Mackays makes history at HITA awards

The 2022 awards for Highlands and Islands Tourism (HITA awards) saw history made this year. The prestigious Highland Ambassador award is normally given to a single person. But this year, the judges decided to award it to a couple for the first time ever, Ellie and Murray Lamont. The Mackays Hotel owners were described as two ‘absolute stalwarts of Highland hospitality’ during the HITA awards ceremony.

Ellie and Murray Lamont
Ellie and Murray Lamont (centre) receiving the Ambassador Award

Double award

The hotel also won the HITA awards category of Best Hotel Experience (over 20 rooms). This was in recognition of its high standards and excellent customer service. As winners of this category, the hotel will now compete in the Scottish Thistle Awards in 2023. They will represent their region at a national level for the awards.

The team and their awards
Some of the team with both awards

Commitment and training

When they were announced as the winners of the Highland Ambassador award, Ellie and Murray were completely shocked and delighted. They won the award for their commitment to tourism and their community. Their development of fine Highland cuisine and their worldwide reputation for excellent knowledge of Scotch whisky was also a factor in the judges’ decision!

Ellie said,

“I turned to Murray as they were making the announcement and said, I can’t think who that couple is. He said, I don’t know but I want to speak with him about his whisky!”

Murray said,

“We are incredibly proud of our hotel and what we offer our guests. Our family have been at the helm, lovingly running Mackays Hotel for nearly 70 years. The last few years have definitely been a challenge for anyone in the hospitality industry. We were totally delighted to win Best Hotel Experience (over 20 rooms) at the HITA awards. It’s a real testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff. But to win, well that was just the icing on the cake.

“We were totally blown away when we were named joint Highland Ambassadors for 2022!”

Thanks to the staff

To thank their staff for their hard work throughout 2022, Ellie and Murray held a staff appreciation day. The hotel closed its doors for a day, treating staff to cocktails and a delicious Indian meal. Ellie said,

“It’s important to show our staff how much we appreciate them and all the hard work they put in. We are very fortunate to have the team we have.”

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