Leading hotelier takes top award

SLTN Industry Achievement Award goes to Stephen Leckie

Stephen Leckie took the SLTN Award for Industry Achievement, in association with Edrington-Beam Suntory at the event

GUESTS were on their feet at the 2019 SLTN Awards as Stephen Leckie, chairman and chief executive of the Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels, was presented with the SLTN Award for Industry Achievement, in association with Edrington Beam-Suntory UK.

Stephen – the fifth generation of his family at the helm of Crieff Hydro – received a standing ovation as he made his way to the stage to collect the award in recognition of his business success and his significant contribution to the tourism industry.

Speaking at the SLTN Awards, SLTN editor Gillian McKenzie told guests how Stephen was determined to carve out his own career path from an early age.

He worked in hotels in Edinburgh and St Andrews while studying business and hospitality in the capital, before moving south of the border with Queens Moat House Hotels, where he quickly rose through the ranks to become the group’s youngest general manager at the age of 25.

Family circumstances saw him return to Perthshire and join the Crieff Hydro business in 1994, where one of the early changes he ushered in was the installation of the first ever bar.

And that was just the beginning.

Stephen has gone on to spearhead an ambitious multi-million pound development programme which has transformed the hotel into one of Scotland’s leading resorts, and expanded the business into the Borders and Highlands; earlier this year he created a distillery, launched a range of four gins and opened a gin school at Peebles Hydro. Alongside developing his own business, Stephen plays a major role in championing Scottish tourism; he is chair of the Scottish Tourism Alliance and also heads the Tourism Leadership Group.

The event was hosted by Kevin Bridges

“He is quick to play down his business success and achievements, simply saying that he loves going to work; he loves people”, Gillian told guests at the SLTN Awards.

“But it’s more than that. A thread of entrepreneurialism has run through each of the generations to operate this 150 year old family business. And it is tonight’s winner who has taken it to the next level… and then some!

“Would that first generation ever have imagined the hotel would still be in the family today? That guests would be whizzing around the hotel grounds on Segways? That the business would extend down to the Borders and up to the Highlands? Perhaps not. What they would recognise is the strong family bond that remains at the heart of the business. And my goodness they would be proud.”

Accepting the award, Stephen said: “I’ve had 25 years with the company so far, and hope to last another 50 and pass this on to the next generation.

“So thanks very much to SLTN for this recognition and this award.”