TWO Scottish hotels have been singled out as winners in the “Oscars” of UK hospitality.
The Good Hotel Guide honours what it believes to be the top ten best hotels in the country with a Cesar award.
Winners of the annual Cesar awards vary vastly in size and style, but all have one thing in common – how well they look after guests. And this year, two of the establishments in the top ten are found in Scotland.
The hotels, both in the Highlands, were picked ahead of 400 others.
Pitlochry’s Green Park, a grand, four-star lochside retreat with 51 rooms, scooped the best in Scotland title, while the small and remote Moor of Rannoch, which makes a virtue of being cut off from 21st-century communications, was voted best newcomer in the 2015 guide.
The Green Park, on the banks of Loch Faskally, was built in 1889 as a rural escape for two daughters of wealthy city merchants. It has been run by the McMenemie family since 1996.
Judges praised their “remarkable attention to detail”, chef Chris Tamblin’s menus and “faultless” personal service.
The owners said they were “pleasantly shocked” at their new status as the top hotel north of the Border.
Alistair McMenemie said: “We are really pleased. With the Good Hotel Guide, you have no control over it. They choose you, so this is entirely unexpected for us.
“Winning in many ways validates how we try to manage things for our customers, some of whom come back to see us two or three times a year.
“They are very loyal and it is almost as if they are the owners, too. Obviously, the location is a big thing, too.
“Some of our customers like to sit for hours just looking at the views over the loch.”
With no TV or radio signal, limited mobile reception and no wifi or internet access, the small and secluded Moor of Rannoch Hotel is described by its owners as “the perfect retreat to escape the modern, fast-paced world”.
Scott Meikle and partner Stephanie Graham took over the business at Rannoch Station last May and say the location, on the famously scenic West Highland line, is ideal for people who really want to get away from it all.
“We are a very small, individually run hotel with only five bedrooms,” he said. “It makes us unique. People come here to relax and escape. They like the fact they can’t be contacted and distracted by the digital world.
“We have a large selection of jigsaws, board games and books, and people enjoy chatting by the fire in the bar.
“There’s 130 square kilometres of uninhabited moorlands outside so it’s great for walks for people and dogs.”
Winners are selected after secret visits by Good Hotel Guide inspectors.
“These award-winning hotels are recognised by the guide as exceptional places to stay,” said Desmond Balmer, editor of 2015 guide.
“The Green Park Hotel was competing against 400 hotels which have full listings in the latest guide, but more particularly against the 138 Scottish hotels with an entry in the latest edition.
“They, like all award-winners, should be very pleased.”
The awards are named after the celebrated Swiss hotelier Cesar Ritz, founder of the Ritz hotels and widely recognised as the pioneer of luxury hotels.
BEST UK HOTELS
Family hotel - Fowey Hall, Cornwall.
Dog-friendly hotel - Overwater Hall, Cumbria.
Small hotel - Yalbury Cottage, Dorset.
Country house hotel - Lords of the Manor, Gloucestershire.
Country hotel - The Pear Tree at Purton, Wiltshire.
Pub with rooms - The Talbot Inn, Somerset.
Welsh hotel of the year - Milebrook House, Powys.
Irish guesthouse of the year - Newforge House, Craigavon