This month’s Member Spotlight is a very special one, as it comes from the winner of the Hilden Style Awards 2013/2014, Glencoe House!
Glencoe House is a beautiful historic manor house nestled in Glencoe Glen, Scotland. As well as incorporating a tranquil private garden and being bordered by awe-inspiring surroundings, the hotel is home to some truly stunning rooms.
We spoke to general manager Anne Goh to find out more about this historic houses heritage and how it was transformed into a luxurious and romantic retreat.
Hi Anne, Glencoe House is set in a really magnificent building. Could you tell us a little more about its history?
The history of the house is a short one really as it is only experiencing its third ownership. The people associated with it, such as Sir Robert Rowan Anderson and Lord Strathcona are probably of more interest though.
Sir Robert has long been described as “the Premier Architect of Scotland,” and not just because of his striking and imposing public buildings. Such were his talents that he was commissioned by King Edward himself to modify Balmoral Castle, in the same year that he became architect for Glencoe House.
Then there’s Lord Strathcona. Well-known for his mottos of perseverance, hard work and moral standing, you wouldn’t have thought he’d be one for grand gestures. Then he met Isabella Sophia Smith.
Defying convention and causing something of a scandal at the time, the couple feel deeply in love and conceived a child out of wedlock, before officially marrying in 1854. They went on to live a blissful and happy life together, with Lord Strathcona building Glencoe House – his grand love letter to Isabella – in 1896. To this day, this celebration of their life together boasts tokens of their love in the form of stone initials on the exterior of the building.
We understand that Glencoe only opened its doors in May this year. What were the challenges in opening such a beautiful establishment? And what inspired you to open its doors?
Roger, one of Glencoe Houses guardians who lives in Onich was looking for a project in the area, and when Glencoe House came up for sale he realised its potential and was very keen to get started.
Anyone that has worked on a listed building while at the same time changing its purpose will tell you that there are so many challenges. Conforming to a lot of stipulation from Historic Scotland, but also meeting all the regulations of health & safety and fire are not easy. On top of that giving it a welcoming atmosphere – so making it more like a home away from home – was quite a task, but we believe it was worth every bit of our time and effort.
Glencoe House’s unique concept and the somewhat different offering has been less of a challenge than we thought. Guests love the idea of the in-suite dining, the space that they get and all the little extras they get when they stay here.
Your rooms incorporate some lovely décor and really pretty furnishings and accessories – did you have a particular theme, trend or inspiration in mind when decorating the hotel?
Judy, Roger’s wife, took on all of the interior design and found pleasure in sourcing the furniture, choosing colours and picking up the finishing touches such as blankets and chandeliers. The style is very modern but with some traditional touches like a thistle motif and floral pattern.
What do you find is your biggest challenge when it comes to your bedding and bed linen?
Our beds are emperor size, so 210x200m and you can’t get any flat sheets, duvet covers or fitted sheets for the beds. Most of the things needed to be sourced by a local company and customised.
For our double and single sheets, duvet covers and fitted sheets I have ordered the 1cm satin stripe duvet covers and flat sheets that have a luxurious feel to them.
If you could recommend one Hilden product to our readers, which one would it be and why?
All of our white table cloths and napkins are from Hilden. The large array of sizes perfectly fits our different antique tables.
As you can see, the level of dedication that has gone into the restoration of Glencoe House has turned it into a peaceful escape steeped in history, elegance, romance and luxury. It’s this pairing of good looks with real passion that help to really make a hotel, B&B, guesthouse or cottage stand out from the crowd, gifting guests with a unique stay. It’s no surprise that Glencoe House was the Style Awards entry that captured our judges’ imaginations!
Roger, one of Glencoe House’s guardians with their Style Awards winners plaque.
If you’d like your establishment to feature in our next Member Spotlight, contact email@example.com for more information. And if you’d like to learn more about why our Style Awards judges awarded first place to Glencoe House, download the Hilden Style Guide 2013/2014 to see their two page special feature : )