Hotel scotland june 2017 issuu

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here is no shortage of news stories in the hotel industry that is for sure. It’s definitely encouraging to see so much investment in Scotland when it comes to hospitality. Our cover this month features Steve Graham CEO of Manorview Hotels & Leisure Group and Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Employability and Training,. The Minister was at The Busby Hotel to shout about the Government’s Modern Apprenticeship Programme but no doubt he was also congratulating Steve on making it on the London Stock Exchange list of 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain. See news. This month I caught up with Dale MacPhee who is also inspirational. Read what the boss at the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian had to say on page 20.


Meanwhile Annabelle Love covers the subject of the Tourist Tax on page 9, and also delves into the Pro and Cons of going Green. And if that was not enough she also paid a visit to Seamill Hotel to see its ultra swanky new Pavilion. We’ve been asked to look into the statistics regarding staff retention, and we will do this for the next issue.


Hope you enjoy it. Susan Young Editor @hotel_scotland

HOTELSCOTLAND Published by Media World limited t: 0141 221 6965 e: w:

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Editor: Susan Young Editorial: Annabelle Love, Mairi Clark Advertising: Lucy McGovern, Sylvia Forsyth and Lisa Clifford Production: Dougie Wagstaff Admin: Cheryl Cook

29 Upper floor Finnieston House 1 Stables Yard 1103 Argyle Street Glasgow G3 8ND

Published by Media World Ltd. Subscriptions: HOTEL SCOTLAND is available by subscription at the rate of £52 per annum. The publishers, authors and printers cannot accept liability for errors or omissions. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the copyright holder and publisher, application for which should be made to the publisher. Articles published in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publishers. © Media World Limited 2017. Printed by Stephens & George Print Group.


Killiecrankie Hotel is up for sale Henrietta Fergusson has put her Killiecrankie Hotel in Pitlochry on the market for offers over £1.2 million.

number of awards including three red stars and two AA rosettes, serving local, national and international visitors.

The country house hotel, which has been owned by Henrietta for the past 10 years, has 10 bedrooms, a dining room, a traditional wood panelled lounge bar, a conservatory, a sitting room with an open fireplace and extensive landscaped gardens. Owners accommodation is also provided.

Stuart Drysdale, Associate Director at Christie & Co, the selling agents, comments, “This is a great example of a country house hotel which is excellently presented and requires no capital expenditure. It presents a rare opportunity for a first-time buyer or experienced operator to purchase a well established small business with a strong trading history, and has exciting potential to take the operation forward.”

The restaurant has a particularly strong reputation leading to the hotel receiving a



03 – JUNE




CENTRAL BELT CLOSE SECOND TO LONDON New trivago data shows that London is the most popular destination for international visitors and domestic travellers, with the second most popular destination for domestic and inbound travellers being Edinburgh, closely followed by Glasgow. Travellers from Ireland, Italy and France are searching for the longest stays, and hotel guests from USA and Australia search for the highest prices-per-night on average. Traveller behaviour from the key markets, for searches to destinations around the globe, show that travellers from Australia are the biggest spenders, with an average clicked price per night of £161, followed by USA with £152 and the UK with £151. Visitors from Ireland, Italy, and France are likely to stay the longest, searching for stays of eight nights on average. The most popular week to travel varies for each visiting country, but in terms of search volume from all markets the biggest influx of travellers is set to arrive in the UK in the week beginning 31 July.

Grand Central Grand Room receives an A-List Makeover The Grand Central Hotel has unveiled an elegant new Grand Room decorated in beautiful dove greys showcasing the grand size and space of the stylish room. Graven Images orchestrated the £250,000 re-design and incorporated the room’s original features – which date back to the building’s original Queen Anne style


architecture – into the revamp. Graeme Gibson, general manager at The Grand Central Hotel, said, “This beautiful refurbishment has seen our already Grand Room transformed into a truly sophisticated venue with the best of modern design and architecture used to draw out existing, stunning period features.”


CELTIC PLAN HOTEL Holmes Miller has filed a planning application to erect a five-storey hotel, museum, shop and ticket office for Celtic Football Club. In a statement, the architects said, “Our proposal seeks to offer a bold and contemporary design with an ordered and rational approach to the elevations. The scheme sits on the site of the existing shop and ticket office, which will both be integrated within the new design. The development also offers an opportunity for a museum for the football club as part of the overall design for a hotel with approximately 175-200 bedrooms incorporated.” • Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Employability and Training with staff at The Busby Hotel

MANORVIEW’S INVESTMENT IN PEOPLE PAYS OFF Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Employability and Training visited Manorview Hotels & Leisure Group’s Busby Hotel last month, at the same time as the group consolidated its position as one of London Stock Exchange Group’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain. The Minister was there to publicise the Government’s recent statistics regarding the Modern Apprenticeship programme which saw the number of Modern Apprenticeship starts increase to 26,262 this year. During his visit he met Manorview boss Steve Graham, as well as just some of the 55 Manorview staff who are currently taking part in its Modern Apprenticeship Programme. But no doubt he also took time to congratulate the group on its latest achievement. This is the second time the family-owned business, which celebrates its 10th birthday this year, has been identified as one of the 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain, the first time being in 2015. To be included in the list, companies needed to show consistent revenue growth over a minimum of three years, significantly outperforming their industry peers. Steve Graham CEO, Manorview Group, said, “At Manorview we have a philosophy of leading

by inspiration rather than manipulation, and to be named in an Inspiring Companies List means a lot to us. I’m delighted to be included in this list for a second time, it shows we are continuing to grow and move in the right direction, and in line with our ethos”. Xavier Rolet, Chief Executive, London Stock Exchange Group said, “Four years on, LSEG’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ report continues to highlight the dynamic, entrepreneurial and ambitious businesses across the country that are boosting UK productivity, driving economic growth and creating jobs.” Meanwhile at The Busby Hotel the Minister heard directly from Scott MacIntyre, the group’s Head of Training and Development on how helpful the Modern Apprenticeship Programme is. He said, “The Modern Apprenticeship Programme is a great tool for us. It allows us to identify and progress talent. We use it to invest in our people and we invest time and in the training and development of our team and we help to build those stars of the future.” Steve Graham concluded, “There are excellent opportunities for career development in the hospitality industry. As a group we’ve expanded quickly and part of that expansion is down to having the correct people in place. That’s what helps us grow.”


The club said in a statement, “There is currently no quality hotel accommodation within the area between the city centre and Tollcross despite the key attractions of Celtic Park and the Emirates Arena. “The current lack of hotel accommodation in the vicinity means that everyone attending events at the football stadium or the arena requires to travel on the day of the event, adding to traffic volumes in the surrounding area.” Micasa ApartHotel in Aberdeen’s Market Street, which opened 8 years ago, has closed. The company blames “exceptionally challenging” trading conditions in the energy industry. South Lanarkshire Council’s planning committee have given a green light to a new 80-bedroom hotel in East Kilbride which will also have a bar/restaurant. Permission in principle was granted to Fraser Property Company (Scotland) to build on the land adjacent adjacent to the A726 Queensway at Linwood Avenue, Peel Park. MGM Muthu Hotels, the Indian-owned hotel chain, has bought five Scottish hotels, This now brings the number of UK hotels the company owns to eight. The group bought four hotels from Highland Heritage – The Alexandra Hotel in Oban, The Ben Doran Hotel and The Royal Hotel in Tyndrum and The Dalmally Hotel in Dalmally. The deal also included Volvo coaches and Alexandra Apartments. It also bought The Newton in Nairn. All of the hotels are now know with the pre-fix Muthu.


ISG wins £5.5m contract to convert historic Glasgow building ISG has been awarded the £5.5 million contract to convert the iconic Anchor Line Building on St Vincent Place, Glasgow into a contemporary 64-bed aparthotel for The White Building Development Company Limited, is owned by Mario Gizzi and Tony Connetta. As Hotel Scotland revealed in April, the entrepreneurs had received planning permission from Glasgow City Council to transform the building and add a roof extension. Originally designed 110 years ago by renowned Scottish architect James Miller for the eponymous shipping company, the building’s ground and basement floors are currently home to the

HILTON GLASGOW LAUNCH £25K CHARITY INITIATIVE Hilton Glasgow has announced it will be donating £25K to children’s charities across Glasgow at its annual Foundation Ball on September 16th. Working in partnership with DM Thomas Foundation for Young People the hotel already has already agreed donations to NSPCC Scotland and Action For Children Scotland.They now want to reach out to other charities and groups who may need funds to support their invaluable work. Calum Ross, General Manager of Hilton Glasgow said, “People are at the heart of this hotel, that is what makes me so proud to work here. Over the last 25 years they have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities and this year they have surpassed themselves. We urge any charity who supports young people between the ages of 5 and 25 to apply before the 21st July.”

award-winning Anchor Line restaurant and Atlantic Restaurant, operated by the Di Maggio Group, DRG, also owned by the entrepreneurs. Although several original features, such as glazed tiles, terrazzo flooring, timber wall panelling, safes and fireplaces will remain, ISG will comprehensively refurbish the existing six floors and to create 64 stylish studio- and one-bed-apartments. ISG will also add a single-storey recessed rooftop extension. Sympathetically designed to remain in keeping with the A-listed building, the new steel and glass structure will give guests breath-taking views over the city. Andy McLinden, managing director of ISG’s UK Construction North and Scotland business,

commented, “There is a renaissance in the Scottish luxury hospitality sector, especially in key locations in our urban centres. With limited scope for new build developments, this has resulted in growing demand to adapt and transform existing property assets into high-end hotels. These often complex conversion projects present significant construction and logistical challenges and this is why an increasing number of clients are entrusting their schemes with ISG.”

Macdonald Hotels appoints new meeting and events team Macdonald Hotels has created new positions in its dedicated meeting and events division following a £13m investment in its properties and a 11.5% increase in corporate bookings in the past year. To support the corporate activity at its 48 UK properties, the Group has created 12 dedicated area champions. The experienced hospitality professionals will each look after a handful of hotels and will be experts in their region understanding the various venue offerings to ensure clients get the best possible service. Macdonald Hotels sales director, Gill Jackson said, “Each recruit brings with them a specific

set of skills and they have already begun making a huge contribution to the wider business. We have never before had such an experienced team which will focus solely on developing the company’s corporate event sector. I am excited to see what we can achieve together in the coming months.” During their first month the team undertook an innovative interactive training programme created by Macdonald Hotels. Inspired by hit television show, The Apprentice, the ‘20/20 Challenge’, saw the new recruits visit 20 hotels in 20 hours, before presenting the most suitable venue against various client briefs.

