The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Monday, 29 October 2007

Western House Hotel in Ayrshire Scotland
wins Scottish Thistle Award

THE Western House Hotel at Ayr Racecourse has been given one of the highest accolades in tourism – a coveted VisitScotland Thistle Award.

The four-star hotel, which opened in June 2005, landed the honour in the Serviced Accommodation category at the awards ceremony held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre last Friday.


[Picture shows left to right: VisitScotland chief executive Philip Riddle; Western House Hotel restaurant supervisor Alison Mair; receptionist Vicki Hamilton; Ayr Racecourse general manager William Gorol; VisitScotland director, visitor services and quality, Willie Macleod; Western House Hotel new business development manager Mary Simpson; Christmas co-ordinator Marion Patterson; manager Craig Dunlop; reception supervisor Alastair Stewart; front office manager Pam Davies; Minister for Enterprise, Energy & Tourism, Jim Mather MSP; and VisitScotland chairman Peter J Lederer CBE.]

Western House, which was also named Scottish Wedding Hotel of the Year in January, was in a short list of three including the Radisson SAS Hotel, Edinburgh.

In announcing the Ayr hotel as the winner, compere for the night television star Alistair McGowan read out the following comments from the judges:

“From the time the doorman greets you, a special kind of service meets you throughout the Western House Hotel.

“Highly professional staff are experts in judging their customers’ requirements, and operate a constant system of double checking that everything is in order in a subtle and unobtrusive manner.

“Corporate guests, Christmas parties and individual guests are all personally welcomed in a manner appropriate to them, and their needs addressed on an individual basis.

“2007’s target occupancy was exceeded in the first five months of the year, clearly showing that the investment in a personalised approach to customer care paid dividends.”

Ayr Racecourse general manager William Gorol said the Thistle Awards were the Oscars of the hotel industry, and added: ”I am so proud of the team who made this possible. Customer care is the backbone of the success of any business in the hospitality sector and to win a Thistle Award is testimony to the fact that the staff here are getting it right.

“Western House may only have been established as a hotel less than two and a half years ago, but we have staff who are amongst the most experienced and skilled in the business.

“I am fortunate in that I had the golden opportunity to hand pick the team that is the cornerstone of our success. I feel very privileged to be part of that team.”

The four-star, 49 bedroom destination was formerly the meeting place and offices of the Western Meeting Club, owners of Ayr Racecourse until 2003.

When the course was bought from the Club by Alan Macdonald, chairman of the Dawn Group and Richard Johnstone, managing director of Thorntoun Health Care, they decided to restore this near 100 year old mansion to its former glory, and after a £4.5 million makeover Western House Hotel was opened on 3 June 2005.

The elegant Cathedral Ballroom accommodates up to 160 guests for the wedding meal and 250 at the evening reception. And magical romantic gardens with stunning water features provide the perfect backdrop for wedding photographs.

The Scottish Thistle Awards

Created by VisitScotland in 1991, the Scottish Thistle Awards showcase business excellence and quality. As an important event on the tourism calendar, the media attention it generates helps VisitScotland and the sponsors raise the profile of the tourism industry.

VisitScotland's objectives for the Scottish Thistle Awards are:

* Reward excellence in Scotland’s tourism industry in all areas and at all levels

* Promote quality service and products which reflect all that is best in Scotland’s world reputed and foremost industry

* Encourage professionalism, innovation and creative thinking within the industry


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