Dr. Thomas Meikle has a brilliant idea. Inspired by a trip to Austria to view hydrotherapy hotels he wanted to build his own in the clean fresh air of Scotland and so the building of the ‘Crieff Hydropathic Establishment’ began.
The hotel, although not quite as we know it, was opened for business.
Ballachullish Hotel, designed by Scottish architect John Honeyman, opens. Honeyman has a young apprentice who will become a household name in the future: Charles Rennie Mackintosh
After three years in construction, Peebles Hydro opens for business, offering Russian, Turkish, peat, Nauheim, aromatic, medicated, eucalyptus, rain, pine extract, spray, vapour, brine or sulphur baths. Choice!
Queen Victoria visits Ballachulish and has this to say on the Ballachulish Hotel: “The situation of the hotel – the larger one – on the opposite side [from the Corran Ferry road], at the foot of the hills close to the ferry is extremely pretty. There was a smaller and less handsome inn on the north side, by which we had come. Here we got out… and walked down to the boat.”
The first electric light was installed in Crieff Hydro.
The new wing was opened and the dining room was extended by a whole 2 feet!
The first pool, now our Victorian Spa, was built to be used as part of the hydropathic treatment regime.
Unfortunately, in the same year, Peebles Hydro burns down…
The Winter Garden was a welcome new space in the hotel – but the cake offering wasn’t quite the same as it is now!
The new Peebles Hydro is rebuilt using reclaimed materials. Architect James Millar designed the new hotel and the cost was £37,000 – £33,000 less than the original!
The company purchased all of Ferntower Estate, including a local favourite – the Knock.
Culcrieff Farm was purchased, including the dwelling house and steading.
Two petrol pumps were installed on the estate – motor cars were on the rise!
Bathing in the basement no more! Crieff Hydro began to install bathrooms on every floor and put hot and cold sinks into all bedrooms.
Possession of the hotel was re-gained and the building ‘spruce up’ began!
The hotel re-opened with Mr Gordon Leckie as the Managing Director.
The small farm on the south shore of Loch Earn was purchased – now better known as Lochearn Watersports Centre!
Crieff Hydro’s cinema, complete with a sloping floor, was installed.
Crieff Hydro’s first bar was opened in the Highlandman room – before this point guests would venture along to the Murraypark to enjoy a tipple or two!
Stephen Leckie succeeded his father as Managing Director.
The Brasserie opened and hotel guests welcomed casual dining and a family-friendly menu to the Crieff ‘mix’.
The self-catering accommodation was launched – well, we have plenty of room for it!
Murraypark was welcomed into the family – and so began the growth of the Crieff Hydro Family!
Crieff Hydro broke occupancy records housing 460 in the hotel and 130 in the self-catering units.
The outdoor activity centre – or Action Glen as we know it – added to the fun with quads, archery, 4×4 driving and lots more added over the years!
Big Country – the largest registered childcare facility in Britain opened at a cost of £3.3m. Offering inclusive childcare for 2 to 12-year-olds when staying at Crieff Hydro.
We expanded our family of hotels to include Peebles Hydro, The Park Hotel in Peebles, The Isles of Glencoe & The Ballachulish Hotel.
Crieff Hydro opened the doors to their new Italian restaurant, Piccolo.
Ballachulish and Isles of Glencoe Hotels officially joined the family after 2 years under our management.
Crieff Hydro celebrates its 150th birthday.
We’ve spent the year reminiscing our 150 years and taking a look through the archives held at the hotel. Times and fashions have changed, but one thing stays the same – our dedication to Scottish hospitality in the best locations. Want to visit our hotels and live like a local? Check out our “best bits”
Carpenters and craftsmen are currently bringing a fresh new future for the Kingshouse Hotel and we’ll re-open in February 2019. We run a continuous cycle of re-investment at our hotels so will continue to develop and improve all the family favourites across our hotels and make sure our special locations remain so.