All applications meeting the criteria outlined in the application pack will be judged by a panel which includes Calum Ross. Leonardo Hotels has opened The Leonardo Royal Hotel Edinburgh on the site of the former Premier Inn at 1 Morrison Link. The new hotel has 282 rooms. This brings the number of hotels in the group to 80, with this being its first Scottish venture. Daniel Roger, managing director of Leonardo Hotels Europe, said, “Our business model is never to open just one hotel in a new area. Since 2006, we have opened 63 hotels and we are already reviewing our plans for further growth in Scotland. 6 • HOTEL SCOTLAND • JUNE 2017

• Pictured l-r James Reilly, Hannah Wright, Natalie Merrin, Kerry Munro, Gill Cooper, Gillian Black, Gemma Hayden-Crout, Katy Henderson, Andy Menear, Jennifer Farina, Michael Rivers, Stephanie Oliver, Lindsay Crozier


Hoteliers warned about new data laws A new YouGov survey, commissioned by law company Irwin Mitchell, has revealed that the majority of businesses in hospitality and leisure are unaware of new wide-ranging data protection rules which come into force next May. The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules include: Compulsory notification of data breaches; an obligation to be more transparent with regard to how personal data is used and businesses will also need to have processes in place in case an individual asks for all their personal data to be erased.

THE EDINBURGH COLLECTION ACQUIRES THE TUNE HOTEL The Edinburgh Collection, a member of Palm Holdings, revealed it had acquired The Tune Hotel in Edinburgh last month. The 189 room hotel has now been re-branded as the Haymarket Hub Hotel due to its proximity to the city’s Haymarket Station and it also now offers enhanced technology including enhanced facilities for travellers. For instance, guests can now stay connected throughout their visit with handy smart phones – the first to arrive in Scotland – offering free data and free UK and internationals calls to 10 countries including Australia, China, India & USA. This means they can stay in touch inside and outside the hotel. The smart phones will enable users to access the latest city news, events, discover the best restaurants and bars and explore the capital using Google maps. There are also plans to expand the lounge area with an Illy Café which will offer plenty of USB ports and charging points for mobile phones and laptops. Ricky Kapoor, Managing Director of The

Edinburgh Collection, says, “This new addition to our Edinburgh portfolio will enable us to further meet the demands of a variety of visitors and travellers to Scotland’s capital. The Haymarket Hub Hotel is about being connected, exploring the city and recharging, an exciting new concept which will satisfy even the most discerning of today’s modern travellers including the Millennials.” Sheetal Kapoor, Group CEO, Palm Holdings, added, “We are extremely excited with this UK acquisition as it follows on the heels of the purchase of the Holiday Inn Orlando SW Celebration Area only six weeks ago and takes us one step closer to achieving a total room count in excess of 2000 rooms.” The Edinburgh Collection is a portfolio of hotels in Edinburgh which includes The Howard Hotel; The Channings Hotel; The Old Waverley; and Holyrood apartHOTEL serviced apartments. The new acquisition brings the number of bedrooms at the Edinburgh Collection to over 400.


GDPR represents the biggest change in 25 years to how businesses process personal information and it replaces existing data protection laws. Under the new rules, the maximum fine for certain data breaches in the UK will rise from £500,000 to €20 million or 4% of global turnover, whichever is larger. The research concluded that up to 70% of hospitality and leisure companies were unaware of the new fines and 22% say they would go out of business if they received the maximum punishment, with 11% saying they would need to make significant job cuts and a further a 22% admitting that smaller scale headcount reductions will be necessary. Irwin Mitchell believes the low level of awareness of GDPR is caused by a number of misconceptions that exist about the new rules and say this has led to a level of complacency. This view is supported by 45% of respondents in the sector claiming that GDPR will have no impact, claiming that GDPR is not an issue for their sector. The reality is that the rules encompass a wide range of personal data including employee data, payroll and pension records. They also apply to data in a business context where individuals are concerned, such as sole traders and partnerships. Irwin Mitchell’s Joanne Bone said, “Contrary to popular belief personal data is not just consumer information. It is hard to think of a business today that does not use personal data. Whether you have employee data, customer data or supplier data – if the data relates to an individual you will be caught by the new data protection laws.”


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• Julia Amour, Director of Festivals Edinburgh

hen the recent business rates crisis broke it sent shockwaves through the hospitality sector and left many hoteliers facing an uncertain future unless there is drastic reform of the current ratings system. But another levy lurking in the shadows – tourist tax – could prove just as controversial.

The debate around whether or not a tourist tax, also known as a ‘bed levy’, should be introduced here has been ongoing for more than a decade, mainly in Edinburgh but more recently in Aberdeen and the Highlands – and it shows no sign of going away. While local authorities have no legal power to impose it and the Scottish Government has consistently said that it has no plans to grant them the power to do so (which would involve primary legislation), the issue still continues to rear its head from time to time. So what are the arguments in favour of such a levy and what would it mean for hoteliers? Proponents argue that a tourist tax, which could see around £1 a night added to a typical hotel bill, could be used to boost investment in tourism infrastructure and visitor attractions, marketing and events, as well as compensating for visitor impacts or simply helping to balance the books in the wake of public spending cuts.

Edinburgh City first proposed a levy in 2011 but the idea was scrapped in 2014, before being resurrected again when council bosses included a ‘Transient Visitor Levy’ (TVL) in proposals for the City Deal put forward to the UK and Scottish Governments last year. He continued,“ Those in favour argue that it could raise up to £15 million annually for the city.”

for a tourist tax. Available to local authorities that wanted it, like the major cities that have to provide for the attractions that bring them... Council tax payers cannot be expected to bear all the burden, especially when council tax is rising, when their own trips abroad are costing more – and where they’ll likely be paying a tourist tax themselves.”

Julia Amour, Director of Festivals Edinburgh, believes there should be a debate on alternative sources of income for the Capital, which attracts around four million visitors a year.

In Edinburgh there is an argument for a levy to help support the city’s cultural infrastructure, including the various festivals and events the Capital hosts each year. Aberdeen City Council also wants to introduce a charge and Glasgow has looked at it as a possible local taxation option.

She says, “In the current climate of government funding, there is a need to find alternative resources to support our very successful festivals in order to maintain their quality and significant economic impacts. “We are working in active partnership with our public and private sector colleagues in Edinburgh to explore a range of options on alternative funding. In that context the recent Thundering Hooves report encouraged the wider business community to invest in the festivals from which they so greatly benefit, so that together we can secure Edinburgh’s enviable position as an internationally renowned cultural and tourism destination year-round.” In January Former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the time had come to introduce a tourist tax. He wrote, “So the time has come

But where does this leave the hotel trade? Scotland is already an expensive place to visit and recent research by the British Hospitality Association (BHA) found that visitors to the UK pay more in taxes than they do in other comparable European destinations, through VAT and Air Passenger Duty, and a tourist levy will only add to that burden. The World Economic Forum Travel &Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 ranked the UK fifth out of 141 countries in terms of overall appeal as an international visitor destination, but 140 out of 141 in terms of price competitiveness – so we are an attractive destination, but expensive too. A number of major European cities, including JUNE 2017 • HOTELSCOTLAND • 9

FEATURES at popular attractions and untidy environments – but again Willie disagrees. He says, “The argument that visitors don’t contribute is nonsense. They contribute through their spending, they support businesses, and they support direct employment in the tourism industry and indirect employment in the wider supply chain. They are also contributing through VAT and their spending with hotels and other tourism businesses allows these firms to pay business rates – and hotels pay very significant business rates already – so there is a contribution.”

• Brett Davidge, General Manager of Apex City Quay, Dundee

Paris, Venice, Florence, Berlin and Barcelona, already charge a hotel tax but the VAT rate in those countries tends to be much lower than it is in the UK. The Scottish Tourism Alliance believes that a tourism tax would likely discourage visitors from coming to Scotland. A spokesman says, “We acknowledge the need for an increased level of long term sustainable investment across our destinations for marketing, to improve the quality of the offering, visitor experience and overall appeal of the destination, however in our view, introducing a ‘tourism tax’ is more than likely to discourage international tourists from visiting Scotland and negatively impact our local economies. “The UK already imposes more tax on visitors than most of our competing destinations and there is a significant risk of further damaging Scotland’s appeal as a tourism destination by applying a further cost to visitors.” Willie Macleod, BHA Director for Scotland, is also clear about what the tourist tax would mean and says the BHA and the hotel industry are fundamentally opposed to it because it would make us less competitive. He adds, “To argue for tourist tax without looking at other taxation on hotel rooms is comparing apples and pears. It’s ill-informed and it does not understand our industry. “Our fundamental objection is based on price competitiveness and the fact that a tourist tax would further affect our poor price competitiveness. To suggest that visitors are not price sensitive is nonsense – we all look at prices when we book somewhere. “I think it’s naive and disingenuous to assert that tourist taxes work in other countries – where the tax is applied in Europe this is usually where they have a much lower rate of VAT than we do. 10 • HOTELSCOTLAND • JUNE 2017

“A number of major European cities, including Paris, Venice, Florence, Berlin and Barcelona, already charge a hotel tax but the VAT rate in those countries tends to be much lower than it is in the UK” “At the BHA we have been campaigning for a reduction in tourism VAT – at the moment there is – 20% VAT on a hotel room and many of our competitors in Europe are charging rates that are considerably lower than that. For example the Republic of Ireland has VAT on a hotel room at 9%, France and Spain are at 10%, Sweden is 12% and Germany is 7%. “Our argument is that there shouldn’t be any talk of any additional taxes on our visitors when we’re charging 20% VAT.” Brett Davidge, General Manager of Apex City Quay in Dundee and Chairman of the Dundee & Angus Visitor Accommodation Association agrees. He says, “It hasn’t really come up on our agenda yet – we are taking our lead on what will happen in Edinburgh but as Association members we are opposed to any further tax on our guests. “There is a lot of tax on our customers already and this makes it a struggle to compete with countries that don’t charge so much tax. This is a tax on top of that really. “There are also a lot of unanswered questions that could potentially come up about the tax and if it is forced upon us we would like to understand how that tax is spent to benefit the industry.” One of the main economic arguments for the tax is the costs visitors impose on their hosts in terms of increased congestion, pollution, queues

