Donald Matheson, General Manager of the Caledonian Railway Company, first had the idea for Gleneagles while on holiday in Strathearn. His railway line ran through a picturesque valley and he was so impressed by the surrounding countryside that he conjured up the vision of a large country house hotel built in the style of a palace – this being the era of the "grand hotel" – which would provide leisure to the travelling public in the form of golf.


Gleneagles Ltd was formed to construct and operate the proposed hotel and golf courses.


After the outbreak of the First World War in August, the project was halted – and it was not resumed until 1922.



Determined that everything about his new concept should represent the best of the best, Matheson engaged James Braid, one of the golfing greats, to design and create the King’s and Queen’s courses in the grounds of the hotel. Braid had won five Open Championships between 1901 and 1910 before turning his talents to golf-course design. The King’s and Queen’s – forged out of a rugged wilderness using manual labour, pick and shovel, horse and cart – were ready much earlier than the hotel. Both courses were opened in 1919.



The Caledonian Railway Company became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS). Prior to opening in 1924, Gleneagles Ltd was taken over fully by LMS, an action ratified by Act of Parliament.



When the Gleneagles® Hotel opened in 1924 it was described as "a Riviera in the Highlands" and "the eighth wonder of the world". Today, this luxury hotel remains dedicated to excellence, just as it was in its earliest days, when "the avowed intention of the management was to create happiness".


Golf and hotels were the height of fashion. Then, as now, the Gleneagles Hotel was a glorious playground for people dedicated to leisure and pleasure in the most luxurious surroundings.



When the Second World War broke out, the hotel closed and became first a military hospital and then a miners’ rehabilitation centre, reopening as a hotel in May, 1947 – a different hotel however, as society had changed and a new style of guest was welcomed. Conferences became a part of the business and a major change occurred when the railways were nationalised and British Transport Hotels, a subsidiary of British Rail, took over Gleneagles in 1948.



Gleneagles was a regular fixture on the high society calendar: the London "season" was followed by yachting at Cowes, polo at Deauville and golf and grouse shooting at Gleneagles.


The Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference in 1977 and the BBC Pro-Celebrity Golf series helped keep the hotel firmly in the public eye.


This year saw the hotel opening during the winter months for the first time (previously it was only operational in the summer). Between 1982 and 1986 more than £11 million was spent on a total renovation and restoration, and the elegance and traditions of Gleneagles could now be enjoyed all year round. In December, a major new leisure centre, the Country Club (now The Health Club), was created out of the hotel's garage.



The Jackie Stewart Shooting School opened, followed by the Mark Phillips Equestrian Centre in 1988 (now The Gleneagles Shooting School and The Gleneagles Equestrian School). The British School of Falconry opened in 1992.


Gleneagles was awarded the Automobile Association's supreme accolade of Five Red Stars, which it has retained every year.



The PGA Centenary Course, created by Jack Nicklaus, was opened to complement the renowned King's and Queen's courses and together form one of the world's finest golfing venues. In 2012, Jack returned to make some course modifications in preparation for the 2014 Ryder Cup, which the PGA Centenary Course hosted in September 2014.



Celebrated Scots-born chef Andrew Fairlie opened his own restaurant in the hotel. Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles has an intimate, contemporary and understated feel. Offering unashamedly French cuisine with a Scottish twist in seductive, opulent surroundings and with its own spectacular wine cellar, the restaurant has been awarded two Michelin stars.



Braid House, an exciting new development at Gleneagles, was officially opened by Paul Walsh, Chief Executive of what was at then Gleneagles' parent company, Diageo. It has 59 luxurious and spacious bedrooms and four state-of-the-art syndicate/conference rooms, all approached through a glazed concourse from the main hotel. Although part of the hotel, it can be self-contained and companies can reserve it for exclusive use.



The Shooting, Fishing and Equestrian Schools were united in The Activities School (formerly The Equestrian Centre).


Gleneagles created The Spa by ESPA – an award-winning 18-treatment-room spa, with Scotland's first ESPA Life wellness centre following in 2011. 



A major renovation of The Dormy Clubhouse saw the creation of The Clubhouse Bar & Grill and The Blue Bar – an exceptional place to enjoy the finest whisky and cigars. 


A £5 million project to transform the hotel's Club leisure facilities was unveiled, providing an even more luxurious space to escape, relax and unwind. 



The Gleneagles Arena, a 2,500 sq m events space and indoor tennis centre, was officially opened. In July, Gleneagles came under new ownership, sold by Diageo to Ennismore. 



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