Scotland has a spring in its step

Scotland has a spring in its step

2020 was undoubtedly a quiet year for corporate travel, but that doesn’t mean that tourism suppliers here in Scotland have rested on their laurels. Quite the opposite in fact! I’ve put together some of the most exciting developments for incentives, events and luxury travel.

Johnnie Walker Experience Edinburgh

The Whisky Capital

Soon you’ll be able to discover the Spirit of Scotland in the heart of Edinburgh, when the Johnnie Walker Experience opens on Princes Street this summer. Set over 8 floors, visitors will have the choice of exquisite private dining, sensory whisky tasting and exceptional views of the city from a rooftop bar. It really is a promising location for future corporate events. 

Johnnie Walker Experience Edinburgh

Johnnie Walker Experience Edinburgh

In 2022, Edinburgh will also see the opening of Scotland’s first vertical distillery, at the Port of Leith, who are leading a new frontier in Scotch Whisky research. I can’t wait to see how the distillery develops and what the whisky tastes like!

Leith Distillery

Leith Distillery, Edinburgh

One of my favourite distilleries to visit, Glenkinchie, has undergone a massive renovation making it even more of a delight to visit this Victorian distillery and its wonderful orchard gardens. As one of the ‘Four Corners of Scotland’ distilleries for Johnnie Walker, they distill their own Edinburgh Malt – enjoyed around the world on its own, and as a vital component of Johnnie Walker blended whiskies. 

And for something a little different, I can’t wait to visit the Arbikie Distillery in Arbroath. Distilling a climate-positive vodka, as well as gin and whisky, they aim to be one of the world’s most sustainable distilleries. A rare field-to-bottle, family business – this will be an experience not to be missed!

Arbikie Whisky

Award winning Arbikie Whisky

Investment in the West

Crerar Hotels have invested over £3 million to redevelop a property on the Isle of Mull, bringing a new 4* hotel offering to the island in summer 2021. The hotel will have 72 luxury bedrooms – including sea-view suites – an extensive spa offering, a new ‘sea deck’ for al fresco dining, plus a host of new restaurants/bars with a focus on high quality, local produce. Cited to be where luxury and wellness meet adventure, it sounds like the perfect spot to base a corporate incentive. 

Isle of Mull Hotel

Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa

I’m also delighted to share that Cameron House will reopen in 2021, with a new bedroom and ballroom extension being completed by 2022. A classic 5* luxury resort on the banks of Loch Lomond, Cameron House has long been a favourite for corporate events and high end travel. The breathtaking setting, luxury rooms and exquisite dining options are all part of the appeal, as is the abundance of great activities in the area. Water-sports on the loch, off-road driving in the surrounding hills, a night out in Glasgow and day trips to the Highlands. Welcome back my old friend, I can’t wait for these views again…

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond. Copyright Visit Scotland – Kenny Lam

Big news in the Golf World

In summer 2022, St Andrews will host the 150th Open Championship and I’m beyond excited! (That’s why I’ve put together two amazing programmes for groups who want to visit The Open – The University Package and The Gleneagles Experience). Famous for being the home of golf, St Andrews is also steeped in Scottish history and offers visitors a truly memorable trip. This ‘Royal Burgh’ will also see a huge refurbishment of the Rusacks Hotel, adding a further 44 bedrooms to its current 70. The refurb also includes the addition of a rooftop bar overlooking the Swilcan Bridge on the 18th hole of The Old Course. Fabulous!

The Open St Andrews

The Open, St Andrews. Copyright Visit Scotland – Kenny Lam

The Marine Hotel in Troon, Ayrshire, is also in the midst of a transformational renovation, with the new hotel set to be revealed this summer. With plans for The Open Championship to be hosted at Royal Troon in 2024, this has come at a perfect time! And the Ayrshire golf offering doesn’t stop there. There is a new, 5* golf resort is opening at Dundonald Links, including a world-class clubhouse restaurant, stunning rooms and luxury lodges. 

Dundonald Links

Dundonald Links Lodges

Destination Scotland

Scotland’s attractiveness for international events is set to continue this year, and beyond. In summer 2021, Glasgow will welcome the UEFA Euro 2020 and in November, the COP26 conference – the United Nations Climate Change Conference. 

But perhaps even bigger than these two great events will be the inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships in 2023. Hosted across Scotland, this event will see thousands of the world’s best cyclists, vying to win the prestigious rainbow jersey. Competing in 13 different cycling disciplines, the event cements Scottish Cycling on a world stage. 

Men Elite Road Rade

UCI Road World Championships @UCI-SWpix


More venue and hotel news….

Yes more hotel news, isn’t it great! I’ll finish up with a quick summary of some other major hotel updates:

– Scotland’s first W Hotel – opening in the newly developed St James Quarter of Edinburgh, in 2021

Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa, Dundee – multi million pound refurbishment completed in 2020

– The 13th Century Maryculter House in Aberdeenshire has undergone a large refurbishment project to turn it into a modern and luxurious Scottish hotel

– Richard Branson’s first Scottish hotel venture will open in 2022. The Virgin Hotel will be located in Edinburgh’s Old Town, featuring a whopping 222 bedrooms

– Gleneagles is coming to Edinburgh in autumn 2021. The iconic sporting and country estate is launching its first ever city outpost, in the heart of Edinburgh. The Gleneagles Townhouse will feature a hotel, restaurants, bars and a private members club. A very exciting addition to the city!

Sheildhall Castle, in the Southern Uplands, has undergone extensive renovations and is reopening in 2021

– Built in the 1830s, the stunning Auchterarder House is opening as an exclusive-use private stately house. We can’t wait to visit!

It’s fantastic to see that despite everything that’s happened in the last year, Scotland’s tourism and event providers are working harder than ever to bring us some of the best accommodation and exclusive experiences in the world. I can’t wait to welcome you back to explore these with me 🙂

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