The marketing argument is also a non-starter for the BHA. Willie points out, “Many hotels already support their local destination organisation through membership subscriptions, contributing to marketing initiatives and in some cases paying a commission on bookings. Hotels are also promoting the destination through their own marketing and reservation systems.” The fact that a tourist tax would only be imposed on commercial accommodation like hotels raises questions too of equity and fairness. What about other venues including B&Bs, self-catering, hostels – or visitors who stay with friends or relatives? They still impose costs on a destination. Willie adds, “Why should a tourist tax be imposed only on hotels? What about other businesses like restaurants, taxis, theatres and so on that also benefit from tourists? If tourism is everyone’s business, then our argument would be that hotels shouldn’t be singled out for this kind of additional levy.” There is also a lack of clarity over what the monies raised would be used for, who decides how to spend it and at what level a tourist tax would be set at and for how long. When does £1 a night become £2 or £5 and could hotels claim back their set up and administration costs? A tourist tax scheme in Rotterdam, Holland, was abandoned in 2006 because the city council lost business support after diverting monies raised to non-tourism activities. Similarly in the Balearics, an ‘eco-tax’ failed because it was seen as too expensive for visitors and there had not been enough consultation before it was introduced. Willie concludes, “Some of the arguments for a tourist tax are pretty disingenuous, pretty ill-informed and pretty naive and don’t really take into account the realities of running a hospitality business in the 21st Century. “It is too easy to say we need to start taxing our visitors because they don’t contribute. My view is that proponents of the tourist tax are just not listening to what the hotel industry is saying.” All of which makes it even more pressing for hoteliers to play an active part in the debate around this issue and to ensure their views are being heard – the future of our businesses could absolutely depend on it.

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• Same owners for over 20 yrs • Roadside location between Dundee & Aberdeen • Busy coffee shop due to accessibility from A90 • 9 e/s rms, lounge bar, conservatory, meeting and dining areas • Marquee (120), parking, beer garden and play area • Ideal for chef or family operation • Extensive refurbishment • EPC Rating G FREEHOLD: OFFERS IN THE REGION OF £450,000



• Very well established country inn • Extensive refurbishment throughout • Lounge bar/snug, restaurant & 6 e/s rms • Close to Ayr & Prestwick airport • Produces profits in excess of £100k • Ideal for chef or as a family run operation • Potential to increase restaurant and develop the business further • EPC rating G

• Traditional Victorian railway hotel • Member of Best Western since 1982 and 3star VS • Been in the same family for over 40 years • 32 e/s rms, Function rm and Drawing rm • Lounge bar, Garden rm and Courtyard Bistro • Central location directly opposite Dumfries railway Station • Presented well with refurbishment programme in place • Increased turnover for last 3 years • EPC rating G







• Well-presented village hotel • Family owned for 25yrs with an excellent reputation • 14 e/s rms, cocktail bar, lounge bar & restaurant • Run under management with owner’s assistance • Ideal for a chef, family or multiple operator • Manager/owners flat, ample parking and close to M77 • 3 Star Visit Scotland and AA. • EPC Rating G

• Family hotel with picturesque waterfront setting • Located between A83 tourist route and Crinan Canal • 24 e/s rms, lounge, bar restaurant & conference room • Presented well, beer garden & parking • Views over Loch Gilp and Loch Fyne • Close to all amenities in Lochgilphead • Managers/owners flat • EPC Rating G



01 Glengoyne 15 Year Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

02 Tamdhu 10 Year Old Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky

The Glengoyne 15 Year Old has a depth and sweetness of dried fruit with bright tropical notes. Hints of lemon and pineapple reveal the influence of first-fill bourbon casks, balanced by the rich intensity of the signature sherry wood. Uncompromising in its pursuit of excellence, Glengoyne runs its stills slower than any other distillery and matures its range in the oak casks within traditional dunnage warehouses. Glengoyne keeps true to its past and to its taste.

This 10 Year Old is Tamdhu’s signature malt. With a natural colour and quality, it is matured in hand-selected sherry casks and boasts a warmth of toffee, bursting with fruit and spice, and an aroma of sugared almonds and vanilla. The quality of Tamdhu is defined by the hint of peat and that its water is drawn from the Tamdhu spring. Each drop is matured in European and American casks, many of which are first-fill.

03 Benromach 10 Year Old

Benromach handcrafts its single malt scotch whisky the time-honoured slow way. Benromach 10 Years Old is the heart of its range, perfect for whisky fans who favour water or straight. On its own you’ll be treated to a notes of sherry, apples, chocolate, raspberries and just a peaty taste. With just a drop or two of water, you can indulge in an aroma of charred oak and malt mixed with some pineapple and kiwi fruit. This classic Speyside malt continues the Benromach style of malts. The 10 year old is kept in 80% bourbon barrels and 20% sherry hogshead. For its final year it’s in first-fill Oloroso casks.

04 Tullibardine 228 Burgundy Finish 05 Glen Scotia Double Cask

06 Glenturret Sherry Cask Edition

This malt from a 1400s brewery, has a heritage to envy. It converted to a distillery in 1947 with the first spirit running off in 1949, doubling nearly 30 years later from 2 to 4 stills. Since November 2011, the distillery has been owned by an independent family company, and in the last 12 months, the Tullibardine 228 Burgunday Finish has been maturing in Chateau de Chassagne Montrachet Red Burgundy Casks - which at 228 litres in size, give it the unusual name. These casks create a delightful ruby colour, and also flavours of vanilla and light chocolate. Overall, this has a creamy richness with hints of red summer fruit.

Glen Scotia has revamped its range and introduced a new Double Cask expression solidifying its pedigree as a Cambeltown malt from the 1800s. The whisky is then finished in a combination of first fill bourbon barrels followed up to 12 months in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. This single malt smells very sweet to begin with but then merges into tastes of wood sugar, toffe and fudge meeting tastes of apple and peach before a charred note of bourbon creates a dry, dusty taste. Quite powerful, it also creates a tongue-tingling buzz. Adding water creates a touch of a minty taste. A deep and dark whisky worth trying for its heritage as much as anything.

Steeped in 240 years of history, Glenturret Distillery is the oldest working distillery in Scotland. This Sherry Edition has been matured in both Spanish and American Oak Sherry seasoned casks, delivering a sweet spiciness with a soft oak background. Homemade syrup sponge meets the nose with a sweetness and warmth that invites you in. Many reviewers have said that this whisky has a taste of the ‘Old School’, with its aromatic sandalwood and smooth, sweet spices. A taste of baked fruit - especially orange- with hints of candy and waffles with honey also come through. The Edrington Group has once again proved it knows how to bottle a favourite.

Visit www.tullibardine.


WHY PACARI CHOCOLATE? Pacari Chocolate, is an organic premium Ecuadorian chocolate. Winner of over 150 medals at the International Chocolate Awards since 2012 as the best dark chocolate in the world, and is the best one to be paired with Single Malt Whiskies from Scotland.

Some great malt whiskies to let your guest try this summer

Using single origin and fine flavour cacao beans that have complex aromas and notes that you never thought a chocolate could bring, Pacari Chocolate has won a reputation with single cask malt whisky experts at places like Single Malt Whisky Society (Queen Street,Vaults Leith) pairing single cask malt whiskies with Pacari Chocolates has been a huge success.

PIURA QUEMAZON 70%, SINGLE ORIGIN LIMITED EDITION Made with a unique albino cacao bean brings floral, fruity (citrusy) and caramel notes to your pallet. This bar was gold winner at International Chocolate Awards 2013 as the best dark chocolate in the world and since collected more medals in the following years.

07 Bladnoch Samsara The Samsara is a tribute to the rebirth of Bladnoch’s 200 year old distillery. Master Distiller Ian MacMillan hand selects every cask to bring together this single malt – full bodied and fragrant with a rich core and lingering tail. Created by blending Bladnoch single malts matured in first fill ex-bourbon casks and first fill ex-Californian red wine casks – both American Oak – to create a rich and smooth winey palate, it is crafted using only the purest ingredients – pristine water from the River Bladnoch and locally grown barley – Samsara is non-chill filtered, naturally coloured, and a composition of well-aged Bladnoch malts. visit

CUZCO PINK SALT & CACAO NIBS Chocolate is a natural companion for whisky, but to pair a single cask whisky with chocolate, it has to be exceptional and equally interesting as its spirit-mate. Pairing is first and foremost a matter of taste, nevertheless, a Cuzco Pink Salt paired with a Scottish West Coast Island whisky ensures that both products have origins echoing both rarity and exclusivity.

08 Gordon & MacPhail Glentauchers 1996

Gordon & MacPhail has used it 120 year experience to create Glentauchers 1996 single malt. With light sherry influences mixed with stewed apple and candied fruit aromas, this malt has a pleasant pale colour. This belies the rich praline chocolate and toasted hazelnut tastes that develop on tasting. On the palate there is chilli spice initially, with an interesting mix of red apple, orange peel, and dark chocolate flavours. The full Gordon & MacPhail range is available at


Made with fine flavoured cacao bean from the Los Rios province in Ecuador, from the first moment red fruit notes on the nose will be complemented with an explosion of red fruits on the pallet, as the chocolate melts note of tropical spices and forest will make this a very complex chocolate Winner of the silver medal at last year (2016) International Chocolate Awards

Explore these or other of our single origin limited editions chocolates from Ecuador, Colombia and Peru made in Ecuador by Pacari with flavours of Scotland and their single malt whiskies. Use the following code for your first order and get a 10% discount HotelScotland, valid from the 14th June until the 22nd of July.


THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN Banqueting Managers can make or break a hotel’s reputation. This issue we look at some of Scotland’s elite – just some of the men and women who are responsible for 1,000’s of events every year from grand weddings to celebratory parties and much more. BY LISA CLIFFORD


Conference and Banqueting Manager, Double Tree By Hilton Glasgow Age: 55 Number of events a year: 1000 + Managing: 4 full time and 70 casual staff Largest event: 1200 How long have you been a banqueting manager? 9 years at this property but about 25 years in total. How did you get in to hospitality? I had an office job and worked part time in The Theatre Royal for Scottish Opera for their events and decided to make it my full time career. After that I went to Parklands, The Concert Hall, The RAC Club and The Hilton Glasgow. I joined The Thistle in 2008 and now that it has become a Hilton I’ve come full circle. What’s been your most memorable event? There have been so many but I will always remember serving Princess Diana at The RAC Club- she was a lovely person. We had Bill Clinton and Goldie Hawn at The Hilton. 14 • HOTELSCOTLAND • JUNE 2017

They were really good fun and spoke to all the staff.

and I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved with such a huge number of people.

What’s been the most unusual request you’ve had for an event? Unusual requests are a normal thing but at one really posh event a guest asked if he could have egg and chips for his meal so I made sure he got it.

What’s the hardest part of the job? It can be hard keeping staff motivated and keeping the service fresh for every guest so I’m always interested to hear new ideas from staff particularly what the catering students are learning at college.

What’s been your proudest moment at work? Every year we have over 1000 guests from the hospitality industry for The Benevolent Society Dinner. At the end I sand back with my staff

Do you have any tips for aspiring banqueting managers? Work with your team and work with your guests to make sure you know what they really want. It takes a lot of planning to deliver great events.



Conference and Banqueting Manager, Apex Dundee What’s been the most unusual request you’ve had for an event? Special requests are just part of the job. I was once asked to make sure there was no tomato sauce at a wedding because the bride had a phobia. We had to say we’d run out so no one knew the real reason.

Age: 31 Number of events a year: around 1,000 Manages: 12 contract permanent and 30 casual staff Capacity of largest event: 300 dinner or 400 conference or 700 when we get a marquee for two weeks in October

What’s been your proudest moment at work? My proudest moment was becoming conference and banqueting manager at the Apex but I am also very proud of my team.

How long have you been a banqueting manager? 2 years. In the last 10 years I worked up from supervisor to assistant manager. How did you get in to hospitality? I did a degree in Business Management at St Andrews University but felt I always wanted a job where I could take care of people so started with a catering job at St Andrews University. I worked at Norton House, Edinburgh University and The St Andrews Old Course before the Apex so I have had really varied experience of very different operations. What’s been your most memorable event?

It would definitely be The Dundee Courier Business Awards. We normally have a capacity of 300 but this was for 700 so we had to get a marquee. It was months of organising, training and even sourcing equipment so the kitchen could deal with so many more than usual. We used staff from all different departments to help out. The preparation was like studying for an exam.

What’s the hardest part of the job? You have to sacrifice a lot in this job especially working Christmas and parties but I really love my job. Do you have any tips for aspiring banqueting managers? Be yourself and manage the way that suits you. I was told I was too accommodating to be a manager but that has helped me create a good team


Conference and Banqueting Manager, Meldrum House, Old Meldrum Age: 24 Number of events a year: 250+ Manages: 5 full time and 15 casual staff Capacity of largest event: 210 How long have you been a banqueting manager? 7 months. When I started working at Meldrum House in October 2015 I was taken on as an Assistant Banqueting Manager. It took me 12 months to get to the position I am today, which I absolutely love. How did you get in to hospitality? I studied International Tourism Management at Robert Gordon’s University while on the course I got the opportunity to go out on placement to The Marcliffe in Aberdeen. I then got a position there as Trainee Manager. It was a huge step in my career as I got to go around different departments for so many weeks.It developed me professionally too. What’s been your most memorable event? I would say the 2017 tourism conference. People think conferences can be boring, but

they don’t have to be if you have the right breakdown of breaks, interactivity and also food! We even had three mascots at the event. At the tourism conference we also had local suppliers who came to the event to serve and basically showcase their food. It was such a different way of doing things but it was great as it allowed people to walk about the hotel and interact with the suppliers as well as other delegates. What’s been the most unusual request you’ve had for an event? I haven’t had anything too crazy, not yet anyway, however there was one time a bridesmaid asked for something...(I’m not too sure if I can say)...let’s just say her request was granted. What’s been your proudest moment at work? My proudest moment would probably be Christmas Day when I was in charge of our very first carvery in our new ballroom. It can be quite daunting when you have new events, but it went so well, and not only was I proud of the flow of things but I was so proud of my team as they worked so well together. The

style of service was slightly different to what they are normally used to. What’s the hardest part of the job? The long hours. I do thoroughly enjoy my job but sometimes it can be hard to leave when you know you have guests in the hotel that need to be catered for. Do you have any tips for aspiring banqueting managers? Stay organised, be focused, eat properly and get rest! JUNE 2017 • HOTELSCOTLAND • 15


Conference & Banqueting Operations Manager, Hilton Glagow Age: 25 Events per year: 1000 + Managing: 15 permanent and 100 casual staff Largest event: 850

have a guy come in and ask ‘Where do you want the elephant?’ It was a full size inflatable elephant the client had arranged so a bit out of the ordinary.

How long have you been a banqueting manager? Nearly a year and a half at Hilton Glasgow and a year at Hilton Grosvenor Edinburgh before that.

What’s been your proudest moment at work? It gives me great pride to execute a successful event for the client. We had 850 guests for a charity dinner and looking round the room at the end of a great night with my team I was so proud of them.

How did you get in to hospitality? I started waitressing at Dunfermline Athletics’ home ground East End Park. I then studied International Business and Hospitality Management at Strathclyde University before undertaking the Hilton UK and Ireland Management Development Program. I got to train in every department to gain well rounded experience- you really get to understand how the different departments work.

Hilton Hotels as Boyzlife it was great because I’m a big fan. It was really strange to be working so closely with them.

What’s been your most memorable event? When Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy toured

What’s been the most unusual request you’ve had for an event? The bizarre does become normal but I did

What’s the hardest part of the job? Because of the size and scale of the operation we have a big team of staff of all ages and experience which takes some managing. Do you have any tips for aspiring banqueting managers? It’s all about organisation and preparation because you have to be ready for surprises. Make a plan and execute it with a smile.You need to have great relationships with clients to get repeat business.


Conference and Banqueting Manager, The Waterside Hotel Age: 24 Number of events: 140 Largest: 240

meal service, one of them would fall with a tray of cutlery and make a big scene to attract all the guests’ attention. I was then to go over and shout at this gent and make an even bigger scene before he then broke into song to everyone’s surprise. It couldn’t have gone better!

How long have you been a banqueting manager? 2 years. How did you get in to hospitality? I originally started as a server when I was 16 years old at one of SimpsInns’ other venues, The Gailes Hotel in Irvine, working events at weekends. I then moved to The Waterside shortly after it opened in 2011, which at the time only consisted of the one restaurant. Once here, I progressed through management levels from Supervisor to Trainee Duty Manager, to Duty Manager, to the position I now hold, Conference & Banqueting Manager. What’s been your most memorable event? The one that sticks out most has to be the McDowall Wedding. The groom, Lee, was a primary school teacher from Ayr. We had previously discussed the idea of bringing in his pupils during the speeches to sing for his bride Katy. I suggested that we hide them 16 • HOTEL SCOTLAND • JUNE 2017

behind our sliding glass doors and that he give me the nod at the right moment. The doors were pulled back for the class to be unveiled, ready to sing. It was especially memorable for three reasons; the children were fantastic, it went so smoothly, and the video footage was shown on ‘This Morning’! What’s been the most unusual request you’ve had for an event? Being asked to be part of the ‘singing waiters’ routine during a wedding was a particular highlight for me. They told me that during the

What’s been your proudest moment at work? I don’t think there is ‘one’ particular moment. As a collective, I am extremely proud every time we receive glowing feedback from a married couple. Our wall in the office which is covered in ‘Thank You’ cards is tribute to that. What’s the hardest part of the job? Delegation. I strive to be involved in every part of the running of an event. However, this isn’t always feasible due to the size of some events. Luckily, I have a fantastic team around me who are there to help in every situation. Do you have any tips for aspiring banqueting managers? Try and truly experience every part of banqueting before looking at just the management side of it.



Conference & Banqueting Manager, The Kingsmill Hotel Age: 27 Number of events a year: around 1000+ Managing: 5 full time employees and 30 casual staff Largest event: 500 How long have you been a banqueting manager? A year? How did you get in to hospitality? I started as a breakfast waitress at 17 and I then worked at The Redcliff and Bowford (both in Inverness) before I came to The Kingsmill. I have been developed here at the Kingsmill over a period of time where I am now Conference and Banqueting Manager What’s been your most memorable event? There have been so many. We hosted the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards for over 300 guests and there was a great buzz about the whole hotel. It was a very involved event and it all came together really well.

What’s been the most unusual request you’ve had for an event? We had a party say they weren’t bringing entertainment but could we leave the dance floor uncovered. Then they arrived with skateboards, laundry baskets and balloons and played a human version of Hungry Hippos. What’s been your proudest moment at work? Christmas day was a new experience for me and my team serving small family groups rather than a big event. It was lovely hearing the feedback from our guests about individual staff members and it was a great team effort. What’s the hardest part of the job? I love that every event is different but that means you don’t know quite what to expect. Getting regular sleeping patterns can be difficult but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Do you have any tips for aspiring banqueting managers?

You get out of the job what you put in to it so take every chance to get new experiences. I’m always happy to get involved with training or new opportunities


Conference & Banqueting Manager, Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa leading the Events team in the hotel for the last 3 years How did you get in to hospitality? I did my school work experience in a small country house hotel and I fell in love with the fast paced lifestyle and variety of tasks and people that I meet and I haven’t looked back.

Age: 27 Number of events a year: around 2000 Managing: 5 fulltime employees and 30 casual staff Largest event: 460

What’s been your most memorable event? My most memorable event was for an international pharmaceutical company where we hosted more than 200 of their guests in the hotel. The full conference took place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and the delegates stayed in nearly every hotel in the city. It was a great example of how we can all work together to host these international conferences. The hotel also acted as a host for their welcome buffet which was a Scottish Market for 800 guests.

