Hotelier and lecturer;

Born: May 14,1967; Died: January 9, 2012.

Scott Poole, who has died aged 44 after suffering a heart attack, was the embodiment of joie de vivre, a man who lived his dream and tackled every day head-on as if it was his last.

His enthusiasm for life was both infectious and inspiring and took him from the beaches of New South Wales to the rugged beauty of Glenshee, where he fulfilled his teenage vision of owning a Scottish castle.

He had carried a photo of a Scots piper, pictured in front of a castle, in his wallet from the age of 18. The image was still with him the day he died, having achieved his ambition and become the irrepressible host of Dalmunzie Castle Hotel.

En route he had worked in London as The Savoy's youngest manager and as a lecturer back in Australia before taking charge of a hotel in Cornwall as the search for his Scottish property continued.

In 2004 he and his wife Brianna, both Australians of Scots descent, finally found themselves at Dalmunzie, a glorious turreted laird's house in Highland Perthshire, which they refurbished and staffed with, among others, a team of young Aussie hospitality students, and won accolades from industry guides, including a Michelin recommendation.

There, Mr Poole was as happy in his shorts, playing rugby in the snow during his legendary Australian nights, as he was in the kilt.

The grandson of a Renfrew emigrant to Australia, he was born at the Terendak British military garrison in Malaya where his father was in the Australian army. Educated in Newcastle, New South Wales, where he was an outstanding golfer, tennis and hockey player, his interest in the hospitality business was sparked by a couple of weeks' work experience at the city's Grand Hotel.

He gained a diploma in hospitality management and completed two education degrees at the University of Technology, Sydney. Having fallen in love with his high school sweetheart, Brianna, the couple married in 1990 and embarked on a six-month honeymoon in Europe.

Determined to be the best of the best, he had written to the top five hotels in London, secured appointments at three and chose to go to The Savoy where, at 23, he was their youngest manager. Two years later the couple were back in Newcastle, Australia, where he worked as a hotel general manager, taught at Hamilton Technical College and became a father.

But nine years after returning home he became restless and the lure of Scotland proved too strong. The family moved to Cornwall, where he spent two years as general manager of the luxury Headland Hotel while searching for a property north of the Border.

Several years, and more than 100 hotels later, he found Dalmunzie and discovered that the 7th Laird of Dalmunzie, a minister, had married his ancestors in 1716. Along with Brianna he set high standards at the hotel, building an excellent reputation and becoming part of the glen community. He led by example in the business whether it was mowing lawns and trimming hedges, trying to urge the boiler back into life, washing dishes in the kitchen or simply helping guests with luggage. And he was at his best in a crisis: helping to rescue lost hillwalkers off Glas Tulaichean, going down the Victorian sewers to fix a blockage or mending a leaky roof.

Mischievous and fun-loving, he delighted in impromptu parties and annual Anzac and Australia Day celebrations, the latter famed in the glen for their outdoor barbecue and his summer shorts – in the middle of winter.

He was also driven and competitive, once offering to reduce the challenge to a table tennis opponent by playing left-handed. The loser was to streak around the castle. He failed to mention he was ambidextrous but generously allowed his victim to keep his shoes on and rolled with laughter in the snow at the escapade.

His philosophy was to look after the staff first, believing that, in turn, they would look after the guests. And it worked. The hotel was nominated two years running in the AA Wine List of the Year, named as the best hotel in Perthshire, included in Alistair Sawday's British Hotels and Inns Guide and recommended in the prestigious Michelin Guide.

Within the glen community he was also known for his excellent grasp of local and Scots history, his passion for genealogy and sport and for his commitment to his family.

He was a member of the Glenshee Tourist Association and the Dalmunzie Golfing Society and played for Crathie Cricket Club, whose home ground is at Balmoral and where he was consoled by the Duke of Edinburgh after having his nose broken in his first game.

Life was always a game and a big adventure for the larger-than-life Australian and he had recently told his family he was searching for new dreams.

"He was always a dreamer," said his brother Jason. "Scott dreamed in 3D widescreen Technicolor panoramic vision. What marked him as different is that he took action and converted all his dreams into reality."

He is survived by his wife Brianna, daughters Ashley, Emma and Joanna, his parents Graham and June, brother Jason and grandmother Jean.