The AA has recognised a number of Island businesses at their annual B&B Awards in London. The event, now in its 24th year, recognises the diversity and originality behind the nation’s most remarkable B&Bs and celebrates the people who dedicate their lives to running them.
For the first time in the award’s history, the category of Best Breakfast was announced. The winner throughout England was Caroline Gurney-Champion of the Old House at Gotten Manor. And, from a field of over 2,000 businesses, the Isle of Wight’s Leconfield Hotel and Hayes Barton B&B were announced as joint second place in the Friendliest B&B category.
Caroline Gurney-Champion, who has been at Chale’s 13th Century Gotten Manor Old House B&B since 1987, was surprised to hear she was a winner:
Caroline said: “I was shocked and surprised to hear I had been nominated. I’m very chuffed and delighted. It makes getting up very early in the morning worthwhile!
“I think if people are coming on holiday, they can have a really good breakfast, then go out walking all day or whatever they’re doing, and they quite often say they don’t need to stop for lunch and just go somewhere for supper.”
Caroline said that local suppliers were key to her success: “The bread, I try to get nearly all of that from Island Bakers, who are absolutely brilliant. Their sour dough, their pastries, absolutely everything they do is excellent. I try and get butter and milk from Briddlesford [Farm]. Yoghurt, I make, Fruit compote, I make. All the jams come from the fruit in the garden. Sausages and bacon from Sue Brownrigg, and tomatoes, of course, from The Tomato Stall.”
There was a double surprise when joint second place in the category of Friendliest B&B was won by two Isle of Wight B&B’s. They were happy to share the honours, pipped to the post by a B&B in North Yorkshire.
Paul Judge, of the Leconfield Hotel in Bonchurch, said: “We are always passionate about our “home and business” and we often use the phrase that we like people to arrive as guests but leave as friends. This award actually confirms that ethos and we are very proud of our team too, who are a major contribution to the success of the business and guest satisfaction.
“We were delighted to receive the nomination by the AA for such a people focused award. To have achieved a runner up accolade together with a near neighbour endorses the wonderful work and support from Visit Isle Of Wight, that shows the beautiful Isle of Wight is the friendliest destination in the UK at the highest level of hospitality and attention to detail.”
Chris Williams, of Hayes Barton in Shanklin, said: “We’re really delighted and pleased, thanks to all the people that made it possible We’ve been here 18 years and worked hard to improve the premises to get it is this standard.
“We were really surprised to have been nominated. It came out of the blue and we’ve had to keep it a secret.
“Living within a mile of our co-runner up in this category just shows what a good place the Island is!”
Will Myles, MD at Visit Isle of Wight, said: “It seems that the Isle of Wight tourism providers can’t stop winning things, be they local, regional or national awards, the latest accolades to come to the Island are joint second in the Friendliest B&B category and the winner of the Best Breakfast in England!
“We should be rightly proud of what we offer the visitors that come to this amazing Island, well done to all of the winners and runners up!”
Simon Numphud, Managing Director at AA Hotel & Hospitality Services, said: “We are absolutely delighted to recognise all of our winners, and the passion and dedication they have for their businesses and their guests. The standards of hospitality and accommodation are truly excellent and we are particularly pleased to recognise the outstanding breakfasts through our new national awards.”