How long have you been a banqueting manager? I have recently transitioned to the role of Conference & Banqueting Manager, after

What’s been the most unusual request you’ve had for an event? We are always happy to assist with our guests requests when we can – we have had

everything from our Edinburgh Suite playing host to a car for a European press launch for 15 days to one of our meeting rooms doubling up as a storage unit for cadavers (which we politely declined). What’s been your proudest moment at work? I’m very proud to have been part of the team that received the Award for “Banqueting team of the year 2017. What’s the hardest part of the job? Keeping up our 5-star service even when we are at full capacity – we have the largest conference space in the city, and often our staff to work under time constraints to turn our space from a meeting set up theatre style for 500 to a banquet for 460. Do you have any tips for aspiring banqueting managers? Being flexible and adaptable is key.You also have to be a good networker in order to connect with both guests and staff in a professional manner during stressful situations. JUNE 2017 • HOTELSCOTLAND • 17

18 years’ fine dining experience

Wants to make roots for his family in his native Glasgow Makes a mean soufflé

Does his Mise en Place to Mozart’s Requiem

Got inked to celebrate his Restaurant’s first culinary award

Our candidates know their stuff. And we know our candidates. At Ellis Mack, we work harder to source the right people for our clients, and we know a perfect match when we see one. We can’t vouch for their taste in music but we can vouch for their skills.


Ashmore joins Chris & Jeff Galvin at The Pompadour by Galvin Daniel Ashmore has been appointed head chef at The Pompadour by Galvin, located at the 5-star Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian. His appointment was revealed by Chris and Jeff Galvin who lead the team of chefs.

Radisson Blu Edinburgh has appointed of Melanie Nocher, 35, as Executive Assistant Manager. She will have key responsibility for the food and drink operation, working closely with senior colleagues, including Richard Mayne, General Manager of Radisson Blu Edinburgh and Rachel Perry, Hotel Revenue Development Manager. Nocher has been part of the Radisson brand within the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group for 15 years.

Daniel comes to the role with a wealth of culinary experience from many reputable establishments including Fischers at Baslow Hall, The Square in Mayfair, Restaurant Tom Aitkens and La Trompette. Daniel’s previous appointment was sous chef at Number One at The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh. Jeff Galvin commented, “Chris and I are very excited to welcome such a talented chef to the Pompadour. Daniel has an amazing pedigree and his knowledge of the Edinburgh culinary landscape make him a wonderful addition to our Scottish team.”

Referring to her move Nocher said, “I am thrilled to be part of the team that was recently recognised by Radisson as its hotel of the year for the UK, Ireland and Western Europe. There’s a terrific team work ethic and focus on the guest experience among all of the staff.’ ’ Paul Wood has recently been appointed General Manager of the ‘soon to be open’ Hampton by Hilton in Edinburgh’s West End operated by Interstate Hotels & Resorts . The new hotel which will open shortly, will have 228-bedrooms.

Daniel commented, “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work with Chris and Jeff Galvin at The Pompadour, one of the most beautiful dining rooms in the country. Also, to have the chance to showcase the best seasonal, Scottish ingredients I’ll be cooking with care and simplicity is a chef ’s dream.”

Macdonald Hotels & Resorts has promoted Keith Pickard to the role of Group Director of Golf, Leisure & Spa. Keith will now oversee each of the lifestyle departments of the award winning hotel group which boasts 45 hotels across the UK and Europe including 21 spas. Formerly the Director of Golf at Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, which he has held for two years, Keith has over 15 years of experience in sports and hospitality strategy and business development.

CORNHILL CASTLE TEAM RAISE FUNDS Members of the team at Cornhill Castle near Biggar, Lanarkshire have raised funds for charity by going over the top of one of Scotland’s most iconic landmarks and abseiling from the Forth Rail Bridge. The girls - Lindsay Collins, Ruth Campbell, Lauren Coyle, Alannah Norbury and Nicola Browning – raised £1,600.00 for Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland. The charity has been carefully selected by the Castle. One of their team members,

Nicola suffered a stroke in 2011, when she was 34. Nicola also took part in the abseil with her colleagues standing beside her in support. This event is just the first in a series of events that the hotel will be undertaking on behalf of the charity. Not to be outdone, some of the male members of the team will be doing a further abseil in October, and all staff currently donate 10% of their tips to the charity. Other events to be finalised include an afternoon tea and a tribute night in aid of the charity.

Commenting on the appointment, Keith Pickard says, “Spa and wellness play a major part in the Macdonald Hotels & Resorts business strategy so I’m extremely pleased to be taking on this role. Over the past few years there’s been significant investment into the spa facilities so my aim now is to enhance the customer journey through new and memorable experiences, amazing staff service and wonderful facilities.” James Anderson has joined Gleddoch Hotel, Spa & Golf as Operations Manager. He joins from Interstate Hotels & Resorts’ Hotel Indigo in Glasgow, where he held a similar position. Prior to that he was at Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel.



AROUND THE WORLD TO THE WALDORF Dale MacPhee has travelled the world to make her mark in her spiritual homeland. BY SUSAN YOUNG


ale MacPhee has been the General Manager of the five-star Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian for four and a half years, and during that time she has definitely made her mark. But then that probably wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows Dale. She’s dynamic and forthcoming and pretty frank too. When I met her, along with head of marketing Marina Cruz in the Peacock Alley, she told me, “I moved from Canada to Europe 20 years ago, but my background is definitely Scottish. She explains, “My great-grandparents emigrated from Scotland to Nova Scotia in the 1800s and I grew up in a household where Gaelic was spoken. We grew up singing Gaelic songs, and when I was at primary school we also learned Gaelic as our second language.” She was one of six children but was orphaned at an early age, when her mum died of cancer, and then her father was killed in a car accident a few years later. Says Dale, “It was all very traumatic and tragic. My sister Bonnie, who had just graduated, came back to Halifax to raise us. I definitely think the experiences I had when I was younger made me the way I am today. I have always been determined to do things better and be the best.” Dale has accomplished quite a few of her ambitions, the main one being that she always wanted to work overseas, but the hotel industry wasn’t her first choice. She explains, “I wanted either to go into law or join the diplomatic corp because I wanted to travel overseas. At the same time, I was heavily into politics. My dad had been into politics, and after he died I really got into it. I was studying Political Science at University when I got an internship with the Government of Canada. I worked in communications for members of the legislative assembly. After working hard on an election, which we subsequently lost, the members of the legislative assembly who had won their seats, invited us to lunch at the Hilton in Halifax. I was obviously now out of a job and at the lunch, someone suggested I got a summer job at the hotel. The very next morning I got a phone call from the Front of House manager, who remains one of my dearest friends today. I was invited in for an interview and a few days later I started on reception. It definitely wasn’t a career path that I had picked. I deferred law school because you know what it


is like when you start earning cash... and stayed there for two years. Then I was offered a promotion in Toronto and two years later I went to The Windsor in Ontario – which was my first casino hotel.” In 1997, six years after her first hotel job in Halifax, Dale received two phone calls – one of which was to change her life irrevocably. She turned down an offer to go to St Lucia in the Caribbean. She says, “What 29-year-old single girl wants to go to a honeymoon resort?” Instead, she accepted a job in Bucharest, Romania. Dale reveals, “I will never forget my first night in Bucharest. We were opening a brand new hotel, so I stayed in a poorly run hotel across the road. When I arrived late at night the guys on reception were watching football on TV, drinking and smoking! I couldn’t believe it. The following day I got food poisoning in a restaurant ... and I cried, in fact, I think I kept crying for the next 90 days. I couldn’t believe I had left my lovely life in Windsor for this!” The hotel that Dale was re-opening was the famous Athenee Palace. Dale tells me, “It was a very famous hotel during the war – the Russians, Germans and English had all stayed there. There have even been books written about it.” She continues, “I was looking to fill 50 jobs, and I had 1,000 resumes, many of which had photographs, I had never seen that before. It was 1997, eight years after the revolution. We screened the resumes then I did speed dating interviews with 400! I hired 50, four of whom had experience which meant 46 did not. I hired purely on attitude and fire in their eyes. But anyone that applied from the first hotel I had stayed at was immediately crossed off the list. Instead, I had people that worked for aerospace companies, car rental companies, even lawyers. They were not your typical hotel types. That was August and by October we opened. By the time Dale left Bucharest, after three years, she had been promoted from Director of Sales and Marketing to Director of Business Development. She also met her now husband-to-be there. He had flown in from Switzerland to take up the training manager’s job in Bucharest before being posted to Sudan in Africa. Dale’s next position was in Prague where she stayed for a further two years, during which time, she became a mother.


“ I definitely think the experiences I had when I was younger made me the way I am today. I have always been determined to do things better and be the best.”


FEATURE of the senior management now comes from a luxury background, and if not their number two does. She continues, “I prefer to hire people that want to be here.” She illustrates her point by asking me to observe a nearby member of staff, Shiva. Says Dale, “Just look at the smile on her face. Do you know a guest actually called me last night to compliment Shiva on her demeanour?”

“I absolutely love it. It has been five years in January and I just think Edinburgh is a super fantastic city – from a hotel perspetive, from life to schools. The balance is just right here.”

