Three Scilly businesses were successful at last night's South West Tourism Excellence Awards.
Hell Bay Hotel picked up the gold for Best Small/Boutique Hotel of the Year (for the second time in three years) at the ceremony at Torquay’s Riviera International Conference Centre.
Star Castle scooped a bronze award for Best Bistro/Restaurant of the Year, ranked alongside renowned eateries Menu Gordon Jones in Bath and Dorset’s Guildhall Tavern. Scilly Seal Snorkelling, based on St Martin's, also won bronze in the Active & Sporting Experience category.
The South West has been named England’s Top Tourism Region by Visit England and this year’s awards saw a record 645 entries. The Awards team of more than 40 judges then undertook a record 416 visits to entrants before the independent South West awards panel made their decisions.
Star Castle owner and lobster fisherman Robert Francis commented: “The restaurant had a fantastic end to 2017 with our silver Cornwall Tourism Award. To go one further and be recognised for our contribution to the wider South West’s food offerings is the perfect way to start 2018.
"This award wouldn’t have been possible without the passion and dedication of every member of our team and so we thank them wholeheartedly and look forward to another great year ahead.”
Anna Cawthray, owner of Scilly Seal Snorkelling, also thanked her team, saying: “I am delighted that all their hard work has been recognised. Here’s to another great season for Scilly Seal Snorkelling.”
Hell Bay Hotel's general manager Philip Callan said: “We are absolutely delighted. We were up against some very tough opposition across the region so this is a fantastic achievement for Hell Bay Hotel and for all the dedicated staff who make it such a lovely place for our guests to come and stay.
"Congratulations to all the award winners, especially our fellow Scilly representatives - what a showcase for the islands!”
The three businesses were previously successful at last November’s Cornwall Tourism Awards.
Islands’ Partnership Executive Director David Jackson said: "The South West Tourism Awards was a truly impressive evening for the Isles of Scilly – winning three honours for the islands amongst hundreds of businesses across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Bristol, Bath and Somerset.
“We are thrilled that the leading businesses across the islands continue to drive our visitor economy forward with a fantastic tourist offering. We hope this marks the start to a great season across the islands.”
The full list of finalists can be found on the South West Tourism Awards website.