Gleneagles is a leading Scottish golfing, conference, spa, and destination dining hotel with a diverse range of sporting and outdoor activities. It is located on an 850-acre estate in Aucheterarder in Perthshire an hour’s drive from Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Currently owned by private investment and property company Ennismore Capital, Gleneagles has held an AA five-red-star rating since 1986. It houses Scotland’s only two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, along with three championship golf courses designed by golfers James Braid and Jack Nicklaus and gardens designed by Capability Brown.
The multiple award-winning hotel has an international reputation for its high standards and extensive sporting, leisure and conference facilities and has hosted many high-profile events. It belongs to the Leading Hotels of the World and the Great Golf Resorts of the World consortia and is a founding member of Connoisseur Scotland
Gleneagles was the brainchild of the general manager of the Caledonian Railway Company, who conceived the idea of building a grand golfing hotel in the style of a French chateau in the Strathearn valley through which his railway ran – which is why the hotel has its own railway station to this day two miles away on the Stirling-Perth line.
It opened to widespread acclaim in 1924 and quickly became a fixture on the high-society calendar. When the railways were privatised in 1948, it became part of a chain of railway hotels that eventually came under the management of British Transport Hotels (BTH) in 1963. It returned to private ownership in 1981 when British Rail was pressured by the Thatcher government to sell off assets such as its hotels.
Gleneagles Hotels was founded to revive three tired and uneconomic BTH hotels, including the five-star Gleneagles and the Caledonian and North British hotels in Edinburgh. Chief executive Peter Tyrie set in motion a programme of refurbishment and expansion that transformed the property from a seasonal, golf-focused hotel for the ultra-rich into a thriving year-round resort that broadened its customer base with new attractions. These included an equestrian centre, spa, shopping arcade and fashion shows along with a diverse range of activities from falconry and fishing to tennis and off-road driving.
This work continued until 2014 under the steady hand of Tyrie’s then general manager Peter Lederer, who joined in early 1984 during Gleneagles most turbulent period
Tyrie’s plans for a rights issue to expand into the London market fell foul of the government, who compelled BTH to offload its remaining 33% stake. The buyer, Perthshire whiskey distiller Arthur Bell, promptly launched a hostile £27m takeover bid for Gleneagles Hotels which completed in February 1984. In August 1985, Arthur Bell itself became the subject of a hostile £361m takeover bid by brewer Arthur Guinness, which became Diageo in 1997 following its £24b merger with Grand Metropolitan.
Guinness quickly offloaded the London and Edinburgh hotels, and Diageo sounded out prospective buyers for Gleneagles in 1998 but took the hotel off the market after failing to attract bids in excess of its £80m book value.
Since then, Gleneagles has continued to flourish, refurbish and adapt to changing times.
In 2001, Gleneagles took its food offer to a new level with the opening of the standalone Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, which won a Michelin star and three AA rosettes the following year and upgraded to four AA rosettes in 2004 and two Michelin stars in 2006).
The hotel entered the seasonal ownership market in 2003 with the launch of the first of 50-plus Glenmor timeshare properties and, in 2008, Gleneagles opened the UK’s first Spa by ESPA, followed in 2012 by the next-generation ESPA Life wellness centre – one of just two in the world.
Change was again in the air with the retirement of chairman Peter Lederer at the end of 2014 and Diageo’s sale of the hotel in July 2015 to Ennismore Capital, which intends to invest in Gleneagles and operate it as a standalone business alongside its fledgling Hoxton chain of international designer budget hotels.
Managing director Bernard Murphy
General manager Paul Heery
Financial director David Kemp
Director of events and leisure Stuart Smith
Director of sales & marketing Dorothy Welsh
Director of food & beverage Alan Hill
HR director Janette Scott
Gleneagles occupies an 850-acre estate in Auchterarder, Perthshire
Number of bedrooms 232 bedrooms (including 26 suites)
Total number of staff around 900
Dining facilities include:
- The Strathearn (grand dining room from 1924 opening)
- Restaurant Andrew Fairlie (standalone, two-Michelin-star restaurant)
- Deseo (Mediterranean family restaurant, including Braid’s Coffee Lounge)
- The Dormy Bar and Grill (club restaurant at the 18th hole on the Kings Course)
- Blue Bar (alfresco Johnny Walker blue label whisky and cigar bar)
Leisure facilities include:
- More than 20 activities including indoor and outdoor tennis, riding, cycling, off-road driving, archery, wildlife photography, falconry, fishing and shooting.
- The Club leisure complex
- Three championship golf courses – Kings, Queens, and PGA Centenary course - plus the smaller PGA National Academy Course and Pitch & Putt
- Two spas: The Spa by ESPA and ESPA Life
Function/event rooms 15, including the flagship Gleneagles Suite and the Gleneagles Arena
Seasonal ownership 53 Glenmor timeshare cottages
Turnover £43.5m (+12%)
Pre-tax profit £4.2m (2013: £262,000)
Address:The Gleneagles Hotel