The Journal

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Celebrating 40 years of Doing Things Differently at Skene House Aberdeen

 

2019 is a special year, as we celebrate a BIG anniversary at Skene House, Aberdeen. And what a journey it’s been.

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Our founder, Charles Skene CBE

Over four decades ago Charles Skene CBE saw the city of Aberdeen changing before his eyes, as hundreds of families relocated to the region, thanks to the oil rush off the coast of the Granite City. It was a huge buzz for Aberdeen, but when families and couples moved to the city they were initially put up in hotels.

Mr Skene witnessed children attempting to play in hotel corridors, families with nowhere to cook, dining on rich hotel meals every evening, and with no space to relax once the kids were asleep. Even those relocating without children, often found the novelty of a hotel room wore off relatively quickly. People needed more space! Charles Skene realised that the traditional ‘one size fits all’ hotel room simply didn’t deliver, so he decided to follow his own path.

Charles Skene saw an opportunity for an alternative to standard hotel accommodation. Believing that an entrepreneur is a ‘dreamer who does’, he negotiated a deal and, sealed with a handshake over dinner one night, purchased a property portfolio of 400 traditional Victorian and Edwardian flats. The rest, as they say, is history.

Mr Skene swiftly opened four properties across Aberdeen. The first Skene House opened in Torry in 1979, it was then followed by Skene House Rosemount (opened in 1986), Skene House Holburn (opened in 1997) and Skene House Whitehall (opened in 2001). They were the very first of their kind in the UK – serviced one, two or three bedroom apartments available on a nightly rate. Yes, serviced apartments operated in London, but not by the night. This was revolutionary, and visitors to Aberdeen finally found a place they could call home for one night, one week, one month or a year.

Skene House offered the flexibility of a hotel, with the luxury of your own bedroom, a living room with space to relax and room for children to play, and a fully-furnished dining kitchen allowing guests to prepare healthy, economical dishes with a taste of home. Skene House allowed, and still allows, guests to be themselves. And they were stylish too. Charles Skene always had a passion for interior design so he engaged the most respected designers across the UK to transform his properties, working with David Hicks in the 1970s and Jimmy Thomson of A F Drysdale in Edinburgh in the 1980s.

Internationally renowned interior designers reimagined each of Skene House Holburn‘s buildings. We’re talking Jimmy Thomson, Monica Apponyi, Lyn Hunt, Stephen Ryan, Mary Fox Linton and Sylvia Lawson Johnston. Staying at Skene House perhaps felt like coming home, yet it was completely on trend and cutting edge.

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Skene House – still a family business. Charles and his three children, Richard, Pamela and Jennifer, all with active, key roles in the modern Skene Group.

Forty years on Skene House still prides itself on being a stylish yet family-orientated business. It’s still owned and run by Charles Skene, his children and a team of hospitality professionals, from the General Manager, Melissa Gilchrist, to the Housekeeping team, who have been with the company for many years. Charles Skene, the Chairman and founder, aged 83, is at work every day, and it’s likely you’ll even bump into him at reception!

 

Many of our long-serving staff feel like family. This continuity helps us welcome our new and our regular guests. Many frequent guests have a ‘favourite suite’, and we’ll happily store your groceries and favourite condiments, keep your pillows for your next stay, stock your cupboard with the type of tea you like, and buy red, blue or green-capped milk for your visit. Our breakfast room team will get to know how you like your eggs, whether you prefer your bacon crispy and when to keep some blueberries back just in case you’re late down for breakfast. After forty years of excellent service, we realise it’s all in the detail.

Four decades on Skene House is about life, living life, not suspending your existence in a hotel room. We’d love to share our anniversary year with you, and become part of your story. Let’s celebrate.

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Celebrating forty years of Skene House, Aberdeen

Contact us for further information by emailing stay@skene-house.co.uk or calling +44 (0)1224 659392. And look our for special anniversary offers and competitions throughout 2019.

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