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Elgin's Eight Acres Hotel reopens pool, as new general manager Wimpie Blatt shares grand plans


By Lewis McBlane

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ELGIN'S Eight Acres Hotel has reopened its pool after a three year wait.

Lisa Clarkson, gym manager, in the newly reopened swimming pool at the Eight Acres Hotel in Elgin...Picture: Beth Taylor.
Lisa Clarkson, gym manager, in the newly reopened swimming pool at the Eight Acres Hotel in Elgin...Picture: Beth Taylor.

The hotly-awaited pool reopening accompanies a host of other renovations to the hotel, including a redeveloped health club with new equipment.

Health club manager Lisa Clarkson said she is looking forward to welcoming the community back.

She said: "We are very excited for the future.

"It's lovely to see people being coming together after Covid, really lovely to see.

"A huge amount of work has gone into the health club.

"We have filled it with mostly all new equipment and redeveloped the interior.

"We already have about 450 members and there are lots of people waiting to join."

The health club now includes strength and conditioning equipment, cardio machines, the reopened pool, men's and women's saunas, spa treatment rooms and even a cafe.

The Eight Acres relaunched in June after a hiatus owing to a 2020 change in ownership.

New general manager Wimpie Blatt took over in September this year, and has grand plans for the well known establishment.

Future plans include community celebration events, live music, work on outdoor spaces, whisky flights and even a dog exercise area.

However, Mr Blatt said the most important element of success is ensuring the trust of the local community.

He said: "It is super exciting to be in this role.

"Especially with the history of this particular hotel – it is amazing speaking to locals and hearing their memories within the building.

"Everybody got married here or has been to a party here some time, so there so many memories for people here.

"For us to be a part of it and bring the building back to the local community is phenomenal and I am really looking forward to it.

"I met a couple who got married here 20 years ago and they are actually staying here tonight.

"I invited them for a free night to just come and renew their vows and see what we have done since then."

Key to ensuring the trust of the community, Mr Blatt said, is improving the hotel's services and making them available to the people from Elgin.

The best example of this, he said, was the newly-improved leisure facilities.

From left: Rhys Blackwell, Lisa Clarkson, Wimpie Blatt and Luke Clarkson in the gym at the Eight Acres Hotel in Elgin...Picture: Beth Taylor.
From left: Rhys Blackwell, Lisa Clarkson, Wimpie Blatt and Luke Clarkson in the gym at the Eight Acres Hotel in Elgin...Picture: Beth Taylor.

Mr Blatt said: "Since the launch, we have spent a healthy amount of money to ensure that our health club is at the best of its ratings to provide for the locals.

"The rooms will always have transient people who are travelling for business and the restaurant will always have diners.

"But I think the leisure facilities are something we really give back to the community.

"For me, now, the question is longevity.
"If you look at the infrastructure immediately around us, there are a lot of retired people in our area and it is really easy for them to even walk down to us.

"So we must have a close relationship with our immediate neighbours and from an investment perspective too, the leisure centre has been a god send to us."

The staff at the Eight Acres also received a special thank you from Mr Blatt.

He praised the commitment and loyalty of his staff, many of whom are connected to the hotel over several generation.

He said: "It is always about thanking my team.

"I have been in the industry for over 25 years and I never achieve without a strong team supporting me through it.

"My team has followed me blindly with all my silly ideas, and they kind of brush them off and say: 'Okay, we will just kind of see where the madness leads us now.'

"I really cannot complain, I have a stunning, stunning team.

"They have been through thick and thin, they have been through highs and lows."

The focus for Mr Blatt for the rest of 2022 does not just involve work within the hotel bounds.

He emphasised the importance of the establishment reaching out and engaging with the local community.

Mr Blatt said: "I would like to thank the entire Elgin community, who have patiently been going through the waves of this building.

"We really want to make sure we can work with local charities too and be involved.

"I have always said that I have people working for me, we have food, beverages, we can always help anywhere with something.

"For me it isn't about making money indoors, it is about being out there in support.

"So just watch this space, 2022 is going to be a fantastic year for us.

"A bit of creativity with the resources we have can do amazing things."


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