Edinburgh graduates and siblings Steven and Lisa Campbell have combined forces to restore a Jacobean mansion and transform it into a hotel, restaurant and spa.
Business studies and accounting graduate Steven Campbell harboured ambitions of running his own business, but the inner entrepreneur took a back seat to more practical considerations when, on leaving school, he decided to train as an accountant.
The University of Edinburgh's business studies and accounting course really appealed to me because it had a focus on business but still enabled me to achieve my accreditations for ICAS (Institute of Chartered Accountants Scotland).
After graduating, Steven joined PwC in their Edinburgh office and participated in the ICAS graduate training scheme, qualifying in 2011. Swapping Scotland’s beautiful and historic capital for the beaches and mangroves of Providenciales, he then took up a position as an auditor in the PwC office in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
This tropical experience might have included weekend walks along Grace Bay Beach and 30 degree heat, but it also sowed the seeds of an idea that was realised on his return to Scotland. After working extensively with the tourism industry in the Turks and Caicos Islands it occurred to Steven that the developments and opportunities being realised on the islands had no equivalent in his home town of Stirling.
I noticed that there was a real lack of high quality hotel and self-catering accommodation in Stirling given its historical significance, great tourist attractions and central location within Scotland to explore.
2009 business studies graduate Lisa Campbell was already working for the family property and construction business when Steven returned to Scotland to become part of the team. Keen to develop the Stirling tourism idea further, Steven and Lisa started to look for a suitable property that could be transformed into a
luxury, traditional styled venue which still provided all the facilities of a 21st century boutique hotel.
From the first time that they saw Inglewood House, a category A-listed Jacobean mansion, they knew they had found the perfect location. Located in in Alloa, 7 miles east of Stirling, the House was designed and built for Alexander Forrester-Paton, part of the Paton wool-spinning dynasty, and first opened its doors in 1901.
Gifted to the Church of Scotland in 1948 and having been used as a retirement home and more recently a business and conference centre; Inglewood required significant restoration and renovation.
The biggest challenge so far was the renovation of the original conservatory which had fallen into a state of ruin. It has cost over £50,000 to repair but it is now one of the standout features of the building.
The revitalised Inglewood House opened in September 2015 and, after a rush of Christmas and wedding bookings, Steven and Lisa are already planning further developments including the addition of log cabins to the grounds in 2016.
Inglewood House might be a fairy tale venue but its transformation is a result of less romantic considerations including research, planning and forecasting - all skills that Steven and Lisa developed as part of their degree programmes at Edinburgh and which will continue to inform their thinking as they consider the next opportunity.