Andy Murray’s luxury hotel venture, three miles from his hometown of Dunblane, opens its doors for business today.
To market the event, the sports star is serving up a tennis session for local schoolchildren, hosted by his mother Judy, and a cookery demonstration by Michelin-starred chef Albert Roux.
Murray is due to attend the official opening of his hotel, Cromlix, later in the month.
Set amid 36 acres of woodland, the country house had ceased trading as a hotel but has been brought back to life after the Wimbledon champion bought it for £1.8 million last year.
He said: “I have always loved property, and the idea of owning my own hotel, especially in my local area, was too good to be true. When I heard that Cromlix was for sale, I jumped at the opportunity.
“The local communities were incredibly sad when it closed and a lot of people lost their jobs, so it wasn’t a hard decision for me to step in and help out.”
Now employing 40 staff, half of them “from the local area”, and with its own chapel, loch, and Wimbledon-coloured purple and green tennis courts, the 15-bedroom hotel is expected to be a draw for foodies with its Chez Roux dining room, run by award-winning executive head chef Darin Campbell, and overseen by Albert Roux. Snacks start from £7 on the lounge menu, with prices running up to £1,800 for a bottle of Bordeaux in the restaurant.
Its ten rooms and five suites – rooms start at £199 per room for bed and breakfast – are already fully booked for September’s Ryder Cup, while the tennis courts and practice wall were a priority for Murray. “I think it’s important to have a mixture of new and old. The interior is very well balanced in terms of modernisation and has an authentic Scottish Highland feel. It also had to have a tennis court. I’m sure that doesn’t surprise many people.”
While maintaining original features of the house, which dates from the 1870s, such as fireplaces and antique furniture – supposedly there is a ghost too – a team of builders and interior designers have turned the property into a five-star destination.
It will be run by Inverlochy Castle Management International, which has eight other independent properties, including Greywalls in Gullane and Inverlochy Castle near Fort William.
Cromlix also has the stamp of approval from the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and Connoisseurs Scotland brands.
The renovations included demolishing the conservatory and replacing it with a glass- walled restaurant, transforming the bar with hand-painted chinoiserie-style gold leaf peacock and blooms decor, and upgrading bathrooms and bedrooms throughout.
The rooms are all named after Scottish greats, from contemporaries such as cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, former football manager Sir Alex Ferguson and singer Annie Lennox, to Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and William Wallace.