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Seven of our local businesses have scooped South West Tourism Awards in a truly difficult year.
The awards, like everything in the post-Covid world, had to change and innovate this year, mirroring the work that hospitality businesses also needed to adapt to the 'new normal'.
This year, judging took into account evidence of Covid-secure measures alongside digital presence and feedback, prior to decisions taken by an independent panel.
The only 2021 Gold award winners in the South Hams were Brownscombe Luxury Glamping, Marldon, in the Glamping Business of the Year category.
Silver awards went to Bolberry Farm Cottages in the Dog Friendly Business of the Year category and The Angel, Dartmouth, in the Restaurant of the Year category and a Bronze award went to Nethway Farm Holiday Cottages, Kingswear, in the Self-catering Accommodation of the Year category.
Brightham House B&B, Malborough, The Cottages at Blackdown Farm, Ivybridge, and Gara Rock, East Portlemouth, were all Commended, in the B&B and Guesthouse of the Year, New Tourism Business and Small Hotel of the Year categories respectively.
We spoke to all the winners and congratulated them on their win, here's what they had to say.
Brownscombe Luxury Glamping, Marldon, won Gold in the Glamping Business of the Year category.
Kate Tregoning, Brownscombe Luxury Glamping, said: "We wanted to say that we were over the moon to have won Best Glamping Business in the South West and put it down to a combination of an amazing team and fantastic guests, particularly those who keep returning year after year and make us strive to keep making their holiday better and better!"
Brownscombe Luxury Glamping
Bolberry Farm Cottages has won Silver in the Dog Friendly Business of the Year category.
Hazel Hassall said: “I am delighted that Bolberry Farm Cottages have received this accolade. My husband and I, are passionate about providing high quality, dog friendly holidays. The fact that we welcome all dogs, no matter what size or how many of them, without charge, sets us apart from others”.
Sean Hassall said “This is great recognition for our hard work during the most trying time in tourism for 30 years. Our cottages are full for the peak season, with many guests returning with their dogs. With a boom in South West staycation holidays, this season will peak to unseen records and our Covid friendly accommodation is set to provide memorable Devon holidays”.
Hazel and Sean Hassall outside Bolberry Farm Cottages
The Angel, Dartmouth, has won Silver in the Restaurant of the Year category.
A spokesperson for the Angel said: "We are delighted to announce that The Angel Taste of Devon has won Silver in Best Restaurant in the South West Tourism Awards 2020. The event was hosted yesterday via Zoom with all finalists joining in throughout the day to hear the awards announced by a representative of this year’s sponsor, South West Water."
Head Chef Elly, who accepted the award for the restaurant, had this to say: “We are so pleased to win this award and be up against other great restaurants. This award shows everyone how hard our small team has worked in 2020 during the limited times we have been able to open. We can’t wait to re-open again to welcome back our guests.”
The Angel team. Elly Wentworth, former Masterchef The Professionals Masterchef, (bottom left) has been Head Chef since September 2018
Nethway Farm, Kingswear has won Bronze in the Self Catering Accommodation of the Year category.
"We are thrilled to have been named as Bronze winners in the Self Catering Accommodation of the Year category, at the South West England Tourism Awards. This was after being recognised with a silver in the same category and for New Tourism Business in the Visit Devon Awards.
"We entered the awards to gain some valuable independent feedback on how we were doing as a new business. We never expected to get to the finalists amongst businesses that we hold in such high regard."
Lizzie and Nathan Figg of Nethway Farm with their two daughters
The Cottages at Blackdown Farm, Ivybridge, won Commended in the New Tourism Business Award category.
Marcus Bailey and Ryan Lynch, owners of The Cottages at Blackadon Farm commented “We are so excited that our progress has been recognised to make The Cottages at Blackadon Farm one of the best and most sustainable tourism businesses in Devon. To be one of the top tourism businesses in Devon is something we are proud of and really looking forward to sharing the cottages with guests this year.
"We’d like to thank our guests for staying with us and say how much we appreciate the many five star reviews they’ve given since we took ownership and renovated the farm.”
Brightham House B&B, Malborough, won Commended in the B&B and Guesthouse of the Year category.
Owner Alistair said: "Scott and I are delighted to have won Commended in the South West Tourism Awards, it is truly amazing. It’s a real boost for all the effort and hard work we as independent hospital owners put into our home. We are ready to accept guests back, we can’t wait!"
Brightham House B&B owners Alistair and Scott
Gara Rock, East Portlemouth, won Commended in the Small Hotel of the Year category.
A spokesperson for Gara Rock said: "It’s always an exciting moment when you get recognised for something you love. We’re so happy to say we’ve been awarded Commended in the 2020/21 South West Tourism Awards for Small Hotel of the Year. We love Gara Rock as do our guests and visitors too, and so it’s just great to be named one of the top hotels in Devon.
"Especially after the unexpected year that 2020 turned out to be and all the little hurdles, we like, every business has had to overcome, to offer our guests an exceptional time here with us."
Gara Rock restaurant looking east
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