Cromlix Hotel : Having a Ball in Scotland

Maria Boyle enjoys a weekend of discovery at Kim & Andy Murray’s luxury Cromlix hotel, Scotland.

Europe, Gastronomy, Luxury Travel, Reviews

Tucked away in the lush green landscapes on the borders of Stirling and Perthshire lies Cromlix hotel, recognised as one of Scotland’s top country hotels. 

Andy Murray Cromlix House Hotel Connection

Built in 1874, it was originally a private family home for 107 years before it opened as a hotel in 1981. When it came up for sale in 2013, it caught the eye of tennis pro Andy Murray given its history with the Murray family. Andy’s grandparents lay claim to having the very first function at the hotel – their 25th wedding anniversary – Andy’s brother Jamie and their father, Willie, both married in the hotel’s chapel, and Andy and Kim hosted their wedding reception at the hotel in 2015.

Andy Murray explains, “I wanted to save it from falling into the hands of an oligarch who would never use it despite everyone advising me against it.”

The whole hotel has just undergone a major refurbishment so myself and my daughter Daisy, decided to check it out.

Cromlix Hotel
Kim and Andy Murray outside Cromlix Hotel, credit Verena Splett

Cromlix Reborn

On arrival at Edinburgh airport, Keith, one of the hotel’s friendly drivers, gave us the warmest welcome, whisked us into the Cromlix hotel chauffeured car and regaled us with tales of the area’s rich history, pointing out notable landmarks and ancient castles on the 50-minute scenic drive to Cromlix.

We drove up the hotel’s long and windy drive and entered its reception with comfy sofas, a roaring fire, pops of colour everywhere not to mention the eye-catching art. We immediately sniffed a fabulous aroma of white pepper wood, later finding out it is a bespoke blend created especially for Cromlix.Cromlix House

Cromlix Afternoon Tea at Glasshouse Restaurant

Starving, we went straight into its light-filled Glasshouse restaurant which has views onto the rolling hills and woodlands. We enjoyed a champagne afternoon tea, with delicious sandwiches on homemade focaccia, tasty savoury bao buns, followed by a selection of scones and sweets, and a tasteful choice of teas and coffee.

We were curious to explore the hotel which felt like a family house with its relaxed atmosphere and understated elegance. It’s evident that a lot of care and investment has gone into the much-needed refurbishment.

Masterminded by Kim Murray and the talented Irish interior designer Suzanne Garuda – she did the Murray’s Surrey home –, out went the tired tartans and in came striking wallpapers, plush crushed velvets and bottle-green leather bar booths. Incredible pieces of Scottish art are everywhere, sitting alongside the Murray’s own private collection. Pieces of furniture have been upcycled, given a modern twist, with botanical-inspired fabrics or a Farrow & Ball paint.

Staying at Cromlix Hotel

Cromlix Hotel

Its 15 appointed suites and bedrooms have been individually designed, reflecting their own personality, and making the most of the different characteristics in each room as well as the countryside views. Rooms are spacious and comfortable, bathrooms are bright and airy, and many have freestanding bathtubs with handmade amenities by Edinburgh-based skincare brand MODM.

Refreshingly devoid of tennis memorabilia, the only clues guests have that the Andy and Kim Murray own the hotel is a discreet little note from Kim in the room guide, the immaculate tennis court in Wimbledon colours, and tasty room treats labelled ‘Andy’s Granny Erskine’s shortbread secret recipe’ in each room.

Communal areas include a stylish drawing room where guests can enjoy reading the papers and magazines, afternoon tea or just lounging by the fire. Here interiors are zesty and invigorating: duck egg blue walls, a yellow ceiling, original lighting fixtures with stylish shades and sofas recovered with botanical themed materials. There’s also a very cool bar serving a wonderful selection of cocktails and a full-size billiards table and games room to enjoy an after-dinner drink and tempting sweets in jars.

