In this week’s Winners Wednesday feature, we hear from Samantha Wright, General Manager of The Dunstane Houses in Edinburgh which received the Best Hotel Experience national award at the Scottish Thistle Awards in March 2020.
The award, which was sponsored by Fishers, celebrates hotels that strive to give their customer the most hospitable and comfortable experience. The family-run luxury boutique hotel offering 16 bedrooms in the Haymarket area of Edinburgh was praised by judges for providing “flawless customer experience for each and every guest".
It was such a surprise for us to win and we were delighted that all our improvements and hard work had been recognised by such a respected awards body. Over the last 18 months we have had to shape our hotel around constantly moving goal posts as have all hospitality businesses.
This has been a particular challenge for us as the level of hospitality we provide clashes very obviously with some of the restrictions. For example – carrying people’s luggage to the room was standard and due to restrictions this was no longer possible. This small but hugely effective gesture is an example of how our basic hospitality standards suffered over the course of the pandemic.
On a positive note we did open our Garden Bar at the Dunstane House complete with stretch tent, green egg BBQ, shed bar, deck chairs and a hammock. This outdoor drinking and eating space has proved immensely popular over the summer with both walk ins, fully booked Saturday afternoons and small events. We even hosted a VIP cocktail and canape event in the garden for a group during the environmental conference at the EICC which was a highlight. The fact that the new area is fully heated and covered has proved extremely useful during the pandemic and with Scotland’s uncertain weather!
Our team have been extraordinary throughout the last 20 months, despite working longer hours and doing more shifts due to a staffing shortage, as most businesses are experiencing. We are very lucky that we have a very established team who are very committed to ensuring The Dunstane Houses survive as an independent business and we continue to be known for our award-winning hospitality.
The Garden Bar continues to thrive and we are looking forward to making the most of this space over the winter months. The events side of our business also continue to grow with a the rise in popularity of small, intimate gatherings. We have seen a real spike in elopements and our ‘Just You and Me’ wedding package and family dinners and celebrations for around ten to 15 people are very popular.
Guests to The Dunstane Houses can expect as little as possible to have changed. We're still here to provide the warm Dunstane welcome you are so used to, and a luxuriously comfortable night in one of our individually designed rooms. Our chefs are still on hand to prepare mouth-watering Orcadian delicacies for our guests and our staff will help visitors settle in, relax, and once again enjoy Edinburgh.
We're providing a Covid-safe, clean, monitored space which doesn’t feel clinical or altered for our guests. Whatever it is you are here for, we look forward to seeing you again.