Design Focus: Meldrum House

Ballroom Exterior opt

The owners of the four-star Meldrum House Country Hotel & Golf Course in Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire, have just invested £4.5 million in a new state-of-the-art Ballroom and banqueting facility and 28 new luxurious guest bedrooms -bringing the number of bedrooms the award winning hotel has to offer to 51. The addition of the wing heralds a new era for the hotel, which has always had a reputation for luxury.
Meldrum House_optThe modern new wing has a very contemporary design which still manages to marry beautifully with the original period building. It is a great example of the old meeting the new, and the result is a classy, and versatile, luxury hotel, which will appeal to a very broad audience.
General Manager Peter Walker said, “People have asked why we might do something of this level when things are so gloomy in the City. But we were always committed to this project. We have deliberately produced something at Meldrum House that will attract people to Aberdeenshire. We have big plans.”
Meldrum House is set in 240 acres which includes a golf course, lake and a field for its very own Highland Coo. This privately owned hotel has a history which dates back some 800 years and the original hotel building is awash with historical artifacts from paintings to the revered Coat of Arms.
From the moment you walk up to the door of Meldrum House you are aware of how well the old marries with the new. With automated glass doors opening to bring you into the castle-like building and a welcoming reception area which has a modern feel but which sits in front of a staircase with some very grand paintings from a different era.
The new extension to the hotel is the first since a complete renovation was carried out in 2009, and the new wing now spans over 950 square metres.
While the older wing of the hotel has luxury four poster beds and traditional designs with regard to its soft furnishings and wall coverings, the new wing offers elegant contemporary rooms, designed by Thr3 Design, which make the most of the fabulous views over the golf course with floor to ceiling windows. Some even have glass balconies overlooking the expansive golf course. But we will come back to the rooms. The new wing also encompasses the stunning Ballroom which has been created to make the most of the views too. The new suite, which you reach from the original hotel by descending an impressive set of stairs, takes you into the bar area which has double height windows that stretch the width of the area. The colours are subtle – taupe with a subtle turquoise. The wedding suite itself has similar colours and can seat up to 200 guests. It too has glass on two sides and also boasts a super terrace which can easily hold a drinks reception.
Restaurant 1_optThere has also been a change to the main hotel with the former private dining room being changed into a contemporary restaurant. The bar, The Cave, has beeng extended so that it has twice the capacity.
The Cave, which is situated to the right as you come into the hotel, was formerly a small cosy bar with original arched stonework, giving as the name suggests the appearance of a Cave. The wall at the rear of The Cave has now been knocked through, and what was formerly a hotel bedroom has been completely transformed into a bar which has a contemporary feel and a great selection of whisky on display. The bar area has lots of character and some memorabilia including  a display of old keys which were once used to open the rooms in the hotel. The bar also has two turretted areas which have been transformed into cosy seating areas for guests. Tartan has been used on the back of the chairs, and on the walls, but although Scottish in feel there is nothing twee about The Cave.
Amy who showed me around said that returning guests would automatically peer into where they expected the bar to be and gasped when they saw how much it had been extended.
The hotel still boasts many traditional public areas which are popular for afternoon teas. Think deep sofas, and a very traditional Scottish country house hotel feel. But the newly refurbished restaurant has a more sophisticated and contemporary look.
The colour palette in the restaurant is muted with a tartan carpet in various shades of beige. The walls feature a striking olive green paper which has a lovely sheen. All the beautifully framed pictures are of Meldrum House and its grounds, which is a lovely touch. In fact, all the framed photographs in the hotel have the same subject matter.
Heavy rosewood tables inlaid with brass around the cuff of the tables, two glorious statement lamps in the centre, comfortable leather seats, and leather sofas rather than fixed seating, add to the luxurious feel of this room. It has been very tastefully renovated. The quality of the soft furnishings and seating and furniture is very evident. And you can’t help but having a feel of the heavy gold and tauple curtains which adorn the original sash windows that offer beautiful views of the garden. The menu offered reflects the quality of Scotland’s cuisine with the chef using locally sourced ingredients of the season, from lobster to steak, from local supplier Presly & Co.
Room 606 - Club Room_optThe colour palette consists of beige, light browns and gold throughout. The contemporary luxury rooms in the hotel and the soft furnishings are all of the same exceptional quality, from the TVs that appear at the end of the bed, to the occasional chairs in shades of gold and beige. It feels light and bright. The curtains really are epic – the Super King rooms above the new function suite are corner rooms with full windows from floor to ceiling on two sides – and the curtains are required to stretch all the way round. The curtains alone must have been a massive expense, but well worth it, because they do actually make the room. What also makes these rooms is of course, the view over the hotel’s Parkland 18-hole golf course and miles of countryside beyond. These rooms also come equipped with beautifully tiled bathrooms which also have great views.
Commenting on the development, CEO Andy Burgess said, “This development is a perfect addition to Meldrum House. It doubles our bedroom capacity as well as giving us a banqueting suite that is unrivalled for the area. With our world-class accommodation, coupled with the history of Meldrum House, we plan to market it to visitors all over the world as a luxury destination.”
It is certainly that.