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Our story

Our family has been at the helm of Crieff Hydro for 150 years. You could say the generations are simply custodians for the next to come through, but there’s more to it than that. Entrepreneurial spirits have run through the veins of each “keeper”, as does a good sense of fun. In more recent times, we’ve expanded the hotel family, so have popped in their special dates too. Feel free to send a card or bake a cake.

1867

Eureka! moment

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.

1868

Open for business

The hotel, although not quite as we know it, was opened for business.

1877

Ballachulish Hotel is built

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

1881

The name's Hydro, Peebles Hydro

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!

1883

A right Royal encounter

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.”

1889

Lighten up!

The first electric light was installed in Crieff Hydro.

1894

Wings & feet

The new wing was opened and the dining room was extended by a whole 2 feet!

1905

Everything's going swimmingly

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…

1907

Have your cake & eat it

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!

1912

Knock Knock

The company purchased all of Ferntower Estate, including a local favourite – the Knock.

1921

The farm next door

Culcrieff Farm was purchased, including the dwelling house and steading.

1927

The rise of the motor car

Two petrol pumps were installed on the estate – motor cars were on the rise!

1932

Running hot & cold

Bathing in the basement no more! Crieff Hydro began to install bathrooms on every floor and put hot and cold sinks into all bedrooms.

1946

A good spruce up

Possession of the hotel was re-gained and the building ‘spruce up’ began!

1949

Business as usual

The hotel re-opened with Mr Gordon Leckie as the Managing Director.

1957

Splashing out

The small farm on the south shore of Loch Earn was purchased – now better known as Lochearn Watersports Centre!

1972

The BIG screen

Crieff Hydro’s cinema, complete with a sloping floor, was installed.

1994

What's your tipple?

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!

1996

Stephen Leckie, MD

Stephen Leckie succeeded his father as Managing Director.

1998

Eat out or in

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!

1999

Murraypark

Murraypark was welcomed into the family – and so began the growth of the Crieff Hydro Family!

2000

Record breakers

Crieff Hydro broke occupancy records housing 460 in the hotel and 130 in the self-catering units.

2003

It's all action!

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!

2006

FREE childcare

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.

2014

A growing family

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.

2016

Heading West

Ballachulish and Isles of Glencoe Hotels officially joined the family after 2 years under our management.

2018

Celebrating 150 years

Crieff Hydro celebrates its 150th birthday.

Present Day

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”

Sooo...

What's next

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.

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