Licence to cheer for Kildonan House

Work to refurbish the splendid Kildonan House near Barrhill has taken another major step towards completion with the opening of its fully licensed bar.

The pub side is the latest addition to the facilities at Kildonan, following the opening last month of the tearoom/restaurant and, earlier this year, of the Shimla Cuisine Indian restaurant. The Shimla had been operating on a “bring your own” basis until the bar opened last Friday.

A number of guest suites are also ready and paying residents have been accommodated at the magnificent estate house. The leisure facilities for residents include a spa centre with sauna and swimming pool and squash court.

The chapel is still to be restored but it is hoped that weddings will be a feature at the mansion once it is finished.

The catering facilities have been drawing very favourable reviews from a growing list of regular customers. The Shimla restaurant has already established itself as a popular venue for aficionados of Indian cuisine, with takeaways also doing a brisk trade.

Now the restaurant is offering a terrific incentive for customers with its innovative “pick up and drop off” service. Undet the scheme, staff will be happy to collect customers from their homes, take them to Kildonan and drive them back at the end of their visit. The scheme operates across a wide area, including Glentrool, Bargrennan, Barrhill, Colmonell, Ballantrae and Girvan.

The tearoom has been proving a hot-ticket destination for lunches, snacks and afternoon teas, and should attract more customers still now that the bar can provide a wide range of beverages.

Kildonan is a magnificent mansion house that was originally built between 1910 and 1923 for a Captain Euan Wallace, who had inherited the estate. It was described at South Ayrshire Licensing Board’s meeting to grant its licence as a “bit of a Downton Abbey in its heyday”. Since the death of Captain Wallace in 1941, the house has had a number of incarnations, including being used as a convent for the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny until 1978.