Serving up style at Cromlix - inside Andy and Kim Murray's redesigned hotel in Dunblane

With its fresh and vibrant makeover, Cromlix House, owned by Andy and Kim Murray is ace, writes Kate Wickers​

Someone (okay me) has left the gate open to Andy Murray’s new Wimbledon-colours tennis court and a rooster is now strutting by the service line, followed by a hareem of hens.

This chaotic scene (it took 20 minutes to shoo them out with a tennis racket) is playing out at Cromlix, a country hotel in Stirlingshire belonging to Andy and his wife Kim that lies just a volley shot away from his childhood home in Dunblane.Cromlix was built in 1874 by the Drummond family, and the Murrays bought it 11 years ago but, beyond a minor makeover, they had yet to put their stamp on it.

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The recent refurbishment of 2023 is a real game changer. Kim worked with interior designer Suzanne Garuda and it’s obvious that the two of them had fun, as the house now sings with bold colour, rich textiles, and eye-catching art works; floral motifs are found everywhere. I’m told that the idea was to bring the outside in (and you’ll find an abundance of wildflower displays), but, on the dreariest of days, the greatest achievement is perhaps in keeping it out.

The bar at CromlixThe bar at Cromlix
The bar at Cromlix

The house is as joyful as a midsummer day, even in the depths of winter.The 15 rooms have been named after plants or herbs grown on the estate and I’m in Clematis, one of three suites, which are more like apartments. From my sitting room (decorated in exquisite floral wallpaper, with a wall of eclectic art works, and a sumptuous velvet sofa to curl up on) I’ve a side view of the chapel and woodlands at the front of the house. The bijoux chapel is where Andy’s brother, Jamie, tied the knot and is accessed via the main house and is readily available for guests who book Cromlix’s elopement package.

You’re made to feel welcome from the moment you step through the door into the wood panelled foyer with roaring fire. “Help yourself to wellies,” I’m told, as I’m handed a glass of prosecco. Said Barbour wellies, in all sizes, are lined up like well drilled soldiers in the entrance vestibule; at your service for a stomp around the estate, which includes a walk to the ‘house’ loch. Another lovely touch is the plate of homemade shortbread I find in my room, with compliments from Granny Erskine (Andy’s gran), which is made from her secret family recipe, and melts on the tongue.

I chomp on it while lying on a super-king bed in a vast bedroom with views to the tennis court and kitchen garden. Furnished with antique Scottish heirlooms (how I love the free-standing full-length mirror with candle holders attached either side, and the heavy-wood dressing table with marble top), it’s the soft furnishings that bring the room alive (think rich brocade and velvet just asking to be stroked). The bathroom is also super-sized, the star of which is a free-standing copper bath and bespoke toiletries from Edinburgh brand MODM.

What also sets the place apart is Andy’s art collection – among them four large striking cherry blossom paintings by Damien Hirst that hang above the main staircase; and below this, a quartet of whimsical animal screen prints from Scottish artist David Shrigley; plus, other artworks on loan from the Royal Scottish Academy.The billiard room is the most eccentric of spaces (and Andy’s favourite), with a full-size, electric-blue, baize covered billiard table competing for attention with curiosities, such as billiard balls carved into skulls, pink flamingo table lamps, and jars of retro sweets for players to tuck into between shots. In contrast, the drawing room downstairs is a picture of gentility with a colour scheme of duck egg blue, teal, and yellow with sofas upholstered in botanical prints, the perfect spot for afternoon tea.

The Glass House Restaurant is overseen by Executive Chef Darin Campbell (formerly of Gleneagles two-star Michelin restaurant), champion of Scottish seasonal food. Design-wise, it’s pleasant though not a wow (when compared with the rest of the house), so the food must do the talking, and what canny banter it has. Try the Oban smoked rainbow trout with Peterhead crab and seaweed scone, followed by St Brides Farm duck breast with sweet potato and pickled plum. A single-malt whisky or cocktail is best savoured in The Bar, where I choose the signature, a Spritz 77 (made with lavender sugar, violet liqueur, grapefruit, prosecco, and soda), named for the number of years that separate Fred Perry and Andy Murray’s wins of the Wimbledon men’s singles championship.

In Spring, 5,000 tulips will flower at Cromlix, but whatever time of year you visit, the house is sure to be blooming. Just remember to close the tennis court’s gate, or you might end up with cock-a-doodling umpire.

Double rooms with breakfast start at £315 per night. Dogs are welcome everywhere apart from the Glasshouse Restaurant.

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