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Double success for strath hoteliers in Prestige Hotel Awards


By Tom Ramage

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The two teams from Strathspey celebrate in Glasgow. From left to right: James Montgomery, of Firhall House, Lucy Hutchinson from Muckrach Lodge, Prestige Hotel Awards independent judge Audrey Webster, Mark Huntley of Muckrach Lodge and Stuart Ewing from Firhall House.
The two teams from Strathspey celebrate in Glasgow. From left to right: James Montgomery, of Firhall House, Lucy Hutchinson from Muckrach Lodge, Prestige Hotel Awards independent judge Audrey Webster, Mark Huntley of Muckrach Lodge and Stuart Ewing from Firhall House.

THE strath is celebrating a glittering double after the latest Prestige Hotel Awards.

Created to showcase and reward outstanding service in Scotland’s 3-5 Star rated hotel industry, the top businesses are nominated solely by the public and the judges decided, after “mystery guest” visits, that Strathspey offers both the best country hotel and the best B&B breakfast.

“We are thrilled to be awarded Best Country House in Scotland,” celebrated Mark Huntley, general manager at the Muckrach Country House, Dulnain Bridge.

“I am so proud that we’ve been recognised for our hard work,” said Stuart Ewing, who with his partner James Montgomery runs Firhall Highland Bed & Breakfast in Grantown.

They had just returned from a sparkling ceremony at Glasgow’s Marriott Hotel on Sunday, March 17among 500 members of the country’s most prestigious hotels and hospitality businesses.

“It was amazing,” said Mr Huntley, who had arrived with house manager Lucy Hutchinson to hear “there are an awful lot of great nominations here tonight and just to be among them means you have done very well”.

“I took that to mean we hadn’t won,” he added, “and when we saw the calibre of the opposition, like Ingliston Country Club, getting Highly Recommended it never occurred to us that they were actually keeping us until last!”

The citation confirmed that “Mark, Lucy and the team have worked hard to put Muckrach on the map, making it a destination for the local community and travellers alike. Their Highland welcome ensures that your visit is filled with delight. Head Chef,Peter has a passion for the fabulous produce that Scotland has to offer, ensuring that the menu is brimming with the delicious tastes of Scotland.”

Mr Huntly added: “We want to thank all of our amazing guests who made this award possible.

The 16-bedroom luxury boutique hotel’s owners are Phil and Ed Cowap.

Phil said: “Quality is the essence of our business from the products we sell, the food we serve, the displays we create to the passion of our team for great customer service.”

At Grantown, James Montgomery and Stuart Ewing were recognised for their hard work over the past three years renovating Firhall House.

With their sister property Strathallan Guest House nearby, they had guidance from their sister Isla, who moved up in 2013 to set up her own bed and breakfast.

James said: “Although Stuart would never say so, he puts a great deal of time, effort and passion into his food and I’m really proud of him receiving this recognition.”

Glasgow’s Malmaison and Aberdeen’s Altens Hotel were Highly Recommended.


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