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A growing family (of hotels)

Press release

Crieff Hydro announces a trio of signings as it grows its family of hotels

Following the announcement this summer of the purchase of two iconic West Coast hotels – The Isles of Glencoe and The Ballachulish – Crieff Hydro, Scotland’s leading independent hospitality business, has announced signings to its family of hotels: the management contract to operate the Kingshouse Hotel in Glencoe and the lease to operate the Peel Café at Glentress in Peebles.

Originally a 17th century inn located in the heart of Glencoe, Kingshouse is widely regarded as a place where time has stood still.  Jessie Cattanach, general manager at Kings House Hotel, said:

“It is almost a rarity to see people arriving by car – nearly everyone arrives on foot.  With 30,000 walkers on the West Highland Way each year, almost all of them cross the threshold into Kings House as the route passes the front door.  Some of those are looking for a filling lunch and a pint of something to wash it down, others are bedding down for the night before tackling the Devil’s Staircase the next day to reach Kinlochleven.  Either way, Kingshouse is a welcome sight at the end of another day’s walking.”

The Kingshouse Hotel was acquired by the neighboring Black Corries Estate two years ago. Over the past six months the management team at Crieff Hydro have been working closely with Bidwells, who have provided interim strategic management for the hotel. Together the two parties are progressing plans for an ambitious redevelopment which will secure the long term future of this hotel.  A brand-new bunk house, with 30 bunks in 10 rooms, opened at the beginning of November, along with The Way Inn, a temporary café and bar to cater for walkers, skiiers and anyone else looking for a refreshment stop.  This will allow the hotel to still cater for guests while it undergoes redevelopment which will enhance the historic nature of the original Inn.

The Peel Café forms part of the popular Glentress forest and is owned by the Forest Enterprise Scotland, an agency of Forestry Commission Scotland.  With 300,000 people coming through Glentress each year – using the extensive mountain biking and walking routes, enjoying the thrill of adventure holiday experience Go Ape, or visiting the Alpine Bikes shop – Peel Café is perfectly suited to offer tasty meals and snacks, ice creams, tea and coffee or soft drinks.  Peel Café is open every day except Christmas Day and has extensive seating indoors and out.

Patrick Diack, General Manager at Peebles Hydro, which oversees operations at Peel Café, explained:

“Peel Café was an important addition to our existing hotels in Peebles as we know so many of our customers are coming to the area to explore the magnificent beauty of Peebles and the surrounding area.  We are able to supply fresh cakes and snacks directly from our own bakery at The Park on the High Street in Peebles.  I am looking forward to being able to offer more than just a café, and we will be taking bookings for private events in the evening as well as our own program of exciting activities starting with our Santa’s Grotto this Christmas.”

A spokesperson for Forest Enterprise Scotland said:

“Peebles Hydro won the lease for Peel Café after going through a competitive tendering process.  We were attracted to their passion for the local area, and the synergy between the current businesses and Peel Café.  We are looking forward to growing our links with Patrick and his team.”

Stephen Leckie, Chief Executive at Crieff Hydro, explained the importance of all three deals:

“We are excited about these latest additions to our family of hotels.  Like all of our other hotels, these are at the heart of the local community – somewhere for a family celebration, grabbing a bite of lunch, meeting old friends for coffee or joining colleagues for the annual Christmas gathering.  The continued growth of our business strengthens our position as one of Scotland’s foremost hospitality companies.  Crieff Hydro is one of Scotland’s oldest trading companies, and through these new additions we can continue to share five generations of knowledge and experience.”

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