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Refinements to the judging process introduced for 2017/18

The HOTEL judging process and judges

The judging process has been transformed to ensure we have the most authoritative process possible, with these key stages:

  • Research Judges must be selected from former general managers and top travel journalists and:

    • June to November each property selects the categories in which they wish to be judged; and Round 1 takes place when The Research Judge DBB visit is undertaken

    • December 14: Round 1 Judging recommendations reviewed by the National Judging Panel

  • Regional Winners must be judged by category specialists who visit the top scoring shortlist

    • January: Regional Winners announced in 32 categories at 9 regional presentations

    • Mid-January to mid-March: Round 2: Specialist Judges visit the Regional Winners

  • Regional Winners must also be judged by peer judges, who visit the category top scorers

    • Mid-January to mid-March: Round 3: Peer Judges visit the Regional Winners

  • Specialist & Peer Judge recommendations presented to Judging Panel to select National Winners

    • 23 March: The National Judging Panel meets to review the Specialist and Peer Judge conclusions to select National Winners in each of 29 categories, with the Hotel of the Year selected from the 32 National Winners. They also select the Grand Award winners during this judging day.

    • April 22, 2018; Awards Presentation Dinner at which the 32 National Winners are presented


The PEOPLE judging process and judges

The people awards now have their own dedicated judging process:

  • August and November: each property may nominate up to 5 staff from 24 categories

  • September and December: People of Excellence certificates issued to nominated staff

  • December 13: Round 1 Judging recommendations reviewed by the National Judging Panel

  • January: Regional Winners are announced in 24 categories at 9 regional presentations

  • Mid-January to mid-March:

    • Questionnaires issued to all properties with regional winner People of Excellence

    • Questionnaires issued to all properties with shortlisted Gold Laurels, Hotel Manager (Small), Hotel Manager (Large), Independent Hotelier

  • 23 March: The National Judging Panel meets to review the questionnaires and to select National Winners and Grand Award winners.

  • April 29, 2018; Awards Presentation Dinner


Establishment Awards

Properties may be nominated by guests, judges or properties themselves by 1 December. In the first week of January judges finalise in which categories each property will be judged. All judging visits are then mystery, and at the end of March the Regional Winners in each category are announced as the shortlist.


There are 32 Establishment categories:

  • Airport
  • B & B / Guest House
  • Bar
  • Boutique
  • Brand
  • Breakfast
  • Business
  • Castle
  • City
  • Conference
  • Country House
  • Country Sports
  • Events
  • Family
  • Golf
  • Inn
  • Island
  • Luxury
  • Bar Dining
  • Fine Dining Restaurant
  • Informal Restaurant
  • Pet Friendly
  • Romantic
  • Serviced Apartments
  • Small Country
  • Spa
  • Style
  • Town
  • Wedding

New for 2018

  • Hotel Lodges
  • Informal Fine Dining 
  • Most Accessible

Each with up to 9 Regional Winners:

  • Argyll & Lomond
  • Borders
  • Central & Fife
  • Edinburgh & The Lothians
  • Glasgow & Clyde
  • Highland
  • Islands
  • North East
  • South West

From these winners the judges select the National Winner in each category, and then from these National Winners the top award of Hotel of the Year is selected.


People of Excellence Awards

The People Awards are selected from the People of Excellence finalists awarded throughout the year, along with those identified during the judging process, whose shortlist is announced from 17 to 20 January at regional presentations throughout Scotland.


Business & Management Awards

  • Deputy Manager
  • Sales & Marketing Manager
  • Revenue Manager

New for 2018

  • Duty/Operations Manager
  • House Manager

Service Awards

  • Concierge
  • Front of House Team
  • Housekeeper
  • Receptionist

New for 2018

  • Grounds & Maintenance

Chef Awards

  • Executive Chef
  • Banqueting Chef
  • Chef
  • Sous-Chef

New for 2018

  • Pastry Chef

Events & Spa Awards

  • Banqueting Team or Individual
  • Events Team or Individual
  • Spa Team or Therapist
  • Wedding Team or Planner

Food & Beverage

  • Restaurant Manager
  • Bar Manager
  • Food & Beverage Team or Individual
  • Food & Beverage Manager

New for 2018

  • Drinks Specialist/Mixologist


Grand Awards

These awards are selected by the senior judging panel and are not subject to an entry process.

  • Fellowship for Contribution to Industry
  • Gold Laurels
  • Hotel Manager (Large)
  • Hotel Group
  • Hotel Management Company
  • Hotel Manager (Small)
  • Hotel of the Year
  • Independent Hotelier
  • Rising Stars