The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 10 October 2008

Turnberry Hotel gets £30 million makeover
for Open Golf Championship

A DELEGATION from Leisurecorp, the Dubai-based new owners of the Turnberry Golf resort, visited Ayrshire this week to reveal details of their £30 million plans to renovate and refurbish the Turnberry Hotel.

Internationally acclaimed designer Mary Fox Linton has been chosen to mastermind the makeover.


One of the first things Ms Fox Linton said she wanted to do, apart from ripping up the carpet, was to uncover the windows in the reception area to bring back the astonishing views of Ailsa Craig and the Turnberry Lighthouse.

She said her aim was to peel back the many refurbishments of the hotel and return it to how its architect, Glaswegian James Miller, had intended it.

The designer stressed that heritage and preservation were more her thing than the rush of shimmer and bling.

In three weeks, Leisurecorp, the development firm owned by the Dubai government, will officially receive ownership of Turnberry Hotel and Golf Course. Its investment will bring Turnberry into the same family as some of the world’s most exclusive courses, such as Dubai’s Jumeirah resort.

But Leisurecorp is keen to stress that the true links course, which is split by deep coastal shelves and is open to non-members, will not merely become another playground for the rich and famous.

“People think that you have come from Dubai and it will all be about these very flamboyant skyscrapers, but that is of course not what Turnberry is about,” said Alan Rogers, chief executive of the firm.

“There is something so magical about Turnberry. Turnberry Hotel has always been one of the great icons of Scottish tourism, and I just adore the place. There is an amazing serenity here, and that is what Turnberry is about.”

The hotel was built by Miller, an architect who had found a niche in designing railway stations, including Prestwick and Troon.

Turnberry Hotel will close at the beginning of November, as will the golf course, and reopen at the start of July 2009 - ready for the 138th Open Golf Championship which will draw thousands of spectators and millions of pounds to the Ayrshire coast next summer. The drive by Leisurecorp is to make sure that the style of redevelopment is “indigenous” to its surroundings. Scottish suppliers will be used where possible.

Historic Scotland and South Ayrshire Council have already been involved in hitting the right tone, and getting the approval of local people would appear to be important.

Ms Fox Linton said: “I would hate people to think that the hotel was pompous. We want everyone to be able to come in an enjoy it.”

Mr Rogers said he wanted the community to be involved in the resort as much as possible: “Turnberry is an integral part of the south Ayrshire economy, and tourism is the leader of the economy. It is a mainstay of Scottish golf tourism.”


Revealed: How Dubai Got Turnberry CLICK HERE

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