The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 3 August 2012

South Ayrshire Council makes way for Belleisle House to become a luxury hotel and spa

A new luxury hotel and spa is on the cards for the seaside town of Ayr following the handover this week of Belleisle House in Ayr from South Ayrshire Council to John and Senga Campbell, owners of the Dumfries Arms Hotel and Railway Hotel.


[Marking the start of a new era at Belleisle are (left to right): Louis MacCallum; Ayr West Councillor Kirsty Darwent; Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and the Environment, Councillor John McDowall; Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure, Councillor Bill Grant; John Campbell; Senga Campbell; Ayr West Councillor Allan Dorans; Jim McQuillan, South Ayrshire Council’s Head of Property & Neighbourhood Services.]

Belleisle’s stunning 18th century mansion house, which has been in Council ownership for more than 85 years, is set within acres of beautiful parklands and adjoining golf course. It will now undergo major investment with restorative and development work to create one of Scotland’s top luxury hotels – the new Belleisle Mansion Hotel & Spa.

Featuring 70 guest suites, the new hotel – subject to the relevant planning permissions – will have its own spa and 20 metre indoor swimming pool as well as a ballroom with capacity for up to 400 guests.

The first phase of the extensive development work being taken forward by the Campbells will focus on the renovation of the original main building to create a new reception and lounge, two new restaurants and bar, 15 guest suites (including a penthouse bridal suite) and the new state-of the art spa. These facilities, which can be complemented by the use of a marquee, are expected to be open to the public by summer 2014.

John Campbell said: “This is a fantastic opportunity and a landmark moment not just for us as business owners, but for Ayr and Ayrshire as a whole. I am committed to developing a high-quality hotel and spa that will attract both domestic and overseas visitors and breathe new life into this magnificent building and make the most of the fantastic setting.”

Alongside this, the Council is currently working with local community groups on a bid for lottery monies to fund a range of improvements that will enhance the estate and complement the transformation of Belleisle House, including footpath works, landscaping, play equipment and signage.

Councillor Robin Reid, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Resources, said: “I am delighted that, following negotiations, a positive future for Belleisle House is once again on the cards. The plans to restore and develop the facility as a major venue are very exciting and offer a fantastic outcome for both local communities as well as visitors to this wonderful part of the world. It’s the start of the next era for the wider Belleisle estate and I look forward to seeing the end result.”

Councillor Bill Grant, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure, added: “We are committed to the regeneration of Belleisle Estate and the transfer of ownership of Belleisle House is the start of that journey. Belleisle is already one of the most popular attractions in South Ayrshire, but we want it to be so much more and we have ambitious plans to make it one of the best parks in the country with enhanced facilities and ‘Green Flag’ status. I have no doubt we can achieve this with continued effort and positive partnership working.”

The current gatehouse at Belleisle will be refurbished later this year and will become the marketing suite for the new hotel, which will be managed by Louis MacCallum. Louis said: “We’re already receiving enquiries about weddings and events, so it’s clear Belleisle Mansion Hotel & Spa is going to become a real destination of choice.”

Belleisle Estate is located in the southwest of the town of Ayr and is owned and managed by South Ayrshire Council. The main features of the estate are mixed mature woodland, parkland, deer park, formal walled garden with pond and landscaped rockery, stable block, play area and lawns.
 
The park and associated house and grounds date back to 1774 and came into public ownership in 1926 when Ayr Burgh Council purchased it to “provide special outdoor amenity space for all sections of the community”.

The estate has, from its inception, been popular with residents and visitors alike, providing a strong public heritage and space for recreational activities to both the local and regional community. The value of this park is enhanced by the parks proximity to its sister park Rozelle which complements Belleisle’s historic, landscape and ecological appeal to residents and visitors alike.

It’s home to Belleisle House; the park conservatory, which is leased to the Belleisle Conservatory Group; and two 18 hole golf courses – Belleisle and Seafield, which are owned and run by South Ayrshire Council.

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

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