Hilton Grand Vacations, a strand of Hilton Worldwide, has unveiled its latest venture in the form of 32 luxury suites at its Craigendarroch site.
The site used to host Hilton Craigendarroch Hotel & Resort but the hotel has now been handed over to the Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV) strand of the business. The suites will operate on a timeshare basis, as all venues within HGV do, allowing individuals to purchase the suites for certain times of the year on a semi-permanent basis.
HGV gained ownership of the hotel site in January 2013 and have since carried out a complete internal rebuild and refurbishment of the venue. The hotel used to be a 45 bedroom venue and everything within the building and country club has been renovated. Hilton Grand Vacations were already present at the Craigendarroch site with 99 luxury self catering lodges which are fully occupied. The new HGV venture offers an exclusive new product to the timeshare market to current lodge owners and potential new owners.
Premier Hospitality caught up with Richard McIntosh, managing director for Hilton Grand Vacations for Europe, Middle East and Africa, to find out more about the project. Richard said:
“The refurbishment started on the 6th January 2013 with the closure of the former hotel and then we spent the next eight months doing the work, before our official opening date on the 6th August 2013. Within the previous hotel there were meeting rooms used for gatherings, wedding and dinner dances; we took all that space and the bedrooms and converted them into 32 high end luxury suites. It has been a rebuild within existing framework of the main building.
“We redesigned the reception area by stripping it all down and removing the old fashioned reception desk and adding contemporary style pods. We have also created an exclusive members lounge for the purchasers of the suites. The bar and restaurant area was again stripped back completely to its core, and has been redesigned to now offer the new Keiller Brasserie and Lounge.”
The Keiller Brasserie and Lounge has been named in honour of the Keiller family, who originally built the house on Craigendarroch Hill in 1891 as a family home. The stylish and elegant interior of the Keiller Brasserie has been carefully designed to offer a tranquil and welcoming setting, and serves locally-sourced produce and seasonal ingredients.
The suites comprise a sophisticated lounge area with fireplace, as well as a light food preparation area with fridge, small freezer, microwave, kettle and toaster. The suites also house high-end bedrooms and bathrooms. Fifteen of the 32 suites sleep two people and 15 sleep four; there are also two suites that sleep six people and contain full kitchens.
The architect on the project was Edinburgh-based Crerar Architects, and the interior designer was Glasgow-based design consultant Cunningham McLean. The main contractor on the project was Dimension Shopfitting, a specialist fit out firm based in Glasgow, which Hilton Worldwide has employed on various projects over the years.
The principal difference between the hotel that used to be on the Craigendarroch site and the suites are that the new venues are being sold on a vacation club basis; a timeshare model. Over the next three years, each suite will be sold to individual purchasers. However, until the suites are sold people can continue to book a suite on a nightly basis if they want.
The timeshares are being sold from £3570 to £23000 for two bedrooms in peak time. This contract gives individuals ownership until 2050, at which time all the owners would take a vote to see if they wanted to continue the timeshare programme. The model operates on a pay-per-week basis, and owners can purchase as many weeks as they like. HGV operates a points system that allows purchasers to receive points for their ownership each year, which they can use as a currency to make reservations at other Hilton resorts worldwide.
Richard feels the venue is unique.
“The suites are a completely new product in the U.K. timeshare market, which does not exist anywhere else. It is the first time Hilton Grand Vacations has embarked on a venture like this in the U.K. Craigendarroch lodges have been open for 28 years, and have been one of the most successful timeshare resorts in Europe, as we have sold out here, so the suites bring something new to our existing owners and to potential new owners as well.
“As well as bringing something new to the market, we will welcome an additional 5,000 leisure guests to Craigendarroch every year, which will significantly boost the local economy.”
Hardwood flooring specialist Partnership Flooring was responsible for the installation of herringbone design floor, which was consistent with the history of the building. In total, the company installed 1,000 square metres of block flooring and 500 square metres of strip flooring on the project.
Commenting on the work, Partnership Flooring Director Peter Douglas, said: “It was important for us to be involved with this project because we were helping to restore a building back to its original state.”