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The McMillan Family Story
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The McMillan Family Story

Read the history behind our family-friendly, family-run hotels ...

The philosophy of the McMillan family has always been to offer guests of all ages a warm welcome, value for money, and quality of service.

The hotel group's rich history is just one of the elements making our properties so special - each with its own unique facilities and services which all combine to ensure that our hotels are the most family-friendly in Scotland.

The story of the McMillan family's involvement in hotels began in 1961, when Hammy McMillan, at that time running a building business in Canada, noticed that the North West Castle in Stranraer was for sale. Built by Artic Explorer Sir John Ross, the house was well known to Hammy, who hails from Stranraer. He realised the potential the house would have as a hotel.

North West Castle Hotel opened for business in 1962 with 12 bedrooms, and was an immediate success. Hammy, a keen curler, saw a requirement for a curling rink in the area, as curlers had to travel to Ayr, a round trip of 100 miles. In 1970 the North West Castle became the first hotel in the world with an indoor curling rink. The hotel today has 73 bedrooms, and has added a leisure centre with swimming pool.

The next stroke of genius came in 1981, when Hammy bought the Cally Palace in Gatehouse of Fleet. He restored the hotel, and created an exclusive guests only 18 hole golf course in the magnificent grounds. An indoor swimming pool and conservatory were added to the attractions, and the hotel now attracts guests from far and wide.

The McMillan Family purchased Glenapp Castle in 1994, by which time it had, sadly, fallen into poor state of repair.  A lengthy restoration ensued and the castle was restored and refurbished and opened for business in 2000, now a luxury 5 star Scottish castle hotel with an outstanding reputation and multi award winning restaurant including 4 AA Rosettes and a Michelin Star

The hotels have become famous for the warmth of their welcome, and Fernhill Hotel in Portpatrick acquired by the family in December 1998 is no exception. The rooms and the grounds have been upgraded with the personal care and attention that are synonymous with McMillan Hotels.

In November 2004 the group expanded outside its heartland of south west Scotland when it acquired the Peebles Hydro Hotel and its sister hotel, the Park Hotel, in the popular Borders town. The 132 bedroom Hydro is one of Scotland’s largest and grandest family-owned hotels. First opened in 1881, it was destroyed by a fire in 1905 and re-opened in 1907.

Having celebrated 50 years in business in 2012, McMillan Hotels reached a key milestone in the restructuring and refocusing of the business. The company had been planning the restructure for two years with the aim of concentrating senior management and resources on its core properties in the heartland of South West Scotland.

To that end, the company formally agreed terms for the sale of its two properties in the Scottish Borders, Peebles Hydro and the Park Hotel to Crieff Hydro.  At the same time McMillan Hotels also ended its 20 year association with Kirroughtree House, which had previously been sold in 2012 and leased back until 31st January 2014.

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© Copyright 2012 McMillan Hotels Group - Company Registration Number: 73544
Head Office: North West Castle, Stranraer, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.