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Two island hospitality businesses have earned a shortlisting in prestigious Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards for 2022 it was announced yesterday (Tuesday 6 September).

The award sponsors, Royal Bank of Scotland business, said that the return of the awards this year saw a record number of entries and the judging panel was delighted with the strong field of submissions, particularly after such a challenging two years.

Judging panel chair Calum Ross said: “We had an incredibly strong field this year which is all the more remarkable given the huge challenges and disruption to our industry over the past two years.

“It is fantastic to see so much resilience and work that went into each entry and so many businesses that took the time to apply.”

Shortlisted for the best hotel experience under 20 rooms was the Heathbank Hotel in Northbay, where manager Marion MacNeil has already been named as one of the top 100 women in tourism.

The hotel has six en-suite bedrooms, including one in a log pod, a bar and restaurant and an outdoor garden. Traditional music sessions this summer included the launch of Còisir Ghàidhlig Bharraigh’s latest album, Ciosmul, in July.

In Lewis an architect-designed longhouse has been nominated on the shortlist for the best self-catering accommodation experience.

Built by Linda and Paul Brown on Linda’s family croft land in Coll, the Lewis Longhouse was the first home in the Outer Hebrides to achieve a double-A environmental rating.

It offers five-star accommodation for up to four guests and is described by previous guests as ‘lovely,’ ‘perfect’ and ‘Utopia.’ 

The winners in all categories are to be revealed at an awards night on Friday, 4 November at the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness.

HITA chairman Laurence Young said: “After two long years, it’s exciting to be able to bring the awards back.

“Everyone can now look forward to a wonderful awards night where we can celebrate the achievements of our sector and recognise the dedication, professionalism and excellence shown right across the Highlands and Islands.”