Tiny island hotel shares national gong

The Coll Hotel has shared a national award for best independent hotel in Scotland.

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A small hotel ‘in the middle of the Atlantic’ has beaten some of Scotland’s top establishments to become one of the big winners of the country’s premier hospitality awards.

The 10-bedroom Coll Hotel – a three-hour ferry trip from Oban – was named joint winner in the independent hotel category in the Catering Scotland (CIS) Awards alongside the five-star Glenapp Castle in South Ayrshire.

‘We are absolutely over the moon,’ said Coll Hotel owner Julie Oliphant, who runs the hotel at Arinagour with her daughter Laura and husband Kevin.

‘It’s an amazing honour for a relatively tiny hotel in the middle of nowhere, seemingly in the middle of the Atlantic.’

Three years ago, the Oliphant family doubled the hotel’s number of bedrooms and added an extension which includes a new restaurant, kitchen and bar.

Almost all its seafood is either caught off the island or Mull.

Graham Griffiths, chef at the Coll Hotel.

The coronavirus crisis meant that for the 2020 awards entrants were judged on performance both prior or soon after the onset of the crisis, and how they coped during it.

The pandemic also prevented an in-person ceremony taking place.

Instead, organisers and sponsors formulated an alternative plan to travel all over Scotland to present awards as part of a series of elaborate surprise appearances.

Andrea Nicholas, chairperson of the CIS Advisory Board, said: ‘The shared awards show not only how difficult it was to pick a winner from a high-class field but also what a magnificent wide range of top-class hospitality we have in Scotland.’