Golf Inn Finds Fairway To Success With Open Business Boost

by Laura Berry

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

From the pavement at The Golf Inn, GullaneAn East Lothian country hotel and restaurant group is celebrating a bumper boost in revenue thanks to The Open Championship.

Unchained Restaurants, owners of The Golf Inn at Gullane and The Goblin Ha’ in Gifford, said sales surpassed all expectations to top £100,000, providing the business with its best ever week of trading.

Accommodation at both hotels was fully booked for the week – with guests from around the world using the two villages as a base for The Open – while the bar, restaurant and outdoor garden at The Golf Inn in particular enjoyed roaring trade over the evenings of the four day tournament.

Boost for Business

Rob Reeley, who runs Unchained Restaurants with wife Jules, said he hopes the success will provide a boost to the business for many years to come.

He said: “Our bar, restaurant and hotel sales were the best we’ve recorded in a week, so we are very delighted at the additional trade The Open brought to East Lothian.

“For the four days of the championships, we were full every night and it required some excellent team work to ensure everything worked smoothly.  But we’d planned for several months for this event so we were ready to handle everything that was thrown at us.

“We spent £120,000 on refurbishing The Golf Inn to ensure it was ready for The Open – and it was money well spent.

“The reaction and feedback from customers was great – the party atmosphere we had every night was amazing and it was great to have so many people from different parts of the world enjoying true Scottish hospitality.

“We even had former Open Champion Tony Jacklin in the restaurant.

“The superb weather and the stunning TV pictures really showed East Lothian at its finest – and that hopefully can mean we can look forward to plenty of new visitors to East Lothian over the coming months.”

The refit to the Main Street property refreshed the highly popular golf-themed Niblick Bar, modern restaurant, beer garden and a function room that can accommodate 100 guests.  The hotel’s Muirfield Suite, six bedrooms and annexe cottage that provides five further bedrooms were also renovated.

The beer garden, in particular was a major hit, providing guests with al fresco TV viewing, a pop-up bar and a BBQ.

Real Restrictions

Rob added that only downside is that they are still wondering what could have happened if a ban on parking or stopping in Gullane during the tournament had been lifted.

He said: “I do think East Lothian Council carded a double bogey for sure here and next time The Open comes to Muirfield we need to seriously review the parking restrictions.

“I could see merit in having no parking between 8-11am or 5-8pm at the times when spectators would be making their way to and from Muirfield.

“But why have a complete ban? It means that Gullane was effectively a ghost town during the day and the plethora of police cones ensured that visitors could not spend their money in the village and anecdotally, I know that businesses have suffered badly because of this decision with questions being asked about refunds in business rates.

“The Open at Muirfield was a huge success but it was an event that every business in Gullane should have benefitted from. The council should have had given more thought to this and looked to relax the parking restrictions as the week progressed.”

More information about the Golf Inn can be found at

Public relations in Scotland for Unchained Restaurants is handled by the expert PR team at Holyrood PR, providing strategic communication advice and media relations.

Private: Laura Berry

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