Sense of Space
Getting lost on a walk at Cromlix Hotel
Maria and Daisy getting lost on a walk at Cromlix Hotel

The Cromlix offers the ideal setting for unwinding and truly disconnecting from the hustle and bustle, a luxury that can be hard to come by in cities such as Glasgow or Edinburgh. While the temptation to simply relax was strong, we were curious to explore the 34-acres of woodland, so we borrowed wellies from the hotel reception and went for a romp, getting pleasantly lost along the way – all part of the fun! As we wandered through the woods, we stumbled upon the hotel’s loch with gliding swans and busy coots. It felt like we were in a perfect oasis of calm, a precious luxury in today’s fast-paced world.

Exploring Stirling, Dunblane and Bridge of Allan

Venturing beyond the estate, we embarked on a scenic car tour of the surrounding area, discovering the historic charms of Stirling, Andy Murray’s hometown of Dunblane, and Bridge of Allan, a former spa town at the foot of the Ochil Hills. Its main street is full of independent shops and after a lovely walk around, we enjoyed an excellent dinner at the buzzy Nairn’s restaurant with mouth-watering dishes including butternut squash and sage ravioli with pine nuts, market fish with langoustine and nduja butter sauce, cooked to perfection and served beautifully.

Another night we had dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, The Glasshouse. We dined on Heritage Beetroot, baked, and pickled with home smoked ricotta followed by melt-in-your mouth fillet steak.

The menu is vast, designed by Executive Head Chef Darin Campbell, and uses the finest Scottish produce. The food was Michelin standard and some of the best we’ve eaten in Scotland. Breakfast at the hotel was also excellent. Top tip: do not miss the porridge brúlée made with whisky, cream and demerara sugar. It is divine.

Cromlix Bespoke Experiences

Acing pickleball
Acing pickleball at Cromlix hotel

For guests like us who like new experiences, Cromlix hotel has curated a range of bespoke activities.

The first one we chose was a Pickleball lesson with instructor John on Cromlix’s new court. We had never tried the game which is a gentle cross between tennis, badminton and ping pong. It is an easy game to pick up we discovered, and we had a lot of fun learning all about it.

The Cromlix arranged for us to have a private shopping experience with Scottish designer-weaver Araminta Campbell at her atelier located in a Regency gothic turreted farmhouse just outside Edinburgh. We spent a fascinating two hours learning about the intricate process of handweaving and the technicalities of the craft.

Araminta Campbell showroom
Araminta Campbell showroom

We saw how Araminta and her highly trained team work with British alpaca to craft one-of-a-kind scarves and throws, and tried our hand on a traditional loom – take it from me it’s harder than it looks! At the end of the experience, we had the chance to browse pieces for sale. Clients can walk away as proud owners of a one-off piece with each creation including information about the fleeces used, tracing it back to an individual alpaca’s name.

Dinner at Wedgewood Edinburgh

As the sun sets on the final evening, we have dinner at Wedgewood, in Edinburgh’s Old Town.

Chef Paul Wedgewood – crowned Scottish chef of the year 2023 – creates his menu to align with the changing seasons, using the finest local Scottish produce, urban foraged ingredients alongside seasonal haggis and on occasion invasive species such as grey squirrel.

Wedgewood restaurant Edinburgh
Wedgewood restaurant Edinburgh

We started with succulent Shetland scallops and Douglas fir cured salmon followed by perfectly cooked Peterhead Monkfish and Avon valley roe deer loin. As it was our last night, we could not resist the lure of Chocolate Sacher torte and Very Sticky Toffee Pudding. Food heaven.

Our weekend gave us a newfound appreciation for Scotland’s rich heritage, artisans and first-class hospitality – not to mention a new pickleball hobby. I would like to think that Kim and Andy Murray would think we aced it.

The Cromlix Hotel

Rooms at the Cromlix house hotel start from £315 on a bed and breakfast basis. For more details, visit:

Photos courtesy of Cromlix Hotel.

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Maria on the beach

Maria Boyle

Maria Boyle is a luxury travel writer and also runs her own PR business, advising luxury brands. Her passion for travel started in her teens and has taken her around the world many times. Top destinations include Australia, Costa Rica, South Africa, the Greek islands and Italy. A lover of skiing, spas and gastronomic experiences, Maria also enjoys going off the beaten track. She lives in London with her husband, three daughters and dog Bertie.

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