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Interested in joining the Scottish Hotel Awards Scheme?


The Scottish Hotel Awards were established in 2003 as a membership scheme to encourage, recognise and reward hospitality excellence. Whether a hotel, serviced apartment or guest house / B&B, privately-owned or part of a group, you receive the same care and attention. We allow generous time to get to know you and your priorities in detail; our research visits and judging, which may include mystery peer review visits, are unique in the industry.

Now in its 17th season, Scotland’s most comprehensive accommodation industry awards programme has actively and accurately encouraged and supported not only many aspiring, dynamic businesses, but also hundreds of talented people of excellence.

In May 2019 the Scottish Hotel Awards was acquired by award-winning media specialist, The Chelsea Magazine Company.  Chelsea already organises market-leading awards in the cruise, sailing, wedding and parenting sectors, as well as playing a prominent part at events such as the Chelsea Flower Show.

Chelsea publishes BRITAIN and Discover Britain and acquired Scotland magazine to sit alongside the Scottish Hotel Awards.  As the foremost publisher of British travel magazines in North America, Chelsea has over 100,000 subscribers and more than a million US readers of its magazines each year, many of whom travel regularly to the UK. 

Our Objectives


  • Inspiring your team
  • Promoting your business
  • Boosting your bookings


What We Do

We understand that each and every participant is different and we are flexible in working with you in the ways that suit your business best: no other organisation will spend as much time getting to know you and your operation.

We provide each member with year-round promotion online and in print, tools to help you engage your customers and motivate your team, in addition to thorough assessment of your customer experience; all the while encouraging, recognising and rewarding excellence in your operation.

Once a Member, we are here to assist any way we can, with all visits arranged on a friendly, hotel-by-hotel basis. Every member establishment receives the SHA Membership Pack, immediate promotion online at www.scottishhotelawards.com and in print via Scotland magazine; this is followed by a Research Judging Visit (carried out November to February at your convenience) and in some categories may later warrant a mystery Judging Visit (February to March).

This year round process culminates with the annual Awards Night event which takes place each year in April – an occasion of unrivalled glamour and excitement for over 400 hoteliers attending from every corner of the country.

For more information on specific membership benefits, please download our brochure here.


Research & Judging Process

Our research & judging process is unmatched in its scope. All members are visited throughout the year and will receive a detailed research report from their dedicated research judge. Full details of the process can be found here.

Research Visits

Research visits are our opportunity to get to know you and your business, understand your priorities and assess your customer experience. These visits also allow us to meet your key team members and provide feedback via a research report. Your research visit also generates an editorial review, which will be uploaded to your profile on scottishhotelawards.com.

Research is conducted in a qualitative manner, never using a ‘tick-box’ approach and will focus on four key themes:

  • Areas of Excellence – Your establishment’s key strengths and unique offerings.


  • Areas for Development – Aspects of the experience / establishment which you feel could be strengthened.


  • People of Excellence – Key team members and how they contribute to the success of the business.


  • Plans for the future – Developments which the management plan to implement; such as renovations, menu changes, training schemes, provision of activities etc.

Importantly, research visits serve to provide a full briefing for judges in advance of their visit and provide a benchmark from which we can judge.



Judging takes place each year between February to March. Assignment of visiting judges to properties are chosen carefully on a case-by-case basis to coordinate with each establishment's needs, in order to provide maximum insight and expertise. Judges are fully briefed in advance of their stay, utilising the research visit report, People of Excellence nomination forms and Establishment Awards entry forms. Judges will focus on the same core areas highlighted during the research phase and will be looking for evidence of development.

Where applicable, judging will also include mystery calls/enquiries to assess reception / events / spa & wedding teams. The morning after their stay, judges will announce themselves upon check-out.

Our judging team is split into specialist panels consisting of individuals with specific skills sets and experience. These panels are presided over by Gary McLean Quin, our Chair of Judges.

Judging decisions are made at the annual judging summit when all results are finalised so we can prepare for the big annual awards gala dinner. 

On the night, we will welcome national category winners to the stage in celebration of their success, with one exceptional venue being named 'Scottish Hotel of the Year'.


Research & Judging Guidelines

The research and judging team adhere to our strict visiting guidelines. These are summarised below.

  • Overnight visits are conducted in the usual ‘press familiarisation’ manner and Dinner, Bed & Breakfast is provided on a complimentary basis by the hotel plus (if relevant) parking, & internet access.


  • Researchers arrive during the afternoon and will spend the afternoon or the following morning meeting owners, managers, key personnel and seeing as many rooms and public areas as possible. Please ensure key team members will be present on the day of your visit.


  • Leisure / spa treatments or activities such as golf are not obligatory and are to be offered by the establishment only if so desired by the management. (e.g. If you wish to be considered for ‘Spa Hotel of the Year’ / ‘Golf Hotel of the Year’ etc.) Please agree any special activities with the SHA Operations Manager in advance when scheduling your visit.


  • Limited alcohol is included: Researchers may have one aperitif and one glass of house wine with dinner, unless the manager of the establishment specifically wishes to alter this arrangement in order to showcase a particular offering such as wine/whisky tasting flights or a specialist cocktail menu. Any additional drinks not approved by the hotel management/team will be paid for on departure by the Researcher.

For more information on the Scottish Hotel Awards please contact Membership Manager Moira Gilchrist  (moira.gilchrist@chelseamagazines.com or phone 07908 893 956)