Cromlix House closure leaves couples with nowhere to wed

07 March 2012 by
Cromlix House closure leaves couples with nowhere to wed

Cromlix House, at one time one of Scotland's leading country house hotels, is believed to have become one of the latest victims of the economic downturn.

The 14-bedroom hotel, near Dunblane, Perthshire, suddenly closed its doors on 16 February, leaving dozens of disgruntled guests and future brides and grooms voicing their frustration on online forums.

Dating back to 1874, the hotel has long been a popular wedding venue because of the presence of its own chapel in the grounds and last year hosted the wedding of tennis player Jamie Murray.

Cromlix House was converted into a luxury hotel in 1980 by the late Ronald Eden, whose family had lived on the 5,000-acre estate since the 15th century.

While the freehold of the property remained in the ownership of the Eden family, the leasehold was sold to Glasgow-based hotel and leisure company Alliedfreeze, headed by Ian Grier and David O'Connor, in 2007.

A notice posted on the Cromlix House website said that the hotel had been forced to close at short notice due to "unforeseen circumstances". It stated that arrangements had been made with local hotels to host weddings which were no longer able to be held at Cromlix, and listed 11 alternative venues.

Diane Duffy, who paid a deposit of £1,000 two years ago for her daughter's wedding, scheduled for next month, has resigned herself to the fact that she has probably lost her money. Despite being offered alternative venues, the family have decided to postpone the wedding for this year.

"One does not rush in to finding another venue when it has taken two years of planning to get the perfect venue. I have made my anger and frustrations known to Ian Grier but this has not changed anything," said Duffy.

Steven McLeod, chief executive of the Aurora Hotel Collection, said that his company, which consists of 11 hotels, had so far taken over the booking of 12 weddings from Cromlix House.

"We have been delighted to help out as we feel very bad for the people who have lost their hotel," McLeod said. "We have a 14-bedroom hotel opening in Auchterarder called Cairn Lodge later this month, which has been able to accommodate several of the weddings booked during peak period."

McLeod said he understood that Cromlix had been badly hit, because of its rural location, by the extreme bad weather last winter.

In 1982, Cromlix was voted UK Hotel of the Year by Egon Ronay and the AA nominated it as "One of the Best 10 Hotels in Scotland".

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By Janet Harmer

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