The owner of artists' retreat Marchmont House Hugo Burge has died aged 51.

A statement from the residence in the Scottish Borders asked for privacy, saying that Mr Burge had died "suddenly". 

Online travel entrepreneur and investor Mr Burge bought Marchmont House in 2007 alongside his father Oliver.

Since 2011, the pair led a restoration of the house and have encouraged the hosting of artists, artisans, and other creators.

Mr Burge was renowned as one of the UK’s highest-profile champions of the Arts and Crafts movement.

READ MORE: Marchmont House silversmithing national workshop launched

In a statement, Marchmont House said: "It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Hugo Burge who died suddenly at home on Wednesday 10 May.

"Hugo’s kindness, intelligence, curiosity and belief in a better world made him an inspiration to us all. He was a beloved son and a great friend. We will miss him terribly.

"His family ask for privacy at this time. Arrangements for a memorial service will be announced in due course."

The Herald:

Hugo Burge

Marchmont House, at Greenlaw, has been a centre for artists and creatives since 1750.

The residence offers retreats and workshops to people working across a broad spectrum of art, crafts and sculpture. 

A pioneer in online travel, Mr Burge spearheaded the growth of the flight search website, Cheapflights, in the UK and the US after first investing in 2000.   

After becoming CEO of the business in 2011, he led the acquisition of the Danish flight’s metasearch platform, Momondo, and expanded the group’s presence to over 35 markets with 270 employees.

In 2017 Mr Bruge managed the successful sale of Momondo Group to Booking Holdings (formerly Priceline) for £440 million.   

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In 2006 he also co-founded HOWZAT Partners, an early-stage investment fund with notable successes including Trivago and Just Spices. 

Describing himself as a ‘recovering CEO’ and with time on his hands, he then focussed his attentions on the Marchmont Estate that his father Oliver Burge had acquired in 1988.   

Together with his father, he undertook a meticulous, 8-year-long restoration of Marchmont House, for which they were awarded the prestigious 2018 Historic Houses Sotheby’s Restoration Award, the Georgian Group 2017 Architectural Award for Best Restoration of a Georgian Interior.   

Specific emphasis was placed on employing local craftspeople from an exceptional pool of talent and filling the house with a superb and eclectic collection of art and antiques. 

The Herald:

Mr Burge re-imagined the Palladian mansion as a ‘home to Makers & Creators’; hosting events and concerts, building studios, and providing workspaces for painters, printmakers, stone-carvers, chair-makers and silversmiths.  

In 2019 he established a new charity, Marchmont Makers Foundation, with the goal of inspiring creativity, funding writers’ and artists’ residencies, supporting nearby schools and charities, and in the process regenerating the local community. 

He was also a Director of Wasps_ Studios – Scotland’s largest provider of art spaces, and a Patron of the Borders Art Fair. 

He is survived by his father Oliver.

Sarah Hanan, chief commercial officer at DoHop, had previously worked with Burge at Momondo Group.

She told travel industry website Skift: “Hugo was a true gentleman, a wonderful leader, and a friend. His tenacity and vision drove the global success of Cheapfights, and later Momondo.

"He created a wonderful work culture that all ex-Cheapflighters still talk about today. We will miss him terribly.”