The history of Dunblane Hydro
Delve into over a century of history at DoubleTree by Hilton Dunblane Hydro. This is one of Scotland’s most iconic and well-loved hotels. This is our history.
The early years
The Dunblane Hydropathic Establishment (as we were once known) first opened with a grand ball in 1878. Designed by renowned Scottish architects Peddie and Kinnear, the hotel was originally a Victorian health spa resort. The Hydro, as it was then known, welcomed guests who came to drink the local spring water and enjoy a range of hydropathic treatments.
At the turn of the 20th century, popularity for Dunblane Hydro continued, but for different reasons. Guests came to experience the beautiful countryside, fresh air, and outdoor activities. Scotland’s finest entertainers and musicians would host grand balls.
The World Wars
Dunblane Hydro was requisitioned by the War Office during the First World War for use as a military hospital – The Stuart Lounge being its largest ward. During the Second World War, the hotel housed an evacuated girls’ boarding school and was later a base for convalescing soldiers on leave from the trenches. In May 1946, our grand re-opening as a hotel was dealt a blow as a fire broke out causing extensive damage to the hotel’s north wing. Local firefighters and a group of Polish soldiers, who were stationed nearby, came to save the day. The hotel was re-opened a week later but the north wing was out of commission for some time.
Reo Stakis and Jim Macleod
In 1962, Sir Reo Stakis struck a deal to buy Dunblane Hydro – not in the boardroom but on a lay-by of the Glasgow-Ayr road. Within six weeks of purchasing the hotel, he had turned a loss into profit. Stakis invested over £70,000 on refurbishments and began a relationship with singer Jim MacLeod that would be pivotal in the success of The Hydro over the next 40 years.
Welcome to DoubleTree
In 2008, following a period of several owners – including the Hilton Group – the hotel was purchased by the Ability Group and in 2009 officially launched as a DoubleTree by Hilton hotel.
Our Perthshire hotel was transformed with a stunning £12 million refurbishment. Award-winning celebrity chef Nick Nairn was invited to launch his flagship restaurant at the hotel, The Kailyard by Nick Nairn, featuring his inspirational Scottish menus.
DoubleTree by Hilton Dunblane Hydro is a member of Historic Hotels Worldwide®, which is dedicated to promoting heritage and cultural travel to prestigious historic treasures.