She adds, “My son was born in Prague, and I spent a couple of months maternity between Sudan and Khartoum before being offered my next post in Istanbul as Director of Business for two hotels.” Roll on another two years and London beckoned. A call came offering Dale a position at the Hilton on Park Lane. She says, “I went on to spend nine years in the city. Firstly at the Hilton Park Lane (four years) – which was a great learning experience, then at the Trafalgar House in Trafalgar Square, directly opposite Canada House. It was at Trafalgar House that I got my first General Manager role. It was more a lifestyle hotel than a Hilton. It had a really funky bar – and sales were less about the rooms and more about the bar.” Next on the career path was a role opening the new Waldorf Astoria at London Syon Park. Dale explains, “This was the hotel on the estate of the Duke of Northumberland. I stayed for two years, then a call came asking me to go to Edinburgh, and who was going to refuse Edinburgh?” She says, “I absolutely love it. It has been five years in January and I just think Edinburgh is a super fantastic city – from a hotel perspective, from life to schools. The balance is just right here. “ Talking of balance Dale is quite adamant that you can have a work life balance and run a hotel. She says, “It’s nonsense that you cannot have a work life balance. I always knew that I wanted to get married and I always wanted to have children, and my life would be so different if I did not have my son. He and my husband balance me out. Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian was refurbished just before Dale came on board, but the key difference over the last five years has been the reemergence of the hotel as one of the Edinburgh’s most luxurious hotels, with service to match. However, Dale admits that getting the right staff is her most pressing issue. She explains, “We employ over 200 people. Most


Training, of course, is also a big issue. Explains Dale, “It’s all about training, training, training but staff have to have a bit of a personality too. The big thing at the moment is getting my team to say what they would like to see, and how they would drive it forward. I do know most of my team, and I think I have good communication with them. I try and meet with every new team member within six weeks of them joining. We give staff recognition and I think this helps – they know if they do a good job they will get recognised. We have team members of the month, we have rising stars and such like.” At this point, Marina interjects, “Dale is very good at giving staff their first departmental head roles. Some GM’s wouldn’t take the risk.” “But”, says Dale, “Somebody once gave me a chance.” She adds, “I think one of the problems is that people still don’t think hospitality is a career, but I think I have had a fantastic career. You can get some challenging locations but you can get some great ones.” Dale acknowledges that hotels in Edinburgh are generally having a good year, despite January, February and November being low. She says, “Over the five years I have been here we have expanded the window, and it is getting greater. I do wish we had more direct flights from China, the Middle East and America. However, I have to say in the years that I’ve been here the changes at the airport have been astronomical and it can only get better”. It’s not just the airport that is improving, Dale has plans for the hotel too. She says, “In September it will be five years since we became a Waldorf, and I think it is now time to re-think and re-group. I’ve currently got a number of different bedroom projects on the go, as well as some new dining projects. I’ve also had a number conversations around design which would be a multi-million pound spend.” As for Dale, after five years at the helm, and it has been her longest appointment, but she has no plans to move...yet. She tells me, “It’s funny. I had wanted to take my son back to the States, but now that he has turned 15 I have promised him I will not take him out of school – so that will be another three years! I am very loyal to my organisation. The Hilton has given me a lot of chances – unique destinations and great hotels. I’ve no desire to look outside my organisation but I would like to try different markets.” She continues, “Part of me would like to open my own place where I grew up. I would love to own my own inn with a ranch – my family owns land on the sea... whether we do that I don’t know. But I do know that one day I will go to law school. I will be the 60-year-old at the back of the class. She concludes, “I am proud that I have presided over the repositioning of the hotel, and of my other hotel achievements. I am proud of my son and my husband. But it has not been an easy ride, I have had to work hard for everything that I have got but I am very proud of the fact that I did it on my own with a number of mentors along the way. But most of all I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t enjoy what I do.”


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oing green used to be regarded with a mixture of scepticism and cynicism: being eco-friendly cost too much, didn’t offer enough of a return on the initial investment and wasn’t really going to save the planet, even if it did keep the hippies and tree-huggers happy. Today sustainability is something we are all familiar with and the benefits are far more tangible. Thanks to a raft of government grants and loans, investing in green energy and technology is more achievable, the cost savings speak for themselves and it presents another marketing opportunity as consumers become more sustainability-savvy themselves. TRIP Advisor’s 2013 TRIPBarometer survey revealed that 79% of travellers place importance on properties implementing eco-friendly practices – so you definitely do not want to get left behind. Andrea Nicholas, Managing Director of Green Tourism, believes the case for eco-friendly hotels is compelling. She explains, “Being a sustainable business is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ but increasingly an essential brand value for the hospitality industry – reduced energy costs, improved customer proposition and playing a part in protecting the planet all create a compelling case for an environmentally friendly approach to business.” Andrea says the first thing to do is set up a baseline to establish where your business is in terms of resource efficiency (electricity, gas and water) and waste management so that you can prioritise what to tackle first.

Key areas to look at include energy consumption, recycling and food waste, although relatively simple changes like replacing high energy bulbs with LED alternatives could save you up to 90% on energy bills and bulb costs. Jonathan Reeves, Operations Director of utilities management company eyebright, says green energy is cheaper than people might think. He explains, “Embracing the opportunity to support green energy is something all business should strongly consider. Making your next energy contract a “green” one may not be as expensive as you think. The margin between brown energy and green energy has reduced significantly in the last 12 months to a point where the difference is only around 0.2 pence per kWh on average and if you also factor in that you can remove the Climate Change Levy from you bill surely that is a small price to pay to be able to proudly state you are a green energy user? “Installing a smart meter and working with experts who can help you identify where and when you are wasting energy can save you a lot of money and put your conscience at ease.” Managing Director Jamie Newall adds, “Hotels, particularly those that are in rural locations and lack mains gas supply can often benefit from looking at scope to generate their own energy. Traditionally people thought mainly of solar, wind and hydro; but there are an array of green technologies now including biomass, Combined Heat & Power (CHP) and heat pumps. There will be increased scope for hotels to go off grid JUNE 2017 • HOTELSCOTLAND • 25

FEATURE in the next decade.” Resource Efficient Scotland has helped hotels including Turnberry Resort in Ayrshire, the West Highland Hotel in Mallaig and Fairmont St Andrews, in Fife, boost their market competiveness and profits by using less energy, water and raw materials. The organisation offers free support and unsecured, interest free loans of up to £100,000 to implement changes – repayable against cost savings. At Turnberry, the greatest energy saving so far has been achieved by installing high efficiency light

with a further 21% coming from spoilage – but a whopping 34% is food left on diners’ plates – with the main reason cited for this is that portion sizes are too big. When Crieff Hydro, in Perthshire, signed up to the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement (HaFSA), a voluntary pledge initiated by WRAP, it sparked a major change in their approach to food waste – and has the added benefit of yielding major savings too. Alexandra MacDonald, the hotel’s support services and environmental manager, began by carrying out an eight-week waste monitoring audit to see exactly how much food was being thrown away.

“I saw the economic argument and I saw the environmental argument and that I could make them both work to my advantage.” • Steve Macfarlane

emitting diode (LED) lighting across around 70% of the resort’s total lighting. Through this upgrade, the resort is saving £12,000 a year, expected to rise to £17,000 when the work is completed. Meanwhile the West Highland Hotel is saving almost £20,000 a year on its energy bills after installing a new biomass fuelled boiler and additional plans to replace the existing electric heating in the bedrooms with a wet heating system could see these savings double to nearly £40,000. At Fairmont St Andrews effective waste and energy management has saved £209,000 over a four-year period. The hotel has also increased food recycling and has an on-site green house and vegetable garden. LED lighting has been fitted in all public areas and rooms and in January the resort joined the Clean the World hospitality initiative, whereby its soaps and discarded hygiene products will be recycled for humanitarian organisations around the world. Waste reduction charity WRAP estimates that food waste still costs the hospitality industry £2.5billion a year. They calculate that 45% of food wastage happens during food preparation, 26 • HOTELSCOTLAND • JUNE 2017

The results were staggering – the Meikle restaurant was wasting around 70 loaves of bread every week and when left-over jam was factored in too it meant that they were literally throwing away around £7,000 a year.

Alexandra explains, “When we started to really look at the amount of food waste we began to get an insight into just how much money we were effectively putting in the bin on a daily basis. We implemented small changes, like changing the size of the food containers at breakfast and focusing on small batch preparation, which, when combined with a change in the way we measure waste, made a huge impact.” By installing a toaster on the buffet bar so that guests decide their portion size, using smaller bloomer loaves and swapping jam pots for slightly smaller containers, they have been able to make significant savings. Since the pilot, the hotel has made annual savings of almost £52,000, which rises to £75,000 when waste disposal, labour and procurement costs are also taken into account. Alexandra adds, “Looking at ways that we can operate more efficiently does have its benefits for the business but at Crieff Hydro it’s more than just how it impacts the bottom line. We’re located in the heart of the countryside and we want to protect that as much as possible. Our ‘green culture’ is one that has been adopted not just by the kitchen staff, but by departments across the resort. Even our guests are encouraged to play their part by donating £1 from their stay to our visitor payback scheme.”

The remote Glenuig Inn, on the Sound of Arisaig, has been a 100% renewable energy business with zero carbon emissions since 2015 and energy costs have been reduced from 11% of turnover to just 2.25%. It has held Gold Status from the Green Tourism Business Scheme since 2011 and Director Steve Macfarlane has won a string of awards – including a VIBES Micro Business Award last year – for its exemplary record on environmental sustainability. The building itself has been renovated and upgraded to make it highly energy efficient, with passive venting to maximise heat transfer, green electricity from local hydro schemes, and a biomass boiler which provides all the heat and water. Food waste has been reduced by changing the menu and supply chain management – but when it does occur it is dried and sterilised then mixed in with the wood pellet biomass in the boiler – and packaging waste has been reduced too. Steve explains, “The main driver is bottom line pure and simple – it just makes good financial sense. My business is far more profitable as a result of what we have done, so it’s a very simple calculation. “I saw the economic argument and I saw the environmental argument and that I could make them both work to my advantage. “It’s not just about physical changes to the building, it’s not just about the technology we deploy it’s also about changing our working practices, how we do things and engaging staff and customers. “Yes, there is a capital requirement and there is a small premium on the investment but the returns are significant if you get it right and if you look at whole system-wide application of it, not just single technology. Taking a holistic approach is what drives the savings.” Janie Neumann,VisitScotland’s Industry Development Manager for Sustainability, agrees that the bottom line is often a key factor when it comes to going green. She explains, “Hotels usually have quite significant costs as far as energy, water and waste goes, so initially one of the main motivations to look at sustainability is resource efficiency and potential cost savings, which often go straight to the bottom line.” Kay Smith, Facilities Manager at Lisini Pub Co, believes it is crucial to get staff on board. The firm set up ‘Green Teams’ at each of their four venues who compete to see who can save the most energy and recycle the most. Kay says, “The first year we did it, the three bigger venues saved enough energy to power our smallest venue for a year. That really helped staff to grasp what a difference they were making.” Going green is no longer a whim or a luxury; sustainability makes sense financially as well as being good for the planet. Given the raft of financial support and expert help on offer, can anyone afford not to get on board?

