The location for Gleneagles, opened in 1924, was selected purely for its scenery. The hotel’s founder, Donald Matheson, was holidaying in this part of Perthshire and was so impressed by its natural beauty that he decided to conjure his own vision of the ultimate country estate in the rolling Ochil Hills.
After almost 100 years, the now-sprawling resort maintains the same ethos on which it was established: to provide the perfect luxury retreat with all manner of outdoor pursuits and an unrivalled level of service delivered by the finest hospitality professionals in the business.
Matheson’s legacy lives on as Gleneagles is announced as the winner of the Art of Hospitality Award, which is selected by the same 580-strong voting Academy that creates the list of The World’s 50 Best Hotels. Each panellist was asked to name the hotel where they received the single-best hospitality experience within the two-year voting window.
Due to its remote location – Auchterarder, the small town where Gleneagles resides, has a population of just 5,900 people – staff see working here as more than just a job. Fifty per cent of the hotel’s workforce are native to the local area and the rest are attracted by the location itself, which invokes a unique sense of pride.
They are encouraged by management to deliver their own brand of hospitality that allows their personal passion for the region to be visible. There are no scripted introductions, no corporately designed implementation of the hotel’s brand values or structured interaction protocol – staff are entrusted to be themselves and communicate what working at Gleneagles means to them. It results in an authentic, jovial philosophy of hospitality that allows personality to shine through and create memorable guest experiences.
The hotel itself has truly world-class facilities. On opening, it had two James Braid-designed golf courses, The King’s and The Queen’s, and the rest of the options for entertainment have evolved around them. The Health Club spa opened in 1982, the shooting school shortly after and recent years have seen a horse-riding academy, fishing school, tennis centre and 4x4 offroad driving camp follow suit.
Its standout dining destination, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, launched in 2001 and is today the only two-Michelin-star rated restaurant in Scotland. It is joined by glamorous dining room The Strathearn and cocktail spot The American Bar among numerous eating and drinking options across the property.
A large resort-style hotel that comes with a unique personal touch, Gleneagles is a worthy winner of the Art of Hospitality Award as part of The World’s 50 Best Hotels 2023.
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