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In two days time, Scotland will go to the polls to decide whether it wants to become an independent state or remain part of the United Kingdom. Politicians and business people are tussling over what would be better for the country.
In the meantime, Scotland’s most expensive hotel ever – the first to charge £1000 a night – has quietly closed its doors.
The Atholl, in the West End of the city, opened in 2012 after a £5m conversion project. And now, according to owner Alison Davies (and the Daily Mail), it’s closed for good. No more Hermes wallpaper, no more Albert Roux restaurant, no more “award-winning garden”. The hotel will be converted into apartments.
It sounds like a brilliant idea – a tennis hotel for Scotland, to go along with all those golf hotels and hearty walker hotels, being backed by some of the country’s best professional sports people – but, sadly, it may not come to pass.
The Park of Keir development near Stirling wants to build a hotel and a “tennis and golf super-centre”, along with 100 homes – but hundreds of locals have objected to the plans. Perhaps the fatal flaw is that the two sportspeople backing it are golfer Colin Montgomerie and Andy Murray’s mum, Judy, who has committed the cardinal sin of doing a phenomenal job as a single mother as well as making a solid career for herself as a tennis coach on her own bat. How dare she want a hotel on top of that?
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Shhh, if we concentrate on the food, they won't notice the price of the wine
This had better not be a dastardly plan to put Andy Murray off his game at Wimbledon. The Daily Mail (for who else would criticize a national hero at such a critical time?) that Murray’s hotel in Stirling, Scotland, which opened in April, is overcharging guests on the booze. And we mean overcharging.
For instance, a bottle of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild Pauillac costs £1800 ($3078) at The Cromlix. What’s that, you say? You gotta pay for top quality? Not when the Berkeley charges a mere £990 ($1694) for a bottle of the same. And London overheads sure ain’t the same as Stirling ones.
A bottle of Pol Roger Cuvee Winston Churchill 2000, meanwhile, costs £425 at the Cromlix, but £275 at the even more famous Gleneagles, 14 miles down the road.
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As the site of a year-long Homecoming celebration, the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup, Andy Murray hotel, and possible declaration of independence, Scotland is having a huge year in 2014. Good time for a new hotel to open up in the capital, Edinburgh.
The just-opened 138-room DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh City Centre is the first DoubleTree by Hilton in the city, joining 21 of the brand's properties in the United Kingdom. While the hotel at first looks to be a wee bit out from the main Old Town/Grassmarket/Princes Street drag, it's actually in a pretty handy location, a few minutes' walk from the castle, the bars and restaurants of Lothian Street, and the National Museum.
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Tennis pro Andy Murray is about to open his very first hotel next week in Dunblane, Scotland, but lest you think he's throwing in his tennis career to become a full-time hotelier, he will actually be missing opening ceremony to prepare for the Davis Cup quarter-final in Italy.
In true behind every great man ... tradition his mum, Judy, who actually handled much of the design herself, will be there instead.
The hotel has just 15 rooms including five suites, as well as a one-bedroom gate lodge. All have all been named by Andy in recognition of famous Scots: poet Robert Burns; Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon who became Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Robert the Bruce, medieval King of Scotland, Eden, the family who previously owned Cromlix, Sir Alex Ferguson, former football manager and player and Sir Chris Hoy, Olympic cyclist.
Most suites feature hand-painted freestanding baths in gold, silver and copper, and all rooms feature Peter Reed 400-thread-count Egyptian cotton bed linen and Cromlix’s bespoke range of Arran Aromatics toiletries. On-site activities include tennis (of course), falconry, snooker and fishing.
Naturally this draws a lot of travellers, golf aficionados and otherwise, and British boutique chain Hotel du Vin is getting ready to tee off with a new hotel in the city’s Old Town, opening on April 1.
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With the city undergoing a major urban renewal project and in the throes of an aggressive new tourism campaign, Glasgow is going to need a few more hotel rooms to accommodate its (hoped for) mass influx of visitors. Lucky, then, that easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is planning to reopen his easyHotel, which closed early last year.
The 125-room hotel on Hill Street in Glasgow's city center will reopen on February 1st and, true to the budget airline ethos, rooms will be solidly frill-ree (your room only gets cleaned if you pay an additional fee) but going for ridiculously low prices. Rates will start at £19 a night from Sundays through Thursdays and £29 per night on Fridays and Saturdays. Following the usual "easy" format, the earlier you book, the lower the rate. Additionally the hotel is running a special promotion offering the first five cheapest rooms at £9 a night every night during February and March.
The easyHotel chain has 15 hotels throughout Europe and even as far afield as South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.
When we dubbed the Malmaison Dundee the U.K. hotel chain's "lucky 13th" property, it turns out we spoke too soon: it doesn't get much unluckier than being flooded three days before opening.
On November 28th, flooding, said to have been caused by an electrical fault, affected 15 of the hotel's 90 guest rooms. While Malmaison first claimed that the December 1st opening would go ahead as planned, that was not the case and there is currently no official opening date in sight.
We love Malmaison Hotels for their slinky design, usually reasonable rates, and for the fact that they are always located in buildings of historic interest. So we are happy to hear that they will be opening their 13th property on December 1st.
The new hotel will be located on the waterfront in Dundee, a city charitably described by the hotel company as "notorious for poets, inventors and architects," but remembered by some of us (who were born there) as grey, poor, and a wee bit depressing.
To be fair, though, in our absence, Dundee has made something of a comeback over the past few years. Where not too long ago, you could find nothing better than a Travelodge or a dodgy guesthouse, a trickle of higher end hotels have moved in too, such as the DoubleTree by Hilton and the Apex City Quay Hotel and Spa. The waterfront has been the center of this regeneration, with a huge development plan currently in progress that will turn the once-neglected area into a cultural hub filled with restaurants, green spaces, a new Kengo Kuma-designed Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Malmaison.
At first we wondered if we would soon be witness to a hotel whisky death match in Edinburgh, then we realized: it's Scotland, there's room for more than one whisky hotel.
The whisky, which is named Nira Caledonia, comes from Tullibardine, a single-malt distillery in the Perthshire region that has been in operation since 1949. It is an Aged Oak Single Malt with cereal and vanilla tones with a slight fruitiness, and the hotel's bar, Blackwood's, is the only place in Edinburgh where you can try it.
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Andy Murray may have lost his US Open trophy but he's still got the fighting spirit required for his new hotelier career -- he's only gone and nicked someone else's chef for his own hotel!
Darin Campbell, who is currently executive head chef at the Hotel du Vin - One Devonshire Gardens, Glasgow, will start work at Murray's Cromlix House (the newest member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World) in January. The hotel won't open until April, but Campbell will be working on the menu for the restaurant to be run by Michelin-starred chef Albert Roux.
If that photo above tickles your fancy -- for both the Scotch collection and the be-kilted Scotsman -- you'll want to be adding Edinburgh's The Balmoral, a Rocco Forte property to your hotel bucket list.
The five-star landmark hotel, located on the city's main Princes Street, has just opened SCOTCH a new signature whisky bar located in its former drawing room space that features the largest collection of purely Scottish whiskies available to the general public in Edinburgh.