GLENEAGLES Hotel may have some of the most luxurious interiors in the country but the prestigious Perthshire destination will focus on the great outdoors this summer. After a dormant winter, the resort will spring back to life from today, accentuating the 850-acre estate’s heritage as a location for country pursuits.

The reopening of one of the biggest names in Scottish hospitality also means a return to work for the 1,000-strong workforce and an economic boost for the region. Managing director Conor O’Leary says there has been considerable planning to reach this point and team members are energised by the prospect of resuming their place on the local landscape. “We’re ready and we’re excited,” he says. “

Our team want to be welcoming people here, teaching them to fish, teaching them to shoot, cooking them a meal in the Strathearn restaurant. We have multi-generational families working at Gleneagles and we’ve people who live just around the corner or down the road. It’s part of who we are and our guests love that.”

The National:

The three championship golf courses at Gleneagles and Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, with Scotland’s only two-Michelin star rating, have traditionally been a draw for international guests. In their absence, O’Leary believes the hotel is well positioned to appeal to a domestic market.

“UK guests are always at least 65 per cent of total business across the year,” he points out. “And within that two-thirds are Scottish. So, thankfully we’ve always been a popular destination for Scotland and for Britain as a whole. Yes, we will have to replace some business from America and other places but it’s not from a standing start.

“I think our offering of family fun, adventure, golf, great food and drink is still appealing.”

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By May, there will be a Champagne Bar on the Glendevon terrace, an outdoor summer house serving ice cream and slushies for younger visitors, plus a Seafood Bar offering Isle of Mull scallops, langoustines roasted in their shells and the hotel’s own smoked salmon to enjoy outside.

Meanwhile, The American Bar will be invoking Roaring Twenties glamour with live jazz performances and cocktails in the evenings. June will see whisky summer night events beside Laich Loch, featuring tastings from Scottish distilleries around a fire pit under the stars.

Back at the hotel there will be the chance to enjoy sundowner cocktails and canapes on the lawn before a five-course dinner in the Wine Cellar. Head chef Stefano Purci will also be hosting family-friendly pasta-making classes in the Winter Garden.

Gleneagles’ outdoor experiences have been expanded to include partner estates with off-road guided tours in Land Rover Defenders. The hotel’s Explorers Kids Club will be offering nature walks, stable tours with the chance to meet Hettie the Shetland pony, tree climbing, falconry, archery and fishing.

The National:

O’Leary says: “We want to have more fun with it this year and let people get outdoors even more. We’re bringing the lawns to life with the seafood shack on one side and ice cream hut on the other. We’ve added more bikes to our fleet. We saw last summer that people want to be in the countryside doing things we haven’t been able to do during lockdown.”

Scottish destinations will appeal to a captive audience in the months ahead as less people travel abroad and O’Leary sees this as an opportunity. “We want to get the doors open and show what we can do,” he says.

“The hotel was built in 1924 for people to go and have fun, to get away. It was purely a luxury relaxation destination and we’re right back there again. “We won’t see much corporate business this year – that’s fine – but we’ll see lots of people travelling from near and far to enjoy what Gleneagles is.”

This feature appeared in the May edition of Best of Scotland magazine.