Local produce key to hotel’s awards win

Award-winning house manager Julie Wilson, left, at The Border Hotel, with Lisa Donaldson, front of house.
Award-winning house manager Julie Wilson, left, at The Border Hotel, with Lisa Donaldson, front of house.

Julie Wilson, the house manager at the Border Hotel in Kirk Yetholm, was the region’s only winner in the 16th annual Scottish Hotel Awards.

Julie, who has been in the position for the past eight years, won the regional award in the category and, at the lavish ceremony at the Crowne Plaza in Glasgow on April 28, she was named the best in the country in the people of excellence section.

Julie, who is originally from Lancashire, said she was delighted to be given the honour, and put it down to her love of the area.

She said: “I do love it here, and that probably rubs off on the guests and the staff.

“We do pride ourselves on using local produce – meat from the butchers in Morebattle, fish from Eyemouth, potatoes from Lurdenlawa nd oats from Hogarth’s.

“We do invest in local people as well, as we employ 15 people, some of them part time, and I do enjoy training up some of the village’s youngsters, even though they do tend to fly the coop at some point.

“This award means so much to me and the rest of the staff here as we were up against the best hotels in the country.”

The hotel has been owned by Helen and Douglas Scott-Watson, farmers from Kelso, who bought the hotel in 2013.

The business has recently expanded, too, with a new holiday cottage being opened at the weekend across the village green.

No Borders hotel was named a winner in the establishment awards section, although the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel near St Boswells was highly commended.

And, just outside the region, Borthwick Castle was named as the exclusive use venue of the year, and also took the award for events team of the year.

Most of the awards went to hotels based in the Highlands and the central belt.

The Dornoch Castle Hotel won bar of the year as well as town hotel of the year, Crossbasket Caste took fine dining hotel of the year and the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa was named Spa Hotel of the Year.

The evening concluded with the Fellowship for Contribution to the Scottish Hospitality Industry, won by Gordon McIntyre, associate dean of Hospitality and Tourism at City of Glasgow College.

This year’s winners were selected after a 12-month research process.