Two Borders businesses are now looking forward to appearing at national finals for tourism awards, having come out on top in the region for hospitality.
Fauhope Country House in Gattonside is a finalist in the most hospitable bed-and-nreakfast or guesthouse category and Windlestraw Hotel in Walkerburn will hope to be named the country’s most hospitable hotel at next year’s VisitScotland Scottish Thistle Awards.
Both establishments came top of their categories at regional finals held at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh.
Judges there commended Fauhope Country House owners Sheila and Ian Robson on their commitment to constantly improvewhat they offer, as well as luxury touches of beauty treatments and golf.
Mrs Robson said: “I’m delighted that Fauhope Country House has been awarded this recognition from VisitScotland.
“Both myself and Ian are passionate about providing an exceptional service to our guests, sharing our love of such a magical and historical house with them and promoting a beautiful part of Scotland.”
Repeat winner Windlestraw, a five-star restaurant with rooms, received praise from this year’s judges for its “unique, honest and personal quality of service”.
They paid particular attention to the “excellence in hospitality” demonstrated by personal touches, such as guests being encouraged to get hands on in the kitchen garden.
Owner Sylvia Matthews said: “It’s a real joy to win again, especially against such worthy competition. We are always proud to represent Lothian and Borders, a region with such quality hospitality.
“Having won last year, we were disappointed to lose out in the national final, and to have another opportunity is amazing.
“Well done to our small, passionate team and, of course, to VisitScotland for their support this past year.”
More than 460 entries were submitted to the latest Scottish Thistle Awards, which celebrate success, innovation, excellence and best practice in Scotland’s tourism and hospitality industry.
The teams from Windlestraw and Fauhope will go on to fly the flag for the region, against finalists from four other regional heats, at the national final of the Scottish Thistle Awards at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre in the capital on Thursday, March 15.
Rebecca Brooks, chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards industry panel and VisitScotland board member, said: “I’d like to congratulate all our regional winners. They are a credit to themselves, their local area and the entire Scottish tourism sector.
“Tourism is more than a holiday experience, it creates jobs and sustains communities. These awards let us recognise the unsung heroes of our industry who show real dedication and enthusiasm for Scotland’s tourism industry.
“I would like to wish all our regional winners the very best for the next stage of the competition.”
VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director Paula Ward said: “I would like to say a special congratulations to all of the winners from the Scottish Borders at the Regional Final of the Scottish Thistle Awards.
“These awards recognise the drive and passion the industry has for creating an unforgettable experience for visitors and I’m delighted some of our local heroes who go above and beyond have been awarded for their outstanding contribution to the region.
“I wish the regional finalists the very best of luck for the next stage of the competition.”