Crieff snaps up Peebles Hydro

Perthshire resort firm embarks on major expansion drive

• Stephen Leckie said the deal is significant.

THE firm behind Perthshire leisure resort Crieff Hydro is set to acquire two Borders businesses from McMillan Hotels later this month.

Under the deal, which is expected to be concluded in the next few weeks, Scotland’s oldest registered trading company will take on Peebles Hydro and the Park Hotel in Peebles.
The firm has also launched a separate joint venture with Freedom Hotels to manage four of its properties – The Isles of Glencoe Hotel & Leisure Centre, The Ballachulish Hotel and the Oban Caledonian on the west coast of Scotland and The Yorkshire Hotel in Harrogate.
Both deals will add more than 400 bedrooms and £10 million of revenue.
Crieff Hydro re-banked from Lloyds to Santander for the core business and to fund the acquisition and development of Peebles Hydro.
Crieff chief executive Stephen Leckie said the deals represent a “significant opportunity” to develop businesses in some of Scotland’s most important tourist areas.
“Taking on a mixed bag of country hotels is hardly fashionable,” he said.
“But once you’re away from the cities, it’s hotels like this that are the real heart and soul of Scotland’s tourism product and tourism is increasingly recognised as being amongst the biggest economic drivers for the country. So for the sake of the prosperity of our own business and the wider tourism picture I believe we’ll make a success of these.”
McMillan Hotels managing director Douglas McMillan said his company is restructuring to focus on the properties in its “heartland” of the south west of Scotland.
“To that end, we have been determined that we should achieve as seamless a handover as possible and that these two much-loved hotels will be developed further,” he said.
Colin Johnston, owner of the four Freedom Hotels, said: “Having been through the hands of a few operators, it will take time for these businesses to stabilise but I know they have great potential.
“This is about the long-term for me and for Crieff Hydro.”