Joe and Sarah Jouhal – owners of The Cross since 18th October 2021
Like the slightly meandering Gynack Burn, which runs through the property, we (Joe and Sarah) have enjoyed over 35 happy years wandering the globe together, before having the privilege of running The Cross. Many years ago, Joe worked in Leeds as a chef in a Greek restaurant. Prior to having twins, Sarah studied Hotel Management at the Institut Vatel in Bordeaux and in contrast, both of us have worked for many years in Financial Services. This often required us to travel far and wide and to eat in high quality restaurants and stay in lovely hotels.
Our favourite memories are of sharing fabulous food and wine, with friends and family. Visiting San Francisco in the 1990’s we came across a tiny restaurant called ‘Pairs’ where the wine was specifically paired with the food and we fell in love with Cakebread wine paired with Tilapia fish. On regular trips to France from Sarah’s native home of Jersey in the Channel Islands, we have enjoyed many excellent meals, usually the best were in tiny villages, away from the tourist traps and offering the very best fresh ingredients from the surrounding area, simply prepared in the local style.
Now that the children are pursuing their own dreams, we felt it was our opportunity to buy a place akin to the best hotels and restaurants we have enjoyed over the years. Somewhere that people feel they are coming to meet us as friends, where relaxing starts the minute you turn into the driveway. We think we have found the right place with The Cross. ‘It’s a magical place’ one of our guests told us, during our first two weeks of taking ownership of this Highland ‘Restaurant with rooms.’ We have to agree. Safely ensconced in The Cairngorms National Park, tucked up the hill from the centre of Kingussie and only a few minutes off the A9, the location is accessible and yet completely set apart from the daily hustle and bustle of life. The Gynack Burn runs through the gardens, rushing after rain and calm when the sun is shining and the red squirrels come down to visit our peanut feeders.
About ‘The Cross’
The Cross was originally a Tweed Mill powered by the Burn, in the late 1800s. Water from the Burn was used at the Kingussie railway station, which opened in 1863, to cool the steam engines after their climb over the Pass of Drumochter, which links the Northern and Southern Highlands. After the mill closed, the dam in front of the building was a popular swimming spot with the local children, until it was pulled down for the fish to be able to swim upstream.
The majority of the building was added to the original mill in the 1990s and has been refurbished several times over the years. We would like to make the property more sustainable and are thinking of ways we can make the hotel more environmentally friendly. This will be a long-term project and one that we are both passionate to see come to fruition.
The tranquillity is generally just broken by the gentle sound of the burn and birdlife leading you to believe you’re far more than just a few minutes from the Perth to Inverness A9 road. This certainly makes The Cross an ideal place to enjoy the area or stay en route to other beautiful parts of Scotland.