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hen the team at Seamill Hydro, in Ayrshire, embarked on ambitious plans to completely remodel their wedding and conference facilities, they all agreed on two things. Firstly, that they should make the most of the hotel’s stunning views over the Firth of Clyde to Arran and secondly, that they wanted to draw on their collective experiences to create the perfect day for each one of the 100-plus couples who tie the knot with them every year. The result – the stunning £6.5million Firth Pavilion – was four years in the making, including two years on the build itself. It is part of a wider project to move all the Victorian venue’s main

revenue-generating areas to the front of the hotel, to make the most use of that view. Iain Silver, General Manager, explains, “We’ve always had a very good wedding market but our old conference and banqueting facility was rear facing so you would come down to the front for drinks and the rest of your day was up at the back of the hotel with a scenic view of the car park. “When the opportunity arose the concept was to move everything to face the front. It’s a project that we’ve been doing progressively for the last six years as the restaurant used to be rear facing as well. “There are few places that have a location and a view like this – it’s a unique selling point. The whole idea was to create a venue that made JUNE 2017 • HOTELSCOTLAND • 29


the best possible use of the view and after that to create a wedding venue that took in the very best elements of what we had all experienced. “Basically we sat down with a blank piece of paper and sketched out what the ideal wedding venue would be. Then we started from the kitchen and worked our way out to create a venue that would operate seamlessly. The whole point was that it shouldn’t just look good, it should work well too.” This latest phase of the project involved demolishing a building and the old reception area and then creating a whole new facade, including the spectacular automatic revolving glass doors that guests enter the building through today. It was a huge task, made trickier because the hotel sits on a hill that slopes down to the sea and it cost £500,000 just to get the ground level to the point where they could actually starting building on it. Neil McColm, Managing Director of McColm Civil & Structural Engineers, explains, “We essentially designed the foundations, retaining walls and the superstructure. It was an interesting solution because due to the existing site levels we chose to design an engineered retained platform to facilitate the installation of 30 • HOTELSCOTLAND • JUNE 2017

piled foundations. “Structurally it was very challenging because of the shape and because of the large spans involved over two floors– obviously you want uninterrupted views during a wedding, so you don’t have any internal columns within the main function suite.” With the structure complete, Iain and his team could focus on the inside, starting with the grand atrium. Reception is to the right, while to the left is a lounge area, furnished in the same neutral tones and swirling damask patterns that are signature throughout. The space has a calm, luxurious feel and is bright and airy thanks to large windows and four big roof lights. Immediately ahead of the entrance is an impressive twin sandstone staircase with a decorative metal balustrade, which goes up three storeys and culminates in a central tower perfect for indoor wedding photographs. A feature light fitting manufactured by Wired Electrical, of Glasgow, spans a five-metre drop at the top staircase. Made up of laser-cut leaves, broken up with crystals in between, it has lights that shine through, creating interesting shadows. Lighting consultant Solus Solutions also helped

“Structurally it was very challenging because of the shape and because of the large spans involved over two floors– obviously you want uninterrupted views during a wedding, so you don’t have any internal columns within the main function suite.” NEIL McCOLM


DESIGN It was a pleasure working alongside the team at Seamill Hydro to create the magnificent wedding pavilion concept & interior. We wish the Sweeney family and everyone at Seamill Hydro all the very best for the future ahead.

Interior Design Consultants 10 Design Ltd, Titan Enterprise, Queens Quay, Glasgow. T: +44 (0) 141 951 7827

McColm Civil & Structural Engineers are proud to have supported The Seamill Hydro for their new development... McColm Civil & Structural Engineers Mission Hall 2A Waterloo Road Prestwick KA9 2AA 01292 737224


FOCUS SEAMILL with the design.

the room is flooded with natural light.

There is also a huge abstract seascape which was specially commissioned for the space – and serves as a promise of what is to come. Smaller abstracts, supplied by Artistic Licence and Indigo Art, feature throughout the rest of the building too.

Liz McNeill, Director of interior design consultants 10 Design, based in Glasgow, says, “Our main aim was to create a very neutral palette and an interior that had impact but didn’t have a garish over-powering colour scheme, which can be quite off-putting, especially to the wedding market.

Upstairs the ceremony room, which can accommodate just over 200 guests, has four huge windows, which run floor to ceiling and almost wall to wall and showcase the coastline. Two of the windows slide right back and the glass balustrade outside means the vista is uninterrupted. Timber panels add form and subtle shadows to the taupe walls, while bespoke crystal wall lights with a late Deco influence add glamour. On the floor, the use of two bordered panels, cut to mirror each other to the last millimetre, creates a rug effect and staff even use a laser liner to ensure that the chairs – by Excalibur Furniture – are arranged perfectly. The metal-framed chairs are finished with a wood grain effect, while a beautiful fan-style design on the outer backs negates the need for fussy seat covers. Across the foyer lies the private entrance to the Glenashdale Suite, a place where brides can enjoy the last night before their big day. Here the colour scheme is still quite subtle – albeit with more plum colours – but the space is also busier – with full length mirrors, a drinks station, mini-bar and 55-inch TV screen just for starters. The bedroom, which has four single beds, has a feature headboard with faux leather panels – and a 42-inch TV – while two sofas in the lounge area pull out into double beds. Iain Silver explains, “We wanted this to be somewhere the bride can have a night with the girls the night before her wedding – a pyjama party – and we serve them brunch in the morning before they get ready for the day.” The suite includes a massive bathroom – complete with a 32-inch waterproof TV – and all the wardrobes have huge hanging spaces for dresses and there are three hair and make-up stations too.

“Even though each room feels different, the fact that there isn’t a complete change in colour scheme creates a much better flow.” LIZ McNEIL

But it is the other little details that really make it special – Hollywood-standard M&K speakers and even a broadcast camera so the bride can see her guests arriving while she finishes getting ready. The images can also be displayed on any of the TVs at the venue – as well as streamed live to anyone who is unable to make the day in person. After the ceremony, the bride and groom use a ‘secret staircase’ to make a grand entrance into the Firth Suite, stepping through fretcut panelled doors onto a small stage where guests can see them easily. Their music starts playing and ceiling lights come on in sequence, following them out as they make their way across the room. Behind the top table is – once again – that stunning view, framed by huge windows so that

“We used taupe and neutral tones and then combined a dark mauve, plum colour without having too much of it but creating lots of contrasts. The carpets were custom commissioned, working with Ulster Carpets to create a subtle scroll damask and the soft furnishings were tonal damask fabrics. “Even though each room feels different, the fact that there isn’t a complete change in colour scheme creates a much better flow.” The Pavilion incorporates the most up-to-date technology – a staggering 16km of cabling is testament to that – without compromising on the elegant, classic feel of this fabulous wedding and conference venue. Features include high-end ‘mood’ lighting, which can be set to match colour themes or occasions, shading, video, and audio and security equipment. Lairds of Troon have created a fully integrated two-button control panel, on an iPad, which enables staff to enhance the space, while signage panels on either side of the conference doors into the ceremony room upstairs can be customised to display any messages. Microphones have been sunk into the ceiling above the top table so that they don’t get in the way during speeches and similarly music speakers have also been concealed within the walls so that they are unobtrusive. Mark Laird, CEO of Lairds, explains, “Our brief was to help the client create an individual experience within the complex every time and for every bride and groom, using technology to enhance that.” Bands no longer have to spend hours setting up their own mixing desks either as there is one installed already. The bar, which is completely separate from the rest of the hotel, is off the function room, but quite open so guests can chill out while still hearing everything – and they can even see it on screen too. Outside a set of steps is perfect for group photographs, while a specially-created Victorian shield garden provides the setting for more intimate snaps, with white garden benches, roses, lavender and a folly made from stone retained from one of the buildings that was demolished. The attention to detail really is phenomenal – and it shows in the offering. With such a team of perfectionists behind the Firth Pavilion, the only surprise is that it didn’t take them longer. JUNE 2017 • HOTELSCOTLAND • 33


PERLE HOTELS LAUNCH THEIR SECOND LUXURY HOTEL ON WEST COAST OF SCOTLAND Perle Hotels have opened the Perle Oban Hotel, on the site of the former Oban Caledonian hotel, in Station Square in the town, creating the first four-star hotel in the area. Purpose built as a hotel in 1882, the Perle Oban has been sensitively refurbished by ICA Architects and Interior Designers to retain the majority of its original features but to also maximise the hotel’s positioning opposite the harbour. 34 • HOTELSCOTLAND • JUNE 2017

Perle Hotels acquired the 60 room hotel in October 2016, with backing from the Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and is believed to have invested millions in the revamp.

traditions but brings the luxurious atmosphere bang up to date. A new restaurant – Restaurant 1882 – has been created to complement the cafe bar, Brew & Co.

Internally, beautiful cornicing and plasterwork have been highlighted with a contemporary colour and textural palette to reflect the breath-taking seascapes that can be seen from the guestroom windows. ICA has used neutral materials that have been locally sourced, and used contemporary patterns which reflect local

Project Name & Brand: Perle Oban Hotel Location: Oban, Argyll & Bute, Scotland No. of bedrooms: 59 Client: Perle Hotels Ltd Contractor: Thomas Johnstone Ltd

Congratulations on the opening of the magnificent Perle Hotel in picturesque Oban, it has been a pleasure working with you and we wish you every success!

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LOOK OUT FOR BLUEBERRY & LIME Kopparberg has expanded its range with Blueberry & Lime fruit cider. The latest addition to its signature range is available in 500ml bottles and has an ABV of 4%, Kopparberg’s newest flavour say the company, “packs in the brand’s fresh fruit taste of delicious blueberry and zesty lime”. The new variant is best served chilled over mountains of ice with a garnish of fresh lime.

