Cromlix: Our ace stay at Kim and Andy Murray's luxury hotel in Scotland

Maria Boyle enjoys a weekend of discovery with her daughter at Kim and Andy Murray’s luxury hotel, Cromlix, in Scotland, which has always played a major role in the tennis star’s family life.

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

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.

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

Cromlix, in Scotland. Picture: © 2023 Caroline BriggsCromlix, in Scotland. Picture: © 2023 Caroline Briggs
Cromlix, in Scotland. Picture: © 2023 Caroline Briggs

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

On arrival at Edinburgh airport, Keith, one of the hotel’s friendly drivers, gave us the warmest welcome, whisked us into the Cromlix 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 route 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.

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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.

Kim and Andy Murray outside their luxury hotelKim and Andy Murray outside their luxury hotel
Kim and Andy Murray outside their luxury hotel

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, 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.

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.

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.

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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 bustling cities like Glasgow or Edinburgh.

Inside CromlixInside Cromlix
Inside Cromlix

While the temptation to simply relax was strong, we were curious to explore the 34-acres of woodland it sits in, 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.

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.

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

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

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We saw how Araminta and her highly trained teamwork with British alpaca wool 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!

As the sun set on the final evening, we had 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.

We started with succulent Shetland scallops and my daughter chose 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 that we aced it!

Cromlix: rooms start from £315 on a bed and breakfast basis

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