Family touch key to success for Scottish Hotel of Year
FOR every guest retiring to their room at Killiecrankie House in the evening, there sits an animal-shaped hot water bottle to warm the bed. It is one of the distinct family touches that has helped the Perthshire destination win one of the top gongs of the hotel industry. Owner Henrietta Fergusson is travelling to London today to be presented
With the prestigious Csar award for Scottish Hotel of the Year in the Good Hotel Guide.
About 60 Scottish venues have been selected for the 2011 guide, which editors said shows the continuing strength of the sector.
Ms Fergusson worked at the Greywalls Hotel at Gullane, East Lothian, for five years, and at the Carnegie Club members club at Skibo Castle, before buying the 1840-built Killiecrankie House in 2007.
The Good Hotel Guide nominates ten hotels every year for the award, named after Csar Ritz, the most celebrated of hoteliers. They are handed out for a mixed selection of places, each of which is considered to be outstanding in its own class.
Previous Scottish winners have included the Kilberry Inn in Kintyre, the Three Chimneys on Skye and Bealach House at Duror, Appin.
Joint editor Desmond Balmer said: "We look for places where the guest comes first, not for the convenience of the owner. There was an attitude when I first travelled in Scotland that high tea was served until 6pm and then it was the pub.
"We talk about a feel-good factor, and there's a lot of very good hotels in Scotland. At the top end, I think Scotland has some outstanding places. These are places people make a pilgrimage to enjoy food and hospitality. And the owners realise they are competing for a UK market and a global market."
Ms Fergusson said she was delighted to get the award after just three years running the ten-bedroom house. She said: "You don't have to splash out thousands on people. You can just stay at a small place and be made to feel part of the family.
"When people come here, we greet them and introduce ourselves. Everyone is escorted to their room. We try to keep informal without being familiar. I think we are unique. And 60 per cent of our visitors are return visits, which means we must be doing something right."
A spokeswoman for VisitScotland said: "Killiecrankie House, with its idyllic setting, elegant interiors and award-winning restaurant, is a fine example of Scottish hospitality at its very best, and it is no surprise that it has been recognised in this independent survey.
"Hotels play a key role in Scottish tourism, bringing millions of visitors and billions of pounds to the country's economy, and those such as Killiecrankie House represent the continuing strength of Scotland's accommodation offering."
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