THE oldest house on the Isle of Arran has won the Scottish Hotel of the Year award in the industry’s “Oscars”.
Kilmichael Country House has been recognised for the attentive personal service given to guests by its owners, Geoffrey Botterill and Anthony Butterworth.
It has been named in the Good Hotel Guide’s annual César awards, dubbed the Oscars of the hospitality trade.
Despite being described as a mansion, the property has only seven bedrooms – although some have a four-poster bed, and a jacuzzi.
According to the Good Hotel Guide co-editors Adam Raphael and Desmond Balmer: “This year’s César award winners celebrate the many strengths often associated with small, one-off establishments.
“All of our winners demonstrate the hospitality, personal service and attention to detail which matter to today’s paying guests.”
The guide gives Kilmichael high praise, stating: “The food is of the highest quality, with herbs, fruit and vegetables grown in the hotel’s potager, and bread, jam, marmalade, ice cream and sorbets made on the premises.”
Kilmichael is no stranger to awards.
It is one of the few hotels to achieve a gold star award in the VisitScotland Grading and Classification Scheme. A gold award means it “consistently achieves the highest levels of excellence within [our] grading”.
It is also a past winner of the Taste of Scotland “Country House Hotel of the Year” award as well as the Macallan 25 award which honoured just 25 restaurants in Scotland for being “particularly recommended to the travelling gourmet”.
Situated in the heart of grounds granted to the forebears of its builders by Robert the Bruce in 1307, it occupies a spot inhabited long before that. The name Kilmichael indicates the site of one of the earliest Christian missionary cells, dedicated to St Michael.
By the middle of the 16th centure, there were two principal landowners on the island, the dukes of Hamilton at the castle and the fullartons of Kilmichael.
The estate was improved during the Victorian era, with the addition of a lodge with gates and a stained glass window depicting the Fullarton coat of arms.
Arran is the largest island in the Firth of Clyde with a population of just over 4,600.