SUMMER EDITION ROSE ROCK Dunnet Bay Distillery, the UK”s most northerly mainland distillery has launched its Summer Edition Rock Rose Gin. As with the original Rock Rose Gin, it hails from the most northerly distillery in mainland Britain, Dunnet Bay Distillery, which is located in the bay of Dunnet where the freshest of air and purest of water are in abundance. The Summer Edition features the same base botanicals as the multi award-winning Rock Rose Gin but with some new seasonal additions. These include meadowsweet and elderflower to bring a light floral note to the gin, lemon balm which brings a complex citrus flavour and clover to add notes of tangy, sweet, lemongrass. The signature ceramic bottle has also been given a fresh look for summer.

MORGENROT ADDS MORE BAG TO ITS CRAFT BEER LINE UP Morgenrot has further bolstered its world craft beer portfolio after signing an agreement to distribute Pang Pang beers from Sweden. The four-strong range of the Pang Pang beers includes the Shower Beer, Tiki Tango Pale Ale, Golden Glock Fruit IPA and the Flamingo-Go IPA. Set up in 2010 by lone brewer Fredrik Tunedal, Pang Pang is the oldest craft brewery in Stockholm.


Rob Salvesen, Senior Marketing Manager at Kopparberg says, “The arrival of Kopparberg Blueberry & Lime marks a significant step in our story, as this new exciting variant offers fruit cider drinkers a wider choice in our portfolio. We expect to see Blueberry & Lime become a permanent fixture in the Kopparberg family with early performances proving extremely positive.”

GLEN SCOTIA 25-YEAR-OLD SETS SAIL Campbeltown distillery, Glen Scotia, has added a 25-year-old single malt to its range which has been bottled at 48.8% ABV. Founded in 1832, Glen Scotia distillery is one of three surviving distilleries in Campbeltown, which is one of Scotland’s five recognised regions of Scotch whisky production. The Argyll town was known as the “Victorian Whisky Capital of the World” when there were over 30 distilleries operating on the Kintyre Peninsula. Michael Henry, who is Master Blender for Loch Lomond Group, owners of Glen Scotia, comments, “I created the 25 year old with the history of Campbeltown in mind. For many years, trade has come through this port town bringing fruits and spices from all over the world on its salty sea breezes. I wanted the liquid to reflect this. “The signature nose has hints of vanilla oak, interwoven with subtle notes of sea spray and spicy aromatic fruits. On the palate, it boasts tangy orange and juicy red apples mixed with a caramel sweetness. Its finish is a long lingering taste of sea salt with a spicy note of ground ginger.” The whisky will retail at £250 for a 70cl bottle.

FREIXENET LAUNCHES PROSECCO Freixenet, world-renowned Cava producer and sparkling wine expert, has launched a brand new Prosecco. Freixenet Prosecco which has been created using only the finest Glera grapes from the Veneto region, has fresh floral and citrus aromas, along with flavours of ripe lemon, green apple and grapefruit. This supreme quality is mirrored in the packaging, with the wine being presented in a stylish and striking cut-glass bottle, which is sure to stand out. Liza Madrigal, Marketing Director UK for Freixenet, said, “Freixenet Prosecco is not just another Prosecco. It’s a high quality product, created via extensive research into every aspect of this hugely popular varietal; from the liquid itself, to the packaging. We’re confident in this new product bringing us even closer to becoming the number one choice for sparkling wine with consumers, whilst continuing to add value to the category.”



The Benromach Distillery Company Ltd has won a gold medal in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) for its bottling The Benromach 35 Years Old.

Belvoir Fruit Farms is introducing a cheery ‘Hello Summer’ limited edition version of its Elderflower Pressé to coincide with the start of the elderflower harvest an event which is vital to the brand’s success. The eye catching ‘Hello Summer’ label combines delicate illustrations of elderflowers with another classic symbol of summer, the sunflower and will be available from 29 May. Hand-made at Belvoir using handfuls of freshly picked flowers, zingy, pressed lemon juice and lightly sparkling spring water, Belvoir’s Elderflower Pressé is a refreshing taste of summer – delicious alone with ice, or mixed with gin for a cooling aperitif. And like all Belvoir’s drinks it contains no artificial flavourings, preservatives, colourings or sweeteners.

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Handcrafted using the finest ingredients at the Forres distillery, Benromach 35 Years Old was laid down to mature in the 1980s before the Urquhart family revived the distillery in 1998. Golden amber in colour, Benromach 35 Years Old (ABV 43%) is a most satisfying Speysider with cinnamon hints and beeswax polish, stewed pear and a delicate charred Oak edge. Keith Cruickshank, Distillery Manager, said: “Receiving this award from some of the industry’s most influential experts is a great achievement and recognises the high quality of our handcrafted Speyside whiskies. To have this whisky and others in our portfolio rewarded with this global recognition is testament to the skill and quality we ensure goes into everything we produce.”

DOUBLE GOLD FOR GLASGOW DISTILLERY Glasgow’s first gin and single malt distillery since 1902 has received two golds at the World Spirits Competition. It received a double gold medal for its Independent Bottling Prometheus 27-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Best Independent Single Merchant. Gin also brought home success for the distillery as their limited edition Makar Mulberry Wood aged gin picked up a silver medal. Distillery Gold. Liam Hughes, Co-Founder and CEO of The Glasgow Distillery Company, said, “At Glasgow Distillery Company one of our main aims is to ensure everything we release - whether the wonderful craft products made at the distillery, or Independent Bottlings we have meticulously sourced - are exceptional for our customers, and these three awards are a testament that. A limited edition offering, Makar Mulberry Wood Aged Gin, is made by filling Mulberry Wood casks with Glasgow Distillery’s Makar Glasgow gin and then storing it for approximately 10 weeks before bottling.

BESPOKE MIXER FROM SEKFORDE Sekforde Drinks is challenging the dominance of the gin and tonic with the launch this month of a new bespoke mixer that brings out the botanical flavours of craft gins rather than masking them in quinine and sugar. Sekforde for Gin is an all-natural blend of English garden botanicals. Raspberry, sage and rose extracts give it a soft, natural sweetness, complementing the intense flavour of the juniper which gives gin its unique taste. The launch of the gin mixer takes the Sekforde range to three, following the successful launch of Sekforde Rum and Whiskey mixers at the start of 2017. Each lightly carbonated 200ml serving has fewer than 40 calories per bottle, meaning customers stay under 100 calories with a standard spirit single and under 150 calories with a standard double – less than a large glass of wine or a pint of beer. The mixers also come in well below the proposed sugar tax threshold, with no artificial sweeteners, flavours or preservatives. Branded glassware and POS promoting the serves are available.

SOUTHERN COMFORT PACKAGING REVAMP Southern Comfort has revamped its packaging with a new strapline, “The Spirit of New Orleans,” a nod to the brand’s 140 year connection to the city. Other improvements to the brand include the introduction of a robust 100 proof (50% ABV) expression specifically developed for the UK on-trade, in addition to the existing Southern Comfort Original 35% ABV variant. The bottles have been made taller and narrower but retain their iconic fluted shoulders. Dan Bolton, managing director of distributor Hi-Spirits, said, “Southern Comfort in the UK is the same high quality, premium spirit that it has always been, with whiskey at the heart of the recipe and its roots and heritage in New Orleans.”




The Annual HIT Dinner took place at The Hilton Glasgow at the beginning of June and proved to be a great success as usual. More than 400 people attended and thoroughly appreciated The Fire and Ice theme. Industry veteran Stephen Carter OBE, General Manager of the Old Course at St Andrew’s, was recognised by his industry peers with a Lifetime Achievement Award. See right. For all the pictures check out the HIT Scotland website.





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CHECKOUT The guys at HIT have had a busy couple of months – not least because as usual Chief Executive David Cochrane has thrown himself into the thick of things. Nothing like leading by example and he has certainly done that. First up was the annual HIT football tournament – HIT the Net, which he played in, then he decided to Walk the Great Wall of China called HIT the Wall with a host of others who raised in the region of £40K for the charity – which is just amazing and they managed to make it back in time for the HIT Glasgow Annual Dinner. It makes me feel guilty for missing it! Well done everyone!

Nick Jones Soho House team have been quite brave. They have called their newest hotel, The Ned! While that may not be a term used by posh Englanders, the fact that Nick is married to Scot Kirsty Young she should have alerted him to the fact that the name of the new hotel, has different connotations for us Scots! However, bearing in mind that they spent around £200m converting the building, which was designed by Sir Edwin ‘Ned’ Lutyens in 1924, into a sumptuous 252 bed hotel featuring an open-air pool on the roof, nine restaurants, umpteen bars, a massive gym, vast spa, manicure rooms, hair salons and more, I think the chances of any ‘Neds’ checking in are fairly remote. It is a stunning hotel.

The Fairmont St Andrews has launched Aqua Yoga classes and it believes it is the first hotel in Scotland to do so. I must admit I’m a yoga convert but I can hardly believe that there is not another hotel doing it? Really? If that is the case, then the Fairmont, hopefully, is the first of many! Sarah McLaughlin, founder of Hot House Yoga, who is running the classes says, “I believe yoga brings everyone together and helps to leave your daily stresses to one side and be really present in the moment. I am really excited to launch the hotel’s first Aqua Yoga class which will be a full body workout that will leave bodies stretched and minds refocused.” I’m sure she is right.

Aberdeen Hotel Association has re-elected its Chair and Vice Chairs. Gary Atkinson of the Carmelite Hotel has been reelected as Chair, with Bill Burnett, Holiday Inn,Westhill, and Andrew Martin of Robert Gordon University now Joint Vice Chairs. The team plan to build on the successes of last year while they are also embarking on a host of other initiatives including the 42 • HOTELSCOTLAND • JUNE 2017

FROM THE EDITOR launch and promotion of the newly created Hotel Association Bed Bank which allows the association’s partners to bid on the region’s behalf for international events and to guarantee bed spaces. Says Bill Burnett, “That’s a powerful negotiating chip we’ve never had before. Joined up thinking and action.” While Andrew Martin said, ““The Hotel Association goes from strength to strength. This is a vote of confidence from members in Gary, Bill, myself and the new Executive working with us. We’re now very well connected, and have credibility nationally. The next year will bring greater marketing initiatives with partners, but will also see Hotel General Managers in the Association coming together to learn and develop.”