A brand new events wing, helicopter rides and gundog training. Yep, the Scottish stalwart has group events nailed. We went to Perthshire to see for ourselves
Start the morning
With a gun – or bow – in hand. The Gleneagles Shooting School can make tri-shooting challenges as competitive or casual as your group wants. Fuel your group with hot cocoa and cookies, and watch as they fell clay pigeons and bunnies with shotguns; aim for yellow during outdoor archery; and pick off woodland creature targets with a spot of air-rifling.
The Birnam Brasserie. It feels like France by way of LA, with classic Parisan bistro vibes in the ‘indoor’ half, and Californian conservatory feels in the Winter Garden. Living walls, a fireplace and indoor foliage give a sense of modern hygge in this new wing of the hotel. The menu is a crowd-pleaser too: standouts include Loch Crenan oysters, moules à la Normande and Scottish lobster.
Take in the surroundings
On a scenic safari. We got behind the wheel of our Land Rovers but groups can just as easily be chauffeured over the Perthshire terrain; sometimes at 40-degree angles – yeah, buckle up. We spotted local black-faced sheep, buzzards and grouse (alas, no blue hares or red deer) and learned a lot from our trusty guide. Do you know where the phrase ‘throw the baby out of the bathwater’ comes from? We do. At one of the highest points of our tour we stopped for an impromptu glass of champagne while taking in the picturesque vistas. Groups can opt to be driven back to base but we were surprised with a helicopter for our return trip. If you’ve got a group to impress, this will certainly do it (not to mention the look on other hotel guests’ faces as you land on the new helipad).
Have dinner in
The beautiful new events wing Ochil House. Paying homage to ‘the inventors, dreamers, pioneers and partiers’ the private members club-esque venue blends old-school ephemera with contemporary entertaining: think vintage globes meet a show kitchen. There are four spaces to choose from (the whole place can be hired exclusively) but we dined in The Broadcasting Room. Aptly named – in the hotel’s former life this room was where Scotland’s first ever outside radio transmission was made – this is now where groups of up to 14 can dine surrounded by book-lined walls. We started with champagne and canapés (scallops were cooked in front of us) in the adjoining Pantry, before moving to the dining table where the likes of tweed valley beef, Scottish halibut and cranachan seriously shone.
Enjoy a nightcap in
The American Bar. Behind an inconspicuous door, just yards from Ochil House, this may just be our favourite of the new spaces at Gleneagles. If you like the 1920s aesthetic (as we do) you’ll love the plush purple seating, the umbrella lamp shades, the drinks display columns and the statement, gilded bar. What you’ll love even more though are the cocktails. The eponymous Henry Hall (Eden Mill gin, limoncello, lime, ginger, honey and egg white) pays respect to the hotel’s band leader in the 1930s; the Izzy Bizzy (Mitcher’s rye, pineapple, amontillado and lemon) is a classic of the twenties; and the Poiret (St Germain, pear and lemon) champagne cocktail were our top tipples.
Spend the night in
The luxury suites. There are 27 of them in total, and if you’ve got important guests then these are the bedrooms to choose. I got to test-drive the Tallisker Suite. Pre-prandial champagne was drunk in the roll top bath, while post-prandial shuteye was had in comfort in my stately king-size bed. My favourite room though was the living area. A huge Chesterfield sofa sits in front of a table heaving from coffee-table reads, while model airplanes, historical hunting illustrations and old world bound leather books make it a cosy space for chill time. The whole suite is probably bigger than most Londoners’ flats too, so getting them out of them might be tricky. Views down the driveway make sport of guest-spotting too.
Get up early
For a morning of golf, gundog training and fly fishing. 2019 will mark 100 years of people swinging clubs at balls at Gleneagles, so it’s only right to get your group down to the driving range at the PGA National Golf Academy. For something a little more unexpected, gundog training sees the pros conducting drills with their canines before letting guests pick a dog and try their hand at it (you’ll probably find the dogs to be better behaved than your guests). It was fly fishing that’ll get your group competitive though. Staggered around one of the estate’s peaceful lakes, we each had a go at casting our flies and waiting for the unassuming fish to take the bait. Cheers erupted as each of us landed each catch. And with a side helping of tea and warm sausage rolls, we can’t think of a more fitting way to spend a morning out of the office.
Flights to and from London Heathrow from Terminal 5 take less than 2 hours
Visit https://www.gleneagles.com/meeting-events for more information or enquire using the button below