New chapter for historic Dalmahoy Hotel
Dalmahoy Hotel & Country Club appoints new general manager – who will oversee property’s reopening.
February 2021. Dalmahoy Hotel & Country Club has appointed one of Scotland’s foremost hospitality professionals, Murray Thomson, as its new general manager.
With 30 years of hospitality experience, Thomson has worked with some of Scotland’s top hotels including The Balmoral in Edinburgh and most recently Blythswood Square in Glasgow.
The appointment of such a hospitality heavyweight helps fly the flag for Scottish hospitality at a time of intense pressure for the entire sector. Dalmahoy, an independently-branded resort – which is currently closed to all guests with the exception of its golf members – will start to make preparations for reopening as soon as the Scottish Government gives it the green light to do so.
Thomson will be responsible for the daily operations and strategic direction of the 208 room and seven suite resort offering alongside its fine dining venue, Pentland Restaurant, The Brasserie & James Braid Bar, afternoon tea lounge and Golf and Leisure Club. His main priority will be steering the resort through Scotland’s road to reopening and continuing to ensure a safe environment for his team and guests.
Thomson – who started out as a linen porter in Edinburgh almost three decades ago – has spent his career working his way up through the ranks in operations, sales and marketing and latterly management for some of Scotland’s best-loved hotels – Glasgow’s Grand Central and Cameron House on the banks of Loch Lomond amongst them.
He belongs to an esteemed cohort of career hoteliers improving and impacting the sector; as the chair of HIT Scotland’s annual industry dinner and having recently been joint-chair of the Greater Glasgow Hoteliers Association.
“It’s an absolute privilege to be taking the helm of this flagship Scottish hotel at such a defining point in our collective history”, explained Thomson. “We have a great team here at Dalmahoy so the immediate focus will be on reopening our doors and welcoming guests back in the hopefully not-too-distant future. I then hope to embark on a journey that will set the hotel up for more positive times to come.”
Whilst some might balk at the thought of starting such a job in the middle of a global pandemic, Thomson is remaining optimistic about the challenge ahead. “Although it’s an incredibly tough road ahead for our entire sector and for every brilliant individual that is part of hospitality in Scotland, the reason we exist is to help create joy and memories in people’s lives. We haven’t been able to do that in the same way as we did before, however we will go out of our way to create good times ahead, of course within the parameters set out to us. I spend most of my day with people creating happiness both for guests and my team and this is even more important in the times we currently find ourselves in.”
Thomson continued: “I spent my childhood just down the road from Dalmahoy in Mid Calder so I grew up with this hotel on my doorstep. My wife and I were members of the Leisure Club when we were newly married and I’ve been to weddings and Hogmanay celebrations at the hotel so it’s a destination I’m familiar with as a guest – I’m looking forward to getting to know the resort as its general manager.”
Thomson takes on the reigns from Alistair Kinchin who has retired after 18 years at the helm. Kinchin said: “Passing the baton to someone of Murray’s calibre and standing in our sector is a real triumph – his vision and style will continue to help cement our reputation as one of Scotland’s leading leisure and golf resorts. I have no doubt he will be able to confidently steer the business through one of the most challenging times the hospitality sector has ever seen.”
The Scottish Government is due to announce a strategic framework on 23rd February 2021, which will pave the way for Scotland’s emergence from its current national lockdown. The hotel, which is set in 1,000 acres of countryside yet only seven miles from Edinburgh city centre, has remained closed – with the exception of its two golf courses – since coronavirus lockdown restrictions were introduced at the end of December 2020. It will reopen with comprehensive safety measures again in place to allow guests a comfortable and relaxing stay once the Scottish Government announces it is safe to do so.