farm House in Oxfordshire, which has 40 luxury cabins, a four-bedroom cottage and a seven-bedroom farmhouse, as well as a private cinema, riding stables and spa.
Soho House currently provides the catering for some of the Ennismore group’s hotels. Its founder and current chief executive is entrepreneur Nick Jones, who is married to the broadcaster Kirsty Young.
An industry insider said: “Gleneagles will probably establish the kind of place where you can stay and eat and have the whole farm living experience – but without any muck or late subsidy payments.”