Rebranded luxury hotel on the shores of Scotland’s only lake prompts chief executive to come out of retirement
Following purchase by Karma Group last year, Karma Lake of Menteith, the newly renamed Lake of Menteith Hotel near Aberfoyle in the Trossachs, has been launched with exciting plans to collaborate with local tourist attractions and further develop its impressive whiskey cellar.
With over 44 resorts, retreats and estates worldwide, including Bali, Thailand and India, as well as prime locations in Europe and Australia, Karma Group is an award-winning international travel and leisure brand. lifestyle offering extraordinary experiences and exclusive entertainment organized in the most beautiful places in the world.
The luxury brand is the brainchild of British-born entrepreneur, John Spence, who had a vision to create a holistic, connected community of five-star destinations, connecting like-minded people across all continents. Lake Karma of Menteith is the group’s first Scottish acquisition.
Accommodating 48 people, Karma Lake of Menteith has 18 en-suite bedrooms, many with picturesque lake views. As well as a bright conservatory and ‘Malt Vault’ whiskey bar, it offers a 32-seat dining room with a wooden deck overlooking Scotland’s only lake, also known as Loch Inchmahome.
It was this enticing proposition that brought Chris Diplock out of retirement and back into the hospitality world as General Manager of Karma Lake of Menteith. Chris (62), from Sussex, who has held senior retail and hospitality roles around the world, retired to Spain in 2019 but soon realized that retirement was not for him.
And he’s now busy welcoming guests, recruiting new local staff and overseeing the subtle renovations and revamps of key areas of the hotel, including the bar and the Malt Vault, and loves every challenge.
“I am delighted to be here at the truly beautiful Menteith Lake, this resort is a fantastic addition to Karma’s portfolio,” said Chris, who joined Karma in 2007 in Goa, India as Managing Director of a holiday complex of 63 apartments. in North Goa near Baga beach.
He then worked on the Thai island of Koh Samui, Bali, and various European countries and it is this impressive CV that ensures he knows what guests are looking for in a luxury resort.
“Many of our Karma pitches have a calming holistic air to them, and you certainly feel that here – looking out over the lake is really mesmerizing with the rolling hills and mountains of Stirling in the distance,” he said. “It’s so peaceful and tranquil that you can’t help but feel better when you come here, so important to guests after the trials and tribulations of the past two years.
“There is huge potential to grow our offering here at Karma Lake of Menteith in the months ahead. We will add value to the customer experience through our exceptional range of whiskeys – with 17 more bottles just added to the collection – as well as collaborations with other tourist attractions in the region.
Chris revealed that Elizabeth Gilmour, a qualified British Cycling mountain bike leader and cycling coach who lives in the area, has agreed to offer guided bike rides around Loch Ard Forest.
“It’s a great way to appreciate the local scenery, while enjoying an exhilarating bike ride with an expert. It’s that kind of relationship we want to foster in the future,” he said. declared.
With an extensive range of own-brand beers, wines and spirits, available at all Karma resorts and also available for purchase by guests, Chris is reaching out to local artisan suppliers in the area who could supply him with products made with love. .
“We work with vineyards and distilleries across Europe and are always on the lookout for local suppliers, not necessarily just for alcoholic beverages, but for any product that is delicious, sustainable where possible, and reflecting the heritage and local location.
“We have a particular need for our own branded honey which we believe would be a fantastic addition to breakfast and could be retailed to customers here and at our global resorts. We have already had a very positive conversation with the famous local chef Nick Nairn who has his own beehives.
Since arriving at Lake Karma from Menteith, Chris and his team have made a few changes to the look of the hotel, which initially appealed to owner John Spence as it looked like a lakeside retreat. New England lake with lots of local timber. and the stone used in the decor, as well as a huge open fireplace to sit and relax.
“We’ll definitely keep that airy, paired back look because it lets the views do the talking,” Chris said, “but, like with any hospitality business, there’s always maintenance to be done. We’re replacing the hardwood floors, the tables and the chairs in the dining room and refresh the decoration of the common areas. »
A cozy corner in the hotel where guests can enjoy a good drink, Chris explained that he was looking to completely redesign the Malt Vault area, which would soon be unveiled.
“We’re going for a ‘gentleman’s club’ type look with Chesterfield sofas and soft lighting. But we are aware that many women also drink whiskey, so this will be a cozy space to please all.
“I jumped at the chance to join the Karma family and run this amazing place, it’s a real privilege, and I know that I can accomplish a lot, not only in the daily management of the hotel, but passing on my extensive skills and experience working with young people in the hospitality industry as the sector recovers. We must build for the future.
More details about Lake Karma of Menteith can be found HERE.