A country retreat which once hosted the Emir of Qatar after he parked his helicopter on the front lawn has scooped hotel of the year in a prestigious awards ceremony.

The family-run East Haugh House, near Pitlochry, Perthshire, is celebrating after winning ‘Hotel of the Year’ at the 2018 Prestige Hotel Awards.

The four-star star boutique country house hotel, took home the top award at the 2nd annual Prestige Hotel Awards, presented by Allied Irish bank, in Glasgow on February 18th.

Over 18,000 votes were cast to find the best of Scotland’s hotel trade; competing venues from across the nation were whittled down by public vote, then judged by an independent judging panel who visited each of the hotels.

Bought in 1989 by husband and wife team Neil and Lesley McGown, the 17th century country house was converted into a luxury 12-bedroom hotel and restaurant, and has established itself as a popular destination for tourists from the UK and overseas.

Renowned for its locally-sourced seasonal food, specialising in seafood and game, Chef Patron Neil McGown leads a talented and passionate kitchen team with East Haugh’s restaurant recommended in the Michelin Guide. 

Steven Dobbin, GM, joined East Haugh House from Cameron House in 2016, and attended the glittering awards on Sunday along with owners Lesley and Sophie McGown. 

Lesley McGown, Proprietor of East Haugh House, said: “We are absolutely thrilled and honoured to have won the main award of Hotel of the Year at the 2018 Prestige Hotel Awards. After almost 30 years in business, this recognition couldn’t be a more fitting accolade. It reflects our fantastic team’s dedication to delivering a very personal service for our guests with first class hospitality and exceptional food.”

East Haugh has become a destination for shooting and fishing parties from all over the world, providing a bespoke service for country sports; it has scooped the Scottish Country Sports Hotel Award seven times.

Both Mr and Mrs McGown are keen country sports enthusiasts and turnover has increased by 50% in the last five years.

The hotel once played host to Middle Eastern royalty; the Emir of Qatar parked his helicopter on the front lawn to take a ‘comfort break’ on his way back from a pheasant shoot to Gleneagles.

He liked the hotel so much that he arranged for his whole family and entourage to be transferred up from Gleneagles for the rest of their stay in Scotland.