Cromlix: Scotland’s country house idyll

As tennis superstar Andy Murray prepares to retire, why not book a stay in his country house hotel – the epitome of old-school hospitality, Scottish-style

He’s made millions on the court, plus countless more through a string of sponsorship deals, so when Andy Murray chose to invest some of his fortune in a hotel, it was nice to hear that he hadn’t forgotten his roots.

Cromlix, based on the outskirts of Murray’s hometown of Dunblane, in rural Perthshire, was the fancy hotel that Andy and his family would head to for special occasions – his brother Jamie got married here in 2010 – so when the chance arose to buy it in 2013, Andy leaped at the chance.

Since reopening in 2014 as perhaps the grandest boutique hotel you have ever seen (there are just 15 bedrooms and suites), Cromlix has quite rightly drawn wide praise.

Stephen Bennett Photography

Murray himself has been praised for providing much-needed jobs to this sleepy part of Scotland – he even chose to hold his own wedding reception here in 2015 – while the sensitive uplift given to the Victorian Baronial manor house has turned it into a tasteful country retreat: a byword in Scottish luxury.

History of Cromlix

The grand palace in which this country house hotel stands was built in 1880 as a country residence for Captain Arthur Drummond Hay, a well connected member of the aristocracy – records show that King Edward VII visited in 1908.

Notable features include the decorative Cromlix Chapel, which actually slightly predates the house (an earlier house burned down just a few years after completion), accessed from the ground floor of the hotel, and is worth a nosey, if only to admire the beautiful reredos.

By the mid-20th century the house was in the hands of the Eden family and from the 1980s it was run as a four-star hotel until it went into administration shortly before Andy bought it.

Stephen Bennett Photography

Embodiment of Scottish elegance

There is nothing four-star about the hotel today. From the moment you step through its heavy oak doors, it’s hard not to be enamoured. The cosy drawing room, all wood paneling and deep-set armchairs with an open fire is the perfect place to read the papers or take afternoon tea, while a separate drawing room is more classically styled and perhaps better suited for an aperitif (thought you’ll be pleased to know it also has a fire).

Stephen Bennett Photography

Many people come to Cromlix to eat in its modern Chez Roux restaurant (you can watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen), and dishes such as baked soufflé, Scottish langoustine or scallops are impeccable. For breakfast, aside from the standard Scottish cooked breakfast, you can also order scrambled eggs with smoked salmon topped with caviar. The height of decadence, surely.

Stephen Bennett Photography
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