I first visited The Roxburghe Hotel & Golf Course in Kelso, Scotland around five years ago, when it was still owned by the Duke of Roxburghe. He sold it in 2018 to the German developer 12.18 Investment Management and it reopened this year following a £30m redevelopment, rebranded as SCHLOSS Roxburghe Hotel & Golf Course.
On our first visit, the historic property was clearly in need of a cash injection and some TLC to bring it kicking and screaming into modern times, and that's certainly what the 12.18 group has achieved. The entire hotel has had a complete refurbishment and the results are pretty impressive.
Activities on offer are reflective of olde world Scottish sports - think shooting, fishing, hunting, and of course, golf.
Each of the 20 rooms falls into five distinct categories: Suite, Duplex Suite, Junior Suite, Deluxe Room, and Superior Room. German interior design firm Kitzig Interior Design developed the design concept, which was inspired by the unique location, the surrounding landscape and nature.
The interiors are a combination of Scottish patterns and colours, with rustic materials such as oak wood, natural stone and linen. Kitzig have successfully managed to balance tradition with contemporary design and have kept many of the original features including the fireplaces (a necessity during the cold Scottish winters) and stucco embellishments on the ceilings and walls.
The hotel is home to a variety of food and drink options including the 1745 Bar, Sunlaws (the fine dining restaurant), the State Room Lounge, and the Drawing Room, which is ideal for a relaxed afternoon tea.
Chef Borja completed a three-year apprenticeship at the Bourgogne, a one star Michelin restaurant in his home town Troyes in Champagne, and he then continued his training in Paris for 18 years. He started as a kitchen assistant, working his way to the position of Executive Sous-Chef in the most renowned two and three Michelin star Restaurants, including Lucas-Carton and the prestigious Hotel de Crillon.
During his military service at 23 years old, he was deployed to serve President Jacques Chirac at de l’Elysée in 1996.
In 2006 he moved from Paris to Mexico City, where he was employed as Executive Sous-Chef for InterContinental Hotels. In 2008, he made the leap across the ocean to settle in the Scottish Borders.
The new culinary team is very international with staff from all corners of the world. They are devoted to sustainability and the environment, with a focus on sourcing sustainably sourced and locally sourced ‘Estate-to-Plate’ food where possible, with the chefs actively foraging the grounds of the estate for as much produce as possible. They then bring it to life with culinary delights inspired by a passion for Scotland’s abundance of fresh produce, meat, fish and game. Additionally, they strive to source produce from in and around the local area, working with local suppliers to support local businesses, whether it be a local supplier of tomatoes, potatoes, meat, fish or jam, making the best use of Scotland's natural produce. The game is sourced from the estate and to take the concept to the next level, the staff can provide guests with the full experience of ‘estate to plate’ where a guest can see the journey from the hunt, through to the kitchen and finally to the table.
Guests have a wealth of activities to choose from including use of a championship golf course and a comprehensive range of sporting pursuits from clay pigeon shooting to tomahawk throwing and fly fishing.
The Local Area
The hotel is located next to the town of Kelso, deep in the heart of the Scottish Borders. The landscape is always stunning come rain, hail or sunshine. If you love nature and wildlife, then this is the place for you.
Travelling further afield
I would recommend travelling to the town of Hawick, which is approximately a half an hour drive from the hotel. Here you will find everything that this region is famous for: cashmere, tweed, and of course, whisky! Hawick has a rich manufacturing heritage and an international reputation for producing quality goods. The main activity takes place within the four bridges of Hawick, where you will find a collection of weavers, knitters and distilleries, all of which produce premium Scottish products. And if you are missing city life, head to Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh, which has a fabulous culinary offering, an edgy art scene and culture in abundance.
This is the first project for 12.18 in the UK and we hope it is a success, as they have injected a tremendous amount of cash to bring it up to scratch. We can't wait for the addition of the spa, which will be a huge draw for guests.
For more information and to book, visit https://schlosshotel-roxburghe.com/.
I was upgraded to a suite, which had one of the best en-suites I've ever seen in a hotel.
That we had to leave! We also wished the spa would have been open during our stay - another reason to return!
Most suited for
*During my visit I was hosted by the lovely team at SCHLOSS Roxburghe Hotel & Golf Course. All opinions are my own. Photos courtesy of SCHLOSS Roxburghe Hotel & Golf Course.
Our experience overall
The property: ★★★★
Food & drink: ★★★★
Staff friendliness/attentiveness: ★★★.5