No station at Melrose but hotel confirms trade boost

Burt's Hotel in Melrose.
Burt's Hotel in Melrose.
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Owners of the Burt’s Hotel in the centre of Melrose have said that trade from the Borders Railway could put delayed improvements back on track.

Nick Henderson was speaking to The Southern after the hotel was named as Scotland’s Dining Pub of the Year by the UK-wide Good Pub Guide.

He said Melrose – and particularly its catering establishments – have been given a welcome boost by the return of the train.

Mr Henderson told us: “The town is seeing the benefit of the railway – in a away it is the end of the line. People are walking in from Tweedbank or taking a taxi. Melrose is probably benefitting more from the railway than any other town.”

And he said alcohol sales – which fell dramatically when Scotland drink-drive limit was cut – were rising because rail passengers aren’t driving.

He confirmed that business had been rough during the recession and that developments and improvements had been put on hold.

Mr Henderson said: “We upgraded 10 rooms a few years ago but then we stopped.

“We, and the town, are considerably busier with the coming of the railway. And that, and winning awards such as this, gives us the chance to focus and to look at future plans.”

Awards through the Good Pub Guide are made on the recommendation of readers.

Mr Henderson told us: “That makes this quite an accolade. It is brilliant, we are very pleased, and it is good for the staff. This highly prestigious award recognises the fact that every dish featured on or menus is home-made. Our dedication to using quality local produce that is prepared with infinite care and attention is absolutely the hallmark of Burt’s.”

The hotel has been in the Henderson family for more than 25 years – operated by Graham and wife Anne, who have now been joined by son Nick and his wife Trish.

The hotel has a staff of 22 and the family also own the Town House across the road,