The Old Millhouse Sees Bookings Triple
An 18th century former miller’s house on the banks of the River Esk, which has been renovated into a luxury 5 Star VisitScotland spa retreat, The Old Millhouse, has seen bookings triple as demand for staycations hits an all-time high.
The Old Millhouse
Situated eight miles from Edinburgh in Dalkeith and surrounded by four acres of ancient woodlands, the stunning retreat, was formerly known as Newmills House and dates back to 1703, when it originally formed part of a large complex of commercial properties servicing a flour mill further down the river. It was built over two levels until 1852 when another level was added and it became a residential property.
Owners Terry Walker and wife Sally de Waard, an interior designer, originally from East Lothian, bought the house in 2012, which had lay empty for six years, and embarked on a two-year restoration project to transform it into a luxury, country holiday hideaway, which sleeps 10, featuring five bedrooms and bathrooms, a Hydro Pool Swim Spa and an orangery extension.
Staycation Demand Soars
Thanks to support over the years from various organisations including Business Gateway Midlothian, including start up and growth support, network building and digital and marketing consultancy, the couple have enjoyed steady growth, however since lockdown restrictions were lifted on self-catering homes on the 10th July, enquiries and bookings have tripled.
These include everything from family getaways and weddings in 2020 to film company location bookings and a two-week exclusive use takeover by The Yoga Wellness Company for their first Scottish retreat.
Sally said: “The last three months have really given us the opportunity to asses our business model and although we’ve been really busy with enquiries and bookings, especially since the lockdown restrictions were lifted, it has given us the chance to review the way we run the business, especially in terms of wedding attendee numbers and our overall offering.
“We have a unique property, steeped in history and designed to a very high spec with influences from around the world, which we will continue to take group bookings for however we’ll also be moving into even more partnerships with businesses like The Yoga Wellness Company to take over the property for a longer period of time.
“Thanks to the continued support we’ve had from Business Gateway Midlothian, from our adviser and all of the experts we’ve been given access to who have helped us through many steep learning curves and given us the guidance and confidence to keep going in the right direction, which has played a major part in our success and are very grateful for.”
Business Innovation and Resilience
Neil Christison, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “Covid19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the tourism and events industry. The Old Millhouse has shown great innovation and resilience in how it has adapted to the situation, which is great news for The Old Millhouse and for tourism across the region to see these first green shoots of recovery.
“VisitScotland remains focussed on helping the industry to recover across Scotland. Tourism is a force for good and has a part to play in not just providing jobs and economic benefits to every corner of Scotland but also bringing benefits to wellbeing and enhancing lives.”
Business Gateway Midlothian Support
Ann Marie Macaskill, Head of Business Gateway Midlothian, said: “The Old Millhouse, set in impressive, idyllic surroundings is a fantastic addition to our tourism offer in the area, which we are delighted to have been able to support.
“It is fantastic to see the owners, Sally and Terry, diversify to new markets and audiences which will transform the business and help put Midlothian on the map as a great place to visit.”
The Old Millhouse has also been awarded the Scottish Thistle Best Self-Catering Experience.
Business Gateway Midlothian provides expert support and guidance to new and existing businesses, including free advice from experienced business advisers to help start-ups and growth businesses planning to expand or find new ways of doing business. Discover how we’ve helped The Old Millhouse in our case study.