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Going starry-eyed in Skye

Press Release   •   May 23, 2014 00:00 BST

Two accommodation providers in Skye have scooped the national tourism organisation’s highest Quality Assurance (QA) accolade in recognition of their excellent standards.

The Two Byres self-catering property on the Waternish peninsula and Glenhaultin B&B at Snizort, near Portree, both achieved five stars from VisitScotland at their latest grading visits.

The Two Byres owners, Hanne Stemann and Jimmy Lawson, signed up to the scheme and achieved five stars at their first main grading visit. A modern, eco-friendly property, The Two Byres is set in the crofting community of Hallin. The house faces out over Loch Bay and Loch Dunvegan and offers uninterrupted panoramic views stretching from the Cuillin mountain peaks, Macleod’s Tables, Dunvegan Head and the Minch, all the way to the Outer Hebrides on the horizon.

The Two Byres - An Dà Bhàthach in Gaelic - is designed by local award-winning architects to accommodate six, in light, spacious accommodation, in a resolutely modern wooden construction which blends more and more into the surrounding countryside as time and weather turn the larch cladding to silver. There are three vaulted-ceiling bedrooms and audio-visual entertainment is provided by satellite and internet connected TV, Hi-Fi, Blu-Ray, iPod docks and Wii.

Underfloor heating provides constant warmth and there is also a wood-burning stove. Three decks open the living areas out to make the most of the sea air from sunrise to sunset. WiFi is available throughout the house as well as on the decks and four mountain bikes are left in the shed for use by visitors.

The luxurious Glenhaultin B&B was built between 2009 and 2010 and has two guest rooms with kingsize beds and loch and landscape views, as well as a residents’ lounge. French windows lead out from this lounge to a lawn area where guests can relax and soak up the views.

Glenhaultin sits below the Trotternish Ridge at the back of the Old Man of Storr overlooking Loch Snizort and is also a member of the Green Business Tourism Scheme, demonstrating their commitment to the wider environment. The entire house and all hot water is heated by the croft land surrounding Glenhaultin, with underfloor heating throughout.

On arrival, guests are greeted with tea and coffee and scones with butter, cream and preserves. Original artworks by a local artist can be found on the walls and Arran Aromatics toiletries in the bathrooms. Binoculars and wildlife literature are also located in bedrooms.

On securing the five star award, The Two Byers owner Jimmy Lawson said:

“We are delighted to have our efforts recognised by VisitScotland as the summer season starts. Skye attracts a growing number of discerning visitors attracted by the culture, the natural environment, the gastronomy and of course the people.

“We are committed to maintaining the very high standards required by five star status and to promoting the local establishments who contribute to making Skye a world-class destination.”

Laura Mackinnon, from Glenhaultin B&B, who has worked in the hospitality trade for 24 years, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded five stars from VisitScotland - a result of having put so much thought as well as effort in to creating what Glenhaultin has become. Although our dream was always to be of the standard demanded by a five star establishment, absolutely nothing can ever be taken for granted and we can never be complacent."

Scott Armstrong, VisitScotland Regional Director, said:

“It is fantastic to see Skye’s tourism offering enhanced by these stunning and luxurious properties. High-quality self-catering and B&B accommodation is of growing importance for visitors, which is why investment and developments like The Two Byres and Glenhaultin are vital to the tourism industry as a whole.

“To achieve such levels of luxury whilst also adhering to the strictest sustainable practices is truly admirable. These properties really are amongst the region’s leading lights and should inspire others to strive for such results.”

VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance Scheme currently boasts over 7,000 participants and has been used as an example of best practice with countries all over the world, including Sweden and Namibia.

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Notes to Editors:

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  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland. 
  • The organisation has three key roles:
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  2. To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
  3. To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
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  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
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  • According to a recent Deloitte study, tourism employs 270,000 people in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the industry contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
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