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HOTELS Andy Murray’s hotel under fire

Andy Murray’s five-star hotel in Scotland has removed references to hunting from its website aſter pres- sure from animal rights groups. Cromlix – the Murray-owned,

Inverlochy Castle Management International-operated hotel which opened in April – was bought by the tennis star in February 2013. Campaign group People for the

Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) sent a letter to Murray complaining that his hotel promoted hunting as a possible activity for guests. Kirsty Henderson, campaign co-

ordinator for Peta, wrote: “Te idea of hunting cats and dogs, such as your beloved Maggie May and Rusty, would rightly make most of us sick, and yet the animals listed on the Cromlix website, alongside the best times of year to kill them, have exactly the same capacity to feel pain and suffer.” She added: “Will you please extend your

Murray was knocked out of Wimbledon last week

to hunting were removed from the Cromlix website during June and the activity was never offered on the grounds of the hotel. Murray’s is not the only leisure site to incur

compassion to the beautiful and sensitive wild animals who live in the vicinity of the Cromlix Hotel by refusing to promote killing as an activity to guests of your establishment?” A spokesman for Murray’s management company, 77, told local media that references

the wrath of campaign groups. Anna Wintour recently led the fashion industry in a protest against the Dorchester hotel collection over its links to the Sultan of Brunei, who recently ratified Sharia law in his country, making homosexuality punishable by stoning to death. Details:

Soho Ham Yard Hotel offers best of British

Firmdale Hotels has launched its lat- est London site – the Ham Yard Hotel in Soho – with a strong focus centred around high-class British design. The central London property

features 91 individually-designed bedrooms, suites, 24 residential apart- ments, a spa and an original 1950s bowling alley. A product of Firmdale owners Tim and Kit Kemp, the Ham Yard has been created around the prin- ciples of an urban village, while all of the property’s interiors have been formed by Kit, using British designs. The hotel is located on a three-

quarter acre site close to Mayfair and revolves around a pedestrian thor- oughfare connecting Great Windmill Street to Denman Street, opening up the his- toric Ham Yard and Denman Place to the public for the first time since the 1960s. Te hotel houses a restaurant with outside

terrace seating, a bar, rooſtop garden and a library and drawing room with works picked specially by literary expert Philip Blackwell. The Ham Yard will also provide guests with the use of Firmdale’s first Soholistic Spa,

© CYBERTREK 2014 Te Ham Yard Hotel is Firmdale’s eighth property in London

inclusive of four treatment rooms, a steam- room, juice bar and relaxation area, which sits alongside a gym making use of a hypoxic stu- dio to cater for elite altitude training. Private event facilities at the site include

a 188-seat theatre, which is available for hire, as well as The Croc: a private events area housing an original 1950s bowl- ing alley, lounge, bar and a dance floor. Details:

Twitter: @leisureopps

Are we ready to give Chinese travellers a proper welcome?

PETER DUCKER is chief executive of the Institure of Hospitality

operators would agree these changes are long overdue. To date, the UK’s share of high-spending Chinese tourism has been tiny. Te EU welcomed more than one mil- lion Chinese visitors last year compared to just 215,000 who came to the UK. Currently, around 90 per cent of Chinese tour groups omit Britain from their European trips, resulting in £1.2bn of lost revenue each year, according to the UK China Visa Alliance. Making it easier for the Chinese to visit


Britain undoubtedly makes economic sense. Te Chinese will make up 20 per cent of the world’s foreign tourists by 2023, says a report by Amadeus, and the number of Chinese families able to afford overseas holidays will double in the next 10 years. So, what are we doing to make the best

possible impression and ensure they spread the word? Do we provide Chinese signage at Heathrow? I do not recall seeing any. Are there leaflets in Chinese on how to catch a bus or train or explain that they can take the underground into central London? Although China is a vast country, there

are some generalised preferences that hote- liers can bear in mind to keep Chinese guests happy. Language is ranked very highly by Chinese tourists, therefore UK hoteliers might consider employing Mandarin- speaking staff. Hoteliers can also display cultural sensitivity by assigning rooms end- ing with ‘8’ whenever possible (denoting fortune and prosperity) and avoiding room numbers with ‘4’ (associated with death). Anecdotal evidence reveals the Chinese

love the UK’s history, sense of humour and scenery. Tey like the transport but believe it is very expensive; they dislike the weather, but there’s not much we can do about that. Many Chinese do not drink alcohol so having a good range of non-alco- holic beverages is also advisable. Chinese group tours will bring many

opportunities in future, so innovative hote- liers and tour operators will need to do their research and understand the market.

Read Leisure Opportunities online: 13

The recent easing of UK visa restrictions to encourage Chinese visitors is to be welcomed. Most tourism and leisure

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