Donald Trump’s Turnberry wins top Scottish hotel award

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Trump Turnberry has been named as Scottish Hotel of the Year amid acclamations from the judges that appear to endorse the US president’s greatest boasts about his Ayrshire golf resort.

The trophy was awarded last night with a string of superlatives for the upgrading of the hotel and courses completed since Donald Trump’s bought the complex four years ago.

Purchase records show Trump Turnberry received thousands from the US State Department for the 'VIP' visit. Picture: John Devlin

Purchase records show Trump Turnberry received thousands from the US State Department for the 'VIP' visit. Picture: John Devlin

The owner was singled out for praise for his involvement in redesign of the courses.

In addition, general manager Ralph Porciani, received the Hotel Manager (Large Hotel) of the Year award.

The awards came as a report showed hotels in Scotland outperformed the UK last year, helped by an influx of overseas visitors and a rise in the number of Britons holidaying closer to home.

Anita Ujszaszi, awards director of the Scottish Hotel Awards, said Trump Turnberry had been chosen as overall winner for leading in the luxury, events and golf categories.

In their assessment, the judges were as effusive as Mr Trump had been proud when he declared two years ago that Turnberry had the “highest standards of luxury”.

He said of the transformation: “I took one of the great assets of Scotland and took it to a level it’s never seen.”

The judges were impressed. They concluded: “From arrival to departure, an amazing experience, reflecting a luxury experience with a dedicated and passionate team to assist in any way possible.

“All elements of the property [are] in pristine condition from the bedrooms to the public areas and grounds.

“Simply immaculate after their refurbishment. An absolutely well-deserved winner in the luxury category.”

The judge in the events section was equally impressed.

They noted: “The gorgeous lighting adds the ambience the natural daylight brings in to all the rooms – just stunning.

“I cannot recommend the hotel enough to win events hotel of the year – they are fantastic and offer the best possible service.”

The resort’s golf courses came in for similar acclaim.

A judge said: “Donald Trump, a keen and quite talented player himself, was heavily involved in the redesign work. He worked closely with Martin Ebert and spent many full days on the course with the redesign team.”

The judge described changes such as the creation of five new holes on the Ailsa course as “a spectacular improvement on what was already one of the world’s great golf courses.

“A new halfway house on the Ailsa course [which] has been created in the famous Turnberry lighthouse must rank among the most spectacular of any of the world’s golf course mid-round watering holes.

“It almost goes without saying that the condition of the Turnberry courses cannot be faulted. On the day of my inspection, after a long spell of bitterly cold weather, the course was immaculate and would have been capable of hosting a major event.”

The latest Hotel Britain report from accountants and business advisers BDO showed Scotland’s average hotel room yield, or revenue, growing last year by almost 5 per cent in a year to £56.70 compared to just over 4 per cent in Wales, 2.2 per cent in Northern Ireland and just under 2 per cent in England.

The report states: “The story of Scottish hotels in 2017 is one of great success. The boom in tourism following the depreciation of the pound after the Brexit vote has attracted record-breaking overseas visitor numbers.”