Scottish boutique hotel heavyweight, Inverlochy Castle Management International, has been asked to transform the fortunes of the London-to-Scotland Caledonian Sleeper train service.
The long distance train service, affectionately known as the Deerstalker Express because of its clientele that use it to escape London for their estates north of the border, will be refurbished with a boutique hotel style in order to make it more appealing to a more contemporary customer.
Serco Group Plc, which is taking over the franchise in a 15 year deal, hopes that the makeover, which will also include new dining options overseen by Michelin-starred chef Albert Roux, will transform the loss-making service.
“The sleeper is already a wonderful service which with a bit of loving care, investment and innovation can gain market share from the car, airlines and daytime rail,” said Serco chief executive officer Rupert Soames in an interview reported on Bloomberg.
Serco’s vision is for a fleet of 72 refurbished carriages that will include compartments with showers, a stylish brasserie and pod-style beds familiar to business class travellers on airlines. The revamp is expected to cost £100 million.
ICMI will be responsible for the interior design of the carriages.
The hotel management company runs properties including The Atholl in Edinburgh, Cromlix in Perthshire and Inverlochy Castle in Fort William.
The designs will draw inspiration from Scottish heritage, Serco says.