Crieff Hydro counts cost of Peebles hotels investment

Leisure group Crieff Hydro has reported a loss at its hotels in Peebles following a 'year of transition' for the venues.

Crieff Hydro is Scotland's oldest registered trading company. Picture: Contributed

Scotland’s oldest registered trading company, which acquired Peebles Hydro and the nearby Park Hotel in 2014, said the establishments racked up an operating loss of £703,821 for the year to 29 February following a spell of “significant” investment in the town amounting to £1.8 million.

Crieff Hydro chief executive Stephen Leckie said: “Both hotels were closed for a combined period of 17 weeks at the start of 2016 to refurbish their public areas, resulting in a creative new look and feel but with an impact on revenue. We’ve also been refurbishing bedrooms at Peebles Hydro with nearly half now benefiting from a complete makeover and we’re doing many more in the coming year.

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“Behind the scenes we’ve invested significantly to modernise and improve the heating, water supply, electrics and fire alarm system. We’ve also installed a new biomass boiler to replace the steam powered museum piece that’s been there for many years and also reduce our impact on the environment.”

His comments came as the Perthshire group, which traces its roots back to 1868 and also spent £900,000 revamping its Crieff Hydro and Murraypark hotels, reported an overall pre-tax profit of £265,048, on revenues of £24.3m.

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Leckie added: “This was a tough year for the industry generally with the shrinking of the oil and gas sector, which may seem a long time ago now, impacting on conferencing business and the strength of the pound.

“Despite this, Crieff Hydro and Murraypark delivered revenues of £19.9m and an operating profit up 6 per cent on last year of £877,554. This was achieved through a targeted marketing campaign and focused cost control as we knew from the start that Peebles would not be contributing this financial year.”

Earlier this year, Crieff Hydro struck a seven-figure deal to buy the Isles of Glencoe Hotel and Ballachulish Hotel, and Leckie said the group was “excited” about the prospect of further investment.

He added: “This is a business full of potential anchored by the stability of Crieff Hydro and these results paint that picture. We’re settling into being a larger and more complex business and it’s not without its challenges but the great people I have throughout the business makes me confident and optimistic we can fulfil the potential of the fantastic and unique hotels we now own and manage.”