Gleneagles Townhouse
Meet the Expert:

Joe Miller

14 May 2024

As we celebrate our 100th year, who better to help us reflect on our century of fine hospitality than our Senior Hall Porter, Joe Miller, whose career at Gleneagles has spanned over half of it.

Born and raised in Glasgow, at the age of 15 gregarious Joe declined his father’s offer of an apprenticeship within his marble masonry trade – “He offered to pay me a wage of £2 per week, but I didn’t want to have dirty hands all day,” he explains “and I just knew it wasn’t my calling. I wanted to do something where I could meet and talk to people all day.”

After four years relishing his first hotel job in Glasgow, in 1974 Joe applied for a porter role at Gleneagles – “It had a big reputation and I wanted to see it for myself.” 50 years and almost a lifetime of valued service within the close Gleneagles community later, Joe reflects on some of his treasured memories overseeing half a century of comings and goings, sharing some anecdotal history of the magic behind our famed doors.

Joe recalls the 70s and 80s as a particularly memorable era – “Back then Gleneagles was seen as the playground of the famous,” he says. “All the big American stars of the day were coming over to stay. I got to meet Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Sean Connery, John Travolta, Kevin Costner, Prime Ministers, Presidents and Princes. It was an exciting and glamorous time.”

“My favourite memory is meeting the American film star, James Garner. He was one of the biggest names in Hollywood and all of us were eager to catch a glimpse of him. Mr Garner was standing in the lobby with his golf bag and he asked me, ‘is there any way to get my clubs taken down to the first tee?’ Back in those days, you see, we didn’t have transport to take golfers’ clubs from the hotel to the golf course – instead, we would carry them on our back. I told him I would be very happy to carry them for him. He thanked me and we set off. But as he watched me carrying them down the front steps, he insisted he do it himself.

“He said ‘instead of carrying my clubs, I want you to keep me company on the walk down and tell me everything about yourself – where you come from, what you do, what you enjoy, what it’s like to live in Scotland.’” It was an interaction Joe would never forget. “It was, and still is, one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said to me,” he says. “Here was a superstar with the whole world at his feet, who could have had anything he wanted, and all he wanted was a conversation with me, an 18-year-old boy from Glasgow. I felt like I was nobody, but he made me feel special.” For Joe, Gleneagles is part of who he is now. “When I first started here 50 years ago, I didn’t expect I would still be here all these years later, but I love my job and I love being a part of this team,” he says.

“It’s where I work, but it’s much more than that. It’s the place where I can be myself. It’s where my friends are. It’s a home for me. It’s very special”

At Gleneagles, we’re proud of our award wins that spotlight our interior design, sports, scenery or gastronomy. But it’s the tireless efforts and dedication of our people and valued team members like Joe who’ve created the Gleneagles magic for 100 years!