Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has just opened his own castle for business. “Cromlix,” a lavish Victorian mansion near Murray’s home town in Scotland, welcomed its first visitors Tuesday. Murray spent over $6.5 million to purchase and refurbish this 15 bedroom “cottage” on the 15th-century property of the lords of Cromlix into a swank, updated version of the nobles’ 1890’s-era home. His brother was married on the grounds in 2010, and Andy liked it so much he purchased the 34-acre estate last year.
This is no normal B&B. With a nod to his Wimbledon win, Murray’s first additions to the grounds were Wimbledon-themed purple-and-green tennis courts. The estate’s Scottish entertainment options include snooker, falconry, fishing in a loch on the grounds, or even hosting your own Highland Games, complete with caber toss.
For the April 1 opening, his mother Judy gave tennis lessons to local kids on the court. The lucky locals then joined celebrity chef Albert Roux at the hotel’s Chez-Roux restaurant. No word if they feasted on haggis, but the hotel’s Scottish-themed holiday menu will feature black pudding, mince pies and bacon rolls.
The hotel, near Dunblane, is as Scottish as it gets. Andy named the rooms after national icons like Robert Burns, Arthur Conan Doyle, Ian Fleming, Annie Lenox and of course Sean Connery. Silver-mounted bagpipes line the walls of the chapel beside tartan kilts, family boar-crests and 1850s battlefield relics from the Crimean war. A locally made hundred-year-old pipe organ belches tunes while the less holy can retire to the custom-built Balvenie whiskey tasting room for reflection.
Andy’s girlfriend Kim Sears contributed design ideas (and scent choices) to the five-star hotel’s plush rooms, and his mom is planning to stay in each room to test quality. The approximately $3.3 million that Andy spent to purchase the then-crumbling mansion was “more than equaled” during the renovations. The money spent had positive results: early Trip Advisor reviews report friendly staff, “enormous bathtubs” and duvet covers “that have to be experienced.” ICMI, a “castle management” company, will be supervising operations so that Andy can continue to concentrate on his tennis game.
Cromlix is already completely booked for the upcoming Ryder Cup in nearby Gleneagles, and Russian tour groups have reserved the place for a James Bond-themed Scotland tour. Prices range from about $260 for a small double to $750 for the gate lodge. Sausage-lovers will be happy to know prices include a Scottish breakfast.
Murray has said he hopes the hotel will help his hometown economy, but regardless of its success he said, “at least I know I will have somewhere to stay” when he comes home for Christmas.
See below for an extended recent interview with Murray