Many will mourn the closure of Ardoe House Hotel, which for decades has been one of the best-loved hotels in the north-east.
Countless couples have celebrated their weddings within its elegant walls, many glittering balls and award ceremonies have been hosted in its ballrooms, while high-profile, powerhouse conferences have been staged in the baronial hotel by the banks of the Dee.
But the origins of Ardoe House go back well before its conversion to a hotel in 1947. The estate it was built on was gifted to Arbroath Abbey by Alexander II in 1244.
One of the most notable owners of the estate was the Rev. William Guild, who bought Ardoe in 1631. Born in Aberdeen, he was chaplain to King Charles I, and Aberdeen’s Guild Street is named after him.
In 1839, the estate was bought by Aberdeen soap merchant Alexander Ogston, known as “Soapy Ogston”. It was his son, Alexander, who built Ardoe House in 1878. The late Diana, Princess of Wales, is claimed to be descended from a branch of the Ogston Family.
Ardoe House was designed by famed architect James Mathews, who took inspiration from the royal residence of Balmoral. It remained a family home until 1947 when it was converted to a hotel.
As befits any stately home, Ardoe House Hotel is reputed to be haunted. A ghost, known as the White Lady, is said to linger by a painting of the previous owner’s wife, Katherine Ogston.
A different sort of spirit entered Ardoe after it became a hotel, as it built its reputation as an outstanding visitor attraction. It was not only an excellent place for visitors to stay, but also as popular place for fine dining, as well as a hugely-popular wedding venue, with its fairytale castle backdrop.
As a conference centre and spot to hold parties, ceremonies and balls, it has hosted and entertained royalty, high-profile politicians, sports stars as well as ordinary people who will remember the extraordinary nights they enjoyed there.