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Issue 33 - Hotels of the year 2007

Scotland Magazine Issue 33
June 2007

 

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Hotels of the year 2007

Dakota Eurocentral
by Glasgow Tel: +44 (0)1698 835 444
Winner: Rising Star Award 2007. Dakota is a powerful new hotel brand being developed principally by Ken McCulloch, founder some years ago of One Devonshire Gardens hotel in Glasgow, the city’s five-star townhouse. He was also behind the funky Malmaison chain. Now Dakota has flown into both Glasgow and Edinburgh and is creating quite a stir. The hotels are unmistakable in external design: blue-black glass boxes with the brand spelled out on the roof in blue neon letters.

Named after the iconic Douglas Dakota aeroplane which opened-up low cost air travel in the ‘50s, this hotel combines high-spec and fully air-conditioned ‘business-class’ rooms with fixed-price value for money: £89 per room, per night. Bedrooms continue the New Yorkfeel with open brickwork walls and witty asides. But they are plush and thoughtfully designed; power showers will impress even the most demanding of American guests. Fresh-baked cookies await you and there’s an excellent desk and broadband access for just £5 a day.

If you’re planning a visit to Glasgow, then do consider this one because it offers an array of good reasons. True, it’s a little out of town and in a plain area just off the motorway – but therein lie the advantages of hassle-free parking and easy access to the arterial routes. Apart from the good value, the two Dakota hotels (the other is just north of Edinburgh) each have very strong restaurants offering first-class dining – a slew of critics have been highly impressed.

Enterkine House
by Ayr Tel: +44 (0)1292 520 580
Winner: Médaille d’Or for Dinner. Enterkine, in rolling Ayrshire countryside, was built with style in the 1930s by a Scottish businessman on returning home from working in Canada. Alan Mackay, grandson of the first Earl of Inchcape and founding member of the P&O shipping line, bought the whitewashed mansion in the 50s; and in 2000 Oswald St. George Browne and his sister Marguerite acquired the house. The new owners set about transforming it into the small five-star establishment it is today.

More than just a hotel, this is a ‘home from home’ for a maximum of only a dozen guests. Louis Macallum is a convivial manager who, with the help of his friendly team, has created an ambience for guests.

A meandering driveway flanked by Scots pines leads visitors away from their busy lives and up the hill to the main house, a restrained art deco affair with a prominent position overlooking the river Ayr.

Lovely gardens surrounding the entrance give way to undulating meadows and leafy woodlands. Indeed, the hotel has just opened its utterly charming Woodland Lodge – a fabulously romantic escape, high-tech luxury and perfect privacy: Paul Moffat was one of a select few chefs to receive the coveted Médaille d’Or at this year’s Scottish Hotels of the Year Awards. This honour recognises chefs who provide an especially high quality dinner experience for guests.

Apex Hotels Edinburgh, Dundee & London
Tel: +44 (0)131 666 5124
Winner: Environmental Award 2007. One of the top distinctions made by the national hotel awards scheme recognises the importance of the green agenda: energy and water use reductions, recycling increases, and more. Apex Hotels have taken a real lead in this area – we know that many travellers want to have this information – so when Apex’s environment policy manager Jo Springford collected the award it was presented by a minister of the Scottish government, no less. Proof indeed of the importance of the good work put in.

HotelReviewScotland.com has for three years offered readers the chance – via a prominent button on its homepage – to calculate and offset the CO2 emissions created by their travel. Now, we can also point up hotels paying proper heed to the environment. And if you book to stay in one of the three Apex hotels in Edinburgh or the Dundee hotel with its ozone-free pool you’ll know that you, in turn, are supporting a business with green credentials.

But it’s not all seriousness. The hotels have what we describe as ‘attitude-free urban chic’ and provide an uncluttered, undeniably stylish and urbane hotel experience. Indeed, such has the success been of this Scottish group that they are expanding not only in Edinburgh but have opened a sleek new hotel right in the City of London. You can expect friendly service, good locations and (especially so in Dundee) good food.

3 more ideas for you
The Glasshouse Edinburgh Tel: +44 (0)131 525 8200
Winner: Scotland’s Sexiest Hotel 2007.Yes indeed, in a hotlycontested category, the highly contemporary Glasshouse hotel with its roof garden and panoramic views has been voted sexiest. Rose-petal turndowns in sleek rooms with balconies and all the latest gadgetry all helped, no doubt. On the top two floors of a development in the heart of the city, it has a real buzz.

Carmelite Hotel & Grill Aberdeen Tel: +44 (0)1224 589 101
Winner: Bedroom Design Gold Medal 2007. Aberdeen is Europe’s oil capital and has plenty of hotel accommodation. Much of it is bed factory stuff, though. But not at the new Carmelite where a range of rooms gives choice: for leisure guests, sensational suites have caused a stir. One even has a revolving, round bed and frescoed ceiling. Excellent dining, too.

Town House Company Edinburgh Tel: +44 (0)131 274 7400
Winner: Scottish Hotel Group of Year 2007. Town House offers four highly individual boutique hotels in Edinburgh, and open five-star Blythswood Square hotel in Glasgow next year. We like them all but have a soft-spot for The Bonham in Edinburgh with its sophisticated restaurant. If staying, book room 308: sexy, with a uniquely ‘Edinburgh’ view.

Some others worth considering...

The Scottish Hotels of the Year Awards 2007 were held in April. Attended by over 500 hoteliers, and the First Minister, the awards shine a light on Scotland’s best hotels – perfect if you’re planning a visit.

Other significant winners this year were Inverlochy Castle which scooped the Luxury Hotel of the Year title, and Airds Hotel in Argyll where chef Paul Burns won the Scottish Hotel Chef of the Year 2007.

For families, Macdonald Forset Hills Resort was recognised. Boutique hotel honours went to Rocpool Reserve in Inverness, for the second year running, while Fortingall Hotel won the Small Country Hotel Award 2007.

The top national Scottish Hotel of the Year 2007 award went to the Old Course Hotel in St. Andrews, with the Scottish Hotelier of the Year being named as Robert Cook of Malmaison Hotels. For a full, list of the winners go to: ScottishHotelsOfTheYear.com