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Hotelier in row over guide's ‘rigid' schedule

15 June 2006

A row has broken out between former AA chief hotel inspector David Young and guidebook publisher Alastair Sawday.

Young, now the proprietor of the Cross hotel and restaurant at Kingussie in the Scottish Highlands, will not be appearing in the forthcoming edition of Sawday's British Hotels, Inns and Other Places because of what the hotelier branded the guide's "bizarrely rigid" approach to inspecting featured businesses.

Young claims he was approached by the guide's editor, Tom Bell, on 25 April and told an inspection visit would be made on 1 May.

However, when Young asked for the date to be rearranged because the business would be closed, he claims Bell refused to rearrange the visit, and he was informed the hotel would consequently be dropped from the guide.

Caterer saw correspondence suggesting that Alastair Sawday's representatives were happy to inspect and review the business even if it was not operational on the day.

Young said: "We are sad that the Cross has been excluded from the forthcoming edition, not because we were substandard or we had not paid the substantial fees for inclusion, but because of their system, which is so bizarrely rigid they can only offer one day for inspection in three years, on a day when the restaurant is closed."

The Cross paid £500 a year for inclusion in the guide, and Young said the business made about £7,000 in bookings
from it.

A spokeswoman for Alastair Sawday said: "It was a shame that we couldn't find a mutually convenient time to inspect the Cross, as it is a lovely hotel.

"We do like to inspect every three years to uphold the integrity of the guide and, unfortunately, on this occasion this was not possible."

Young said he would not be reapplying for inclusion in the guide.

By Matthew Batham

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