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Detail of Gleneagles Townhouse ceiling


History reimagined

30 September 2021

Meet Charlie North, Design Director at Ennismore and leading the renovations of our Category A Listed property. 


What goes in to redesigning such a historic building?

‘The property was a bank for over 200 years, so there were some incredible architectural features to work with, including glass domed ceilings, ornate cornicing, stone columns, ornamental gold details, original vaults and floor tiles. We’ve spent a lot of time in the archives, studying old photography and architectural plans of the building, to painstakingly restore those features and celebrate that amazing heritage, whilst breathing new life into the property through bold and beautiful contemporary designs.’

How did the building’s history influence the interior design?

‘Our restaurant will be located in the centre of the old banking hall. We wanted to reference its previous life so installed a central feature bar underneath the dome, including elements of the design such as the gantry lighting, giving a nod back to the historic banking counter.

Upstairs in our rooftop bar the design is heavily influenced by the link to Gleneagles Hotel and the landscape and relationship to the Scottish outdoors.

Throughout the guest rooms we have been able to reflect the grandeur of the era of the building through the use of decorative mouldings, panelling and sweeping features such as canopy crown headboards.’


Are there any key historical elements from the original building that have been restored?

‘It was so important to us to protect the heritage of the building whilst paying respect to its history. In the Reception is a War Memorial to commemorate the memory of the 68 bank employees who died during World War I, with the original lights restored on either side.  A beautiful  original stained glass window has been maintained, along with the historical staircase and floor. In the restaurant space the dome and busts have been restored and the double height windows flooding the room with natural light. Throughout the hotel in other locations original fireplaces and panelling have been reimagined with fresh colours whilst maintaining their features. Most prominently, in the basement where our wellness suite is, we have the original vault doors from the bank as entry to the changing rooms!’


How does the interior design of The Townhouse differ from Gleneagles?

‘It reflects the grandeur and history of the building that it’s situated in, with a distinct Townhouse feel.  Each guestroom has different sizes, orientation and ceiling heights as well as antiques, including lighting and rugs. Each room will be totally unique and have its own identity. The Townhouse will have some contemporary touches architecturally in the 5th floor and the basement, and we can’t wait to put the final touches in place with an array of curated contemporary artwork.’


What are your favourite design/architectural highlights?

‘The dome, ceiling and the busts of the men around the frieze in the restaurant are a sight to see!

The first and second floors are dominated by the six monumental Corinthian columns topped by an elaborate entablature with foliate carving and supporting six statues symbolizing Agriculture, Manufacture, Commerce, Science, Architecture and Navigation, by Alexander Handyside Ritchie. The building is rich in storytelling and symbolism, it’s original elaborate design to express the wealth and security of the bank.’


What can guests expect from the design?

“All the designs feel warm, friendly and welcoming – like a part of the New Town neighbourhood that’s always been there.  Every single space has its own unique character and charm; our guests and members can expect something completely different to anywhere else in Scotland with some loving and playful nods to the iconic hotel in Auchterarder.”

We donned our hard hats and dodged in between the builders to take a few sneaky shots (for your eyes only! We’re so excited about how it’s coming along…take a look!

Detail of cornicing at Gleneagles Townhouse
Detail of cornicing at Gleneagles Townhouse
Detail of cornicing at Gleneagles Townhouse
Detail of cornicing at Gleneagles Townhouse

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