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In this most competitive category of all by entrant numbers, hotels must have fewer than 30 rooms and be firmly in the countryside with a strong sense of place. First impressions are important: location, presentation and exterior charm all being noted by judges. Hotels need not necessarily be traditional in style / décor but must have be genuinely ‘country’ in feel: we mark up welcoming smiles, open fires / stoves, a mix of restful and cosy places, warm and characterful bedrooms. Local information must be excellent. F&B should have as much the sense of place as any other aspect: local provenance is a must and breakfast is considered very important. Hotels will be credited for originality, e.g. design / colour, and will need to back up their rural credentials with good internet access especially if local mobile phone signals are weak. Judges will look for effective links with local attractions or facilities – and service to match (i.e. skiing, bird-watching, cycling).
Arriving at Kylesku Hotel fills one with a real sense of discovery. Located off the North Coast 500 Route in rural Sutherland, it can be found on the old slipway that once upon a time was used by t... read more