Thursday, 15 October 2015
Three major award successes for Ayr Racecourse and Western House Hotel
By: Iain Ferguson
Ayr Racecourse and Western House Hotel have scored a brilliant treble this week, with three major award successes between them.
Firstly, Ayr Racecourse has been given the highest accolade in Scottish tourism and awarded VisitScotland’s Five Star Visitor Attraction status.
[Pictured left to right: Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown; Marion Casagrande, from the housekeeping staff; Colette Swain, Operations Manager; Aidan Rose-Smith of the grounds staff; Emma Marley, Clerk of the Course and chef de cuisine Paul Cuthbert.]
The national tourism organisation has presented the Racecourse, which last year welcomed more than 100,000 visitors, with the Award in recognition of its outstanding standards.
The Racecourse won the coveted top grading following an incognito visit by one of VisitScotland’s Quality and Tourism Advisors to experience and assess aspects ranging from the standards of its visitor information, signage and car parking, exterior and interior presentation and cleanliness, to the hospitality and friendliness of staff, and quality of the catering. The scores each achieved in the visit report secured the attraction an ‘exceptional category’ grading.
Ayr is Scotland’s premier racecourse and hosts Scotland’s two biggest race Festivals - the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival over jumps and the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival on the flat.
Next year Ayr will stage 34 fixtures, four more than in 2015, and in addition to having built up an extremely well-deserved reputation for the excellence of its racing, the Racecourse is renowned for providing some of the finest hospitality at any sporting venue in the UK.
Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded VisitScotland’s Five Star Visitor Attraction rating in recognition of the quality of the visitor experience we are providing.
“This is an accolade which we’ve been hoping to win for some time, and it’s a real testimony to the commitment and hard work of all of our staff to not only deliver, but consistently maintain, the very highest standards in everything they do across all that we offer.”
VisitScotland regional director Annique Armstrong said: “My congratulations go to David and the whole team at Ayr Racecourse on this fantastic and very well-deserved achievement. It’s great news, not only for the attraction but also for Ayrshire & Arran. Having another Five Star Visitor Attraction further strengthens the region’s tourism offering and increases its marketability as an outstanding destination which offers a huge and diverse range of superb things to see and do.”
Ayr Racecourse’s new award means Ayrshire now have seven Five Star Visitor Attractions across Scotland - A D Rattray’s Whisky Experience & Whisky Shop in Kirkoswald, Dumfries House in Cumnock, The Cook School Scotland at Kilmarnock, Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Ayr, Pebbles Spa & Leisure at Lendalfoot and Hunterston B Power Station at West Kilbride.
And Ayr Racecourse has also won a coveted first prize at the prestigious National Racecourse Catering Awards.
The course won the Best Casual Dining Experience section and a team from the track attended the ceremony Royal Windsor Racecourse last week.
Chef de Cuisine Paul Cuthbert and Chef Sam Shields (pictured) accepted the award on behalf of the Racecourse and the accolade reflected the high quality of food and service provided throughout the restaurants on the course.
These awards are highly regarded throughout racing and nearly all the major racecourses in the UK entered.
Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown said: “We were honoured to win an NRCA ward alongside courses like Ascot and Aintree. It shows the regard in which our hospitality at Ayr is held it is something we are very proud of.
“It is the first time we have entered these awards and to come first is very special.”
And finally, Western House Hotel has been short listed for a Vows Award, the ‘oscars’ of the wedding industry in Scotland.
The four-star hotel, (pictured) situated at the edge of Ayr Racecourse, is in the running to be Wedding Venue of the Year at the prestigious ceremony which will take place in Glasgow on Monday 9 November.
The Awards recognises companies within the wedding industry in Scotland which deliver customer service of the highest standard.
The Vows awards programme is unique in that brides and grooms have the chance to have their say and each entry must be backed by newlyweds.
Ayr Racecourse and Western House Hotel managing director David Brown said: “The Vows Awards are very important to everyone involved in the wedding industry as it is couples who have been married who nominate the hotel or business.
“To reach the short list for Wedding Venue of the Year is a huge honour.”
For further information contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 565691.
Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.