The organiser of the Scottish Hotels Award has hit back at criticism of the top accolade going to Andy Murray's Cromlix hotel, less than one month after opening.
The 15-bedroom hotel in Dunblane, which opened on 1 April, was presented with the Hotel of the Year title at the award ceremony, held at the Sheraton Grand hotel and spa, Edinburgh, on Sunday evening.
As well as a number of surprised commentators on Twitter questioning how the award could be made just 27 days after the launch of the hotel, Simon Calder, travel editor of The Independent
Although Calder said that the hotel was deserving of the "best hotel refurbishment in Scotland to open this month", he said that the real award is "long-term public-acclaim". Having visited the hotel at the time of the opening, Calder suggested that it could be a future winner, thanks to Murray's mother Judy.
Gary McLean-Quin, president of the Scottish Hotel Awards, answered the critics by saying that Cromlix was not a new hotel, but "a thoroughly refurbished one".
He said that under Murray's ownership, the hotel is now financially secure and will still be in business in a year, but more significant is that the property is being operated by Inverlochy Castle Management International (ICMI) and that Albert Roux is overseeing the restaurant.
"The CEO (of ICMI) has won awards from us almost annually for a decade and the company has been our top award winner for hotel management.
"From interior designer, business and finance, marketing, general manager, ops director, chef and more, the key people are not only well known to the judges over an extended period but have each won top awards.
"This combination of financial security and the recruitment and contracting with the best hotel management company in Scotland in the independent luxury sector is unheard of, really."
"The sum of the parts is hugely successful and we were unanimous in our view that it made Cromlix an incredibly persuasive hotel of the year for Scotland."
McLean-Quin added that critics of the award were "behind the times".
A total of 24 accolades were presented at the Scottish Hotel Awards. They were:
Scottish Hotel of the Year - Cromlix, Dunblane
B&B/Guest House of the Year - Craigmhor Lodge & Courtyard, Pitlochry
Bar of the Year - Blythswood Square, Glasgow
Boutique Hotel of the Year - Cairn Lodge & Hotel, Auchterarder
Brand Hotel of the Year - Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Dundee
Business Hotel of the Year - Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh
City Hotel of the Year - Malmaison Dundee
Country House Hotel of the Year - Tiroran House Hotel, Isle of Mull
Events Hotel of the Year - Crowne Plaza Glasgow
Exclusive Use Venue of the Year - The Parsonage, Dunmore
Family Hotel of the Year - Crieff Hydro, Crieff
Informal Dining Restaurant of the Year - Auchrannie Resort, Isle of Arran
Luxury Hotel of the Year - Cromlix, Dunblane
New Hotel of the Year - The Chester Residence, Edinburgh
Restaurant of the Year - The Caledonian, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Edinburgh
Romantic Hotel of the Year - Knock Castle Hotel and Spa, Crieff
Rural Hotel of the Year - Fonab Castle Hotel, Pitlochry
Service Excellence Hotel of the Year - Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh
Serviced Apartments of the Year - Fraiser Suites Glasgow
Small Country Hotel of the Year - Glenisle Hotel, Isle of Arran
Spa of the Year - The Caledonian, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Edinburgh
Style Hotel of the Year - The Glasshouse, Edinburgh
Town Hotel of the Year - The Tontine Hotel, Peebles
Wedding Hotel of the Year - Balbirnie House, Glenrothes