A former psychiatric hospital is set to be transformed into a five star hotel and spa after a health board agreed to sell the site to the owners of a luxury Perthshire retreat.
Crichton Hall became a world-renowned mental health facility when it opened in 1839, but has most recently served as the administrative headquarters of NHS Dumfries and Galloway.
However, it is now set to be given a new lease of life as a high end wellness resort after the owners of Pitlochry’s Fonab Castle Hotel completed the purchase of the 12-acre site.
It is hoped the investment could bring up to 250 jobs to the region, with the nearby Dumfries and Galloway College already signed up to provide tailored vocational training in the hospitality sector.
New owners Jed and Joanne Clark said they planned to transform the building while protecting and preserving its historic features.
In a statement, the couple said: “When we visited Crichton Hall and reviewed the full scope of opportunity during the sale process, we could not help but be engrossed by the many benefits a destination hotel and spa would bring to the Dumfries and Galloway region.”
“Whilst we totally recognised the challenges we would face delivering a destination hotel, we could equally identify how our knowledge, experience and approach to historic building restorations could create another five star hotel and spa equalling Fonab Castle Hotel’s breathtaking experience.”
They added: “Communities are at the heart of what we develop, and it was clear to see what our investment and strategy would do for the people of Dumfries and Galloway.”
The building extends to 184,000 sq ft in mature grounds of 12 acres, set within larger grounds of some 85 acres.
Meanwhile, an agreement in principal is already in place for Crichton Royal Bowling Club to continue to make use of the bowling green which sits within the grounds of Crichton Hall.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway Chief Executive Jeff Ace: “We are very pleased to see Crichton Hall move into the hands of people with such positive plans for its future. This building has served NHS Dumfries and Galloway extremely well over many years, but it is also a very important part of the region’s architectural and cultural heritage.”
“When we first made plans to sell the building it was very important to us that this was recognised and respected, and that the site was properly cared for, with the hope that it could be developed to its fullest potential. I believe that Mr and Mrs Clark’s plans for Crichton Hall exceed those ambitions.”
He added: “Our staff will be sad to leave Crichton Hall. However, many will remain nearby at Mountainhall Treatment Centre as part of our well-advanced plans to relocate by the end of February. Crichton Hall is a very important site, and it will be great to witness it move into the next stage of its role as a real asset for the region.”