"The Atholl Palace is one of my favourite places where each year we meet up with good friends and have fun. It's the perfect place to stay in a perfect setting with lovely people looking after us. What more could a person want?"
Recently the hotel was re-assessed by the GTBS (Green Tourist Business Scheme). Last time we surprised ourselves by being awarded a Gold rating and that was always going to be a big ask to repeat.
Bringing an old building like the Atholl Palace, not too old but not a new build either, up to scratch for modern environmental audits is not easy. In its day the building would have been an example of excellence in design and modern thinking but that was over 100yrs ago. It is still a beautiful, functional and solid thing but modern assessors are looking for improvements which are more difficult to achieve in older buildings than can be built into new builds. However “the grand old lady” held her own and we have retained our Gold Award status. This is a fantastic achievement for all who play a part in the hotel’s running. From the owners and directors who make strategic decisions, down through management to waiting staff,housekeepers,maintenance staff and kitchen porters it simply couldn’t happen without everyone getting involved and doing their bit. We can do more, we will need to do more, to keep up the standard and we will. But for now we can relax for a week or two and enjoy an award which is sought by many but achieved by very few.
Outside in the grounds we play our part in building a good case for the Gold award. We are part of the Iconic Tree project with over 20 of these trees now established within the grounds and we are also part of Perthshires Big Tree Country. We are at the business end of grey squirrel and mink monitoring and control. We actively encourage red squirrels through various squirrel conservation groups. We compost large amounts of kitchen waste and that helps to produce wonderful vegetables and herbs in the garden which are available to the chefs and guests who fancy picking their own. We are part of the Pitlochry Path Network and the hotel spends considerable amounts of money upgrading and maintaining our woodland paths. We have information boards and leaflets all of which, we hope, improves the guest’s experience of wandering around in the lovely grounds. We also monitor what our guests do (not personally of course, but collectively). How much energy they use, how much gas and water. How much waste is produced, glass, food, cardboard etc and a few months back we finally removed our landfill bins. Virtually no landfill now leaves the Palace, almost everything is recycled.
10yrs ago when Kenny and I came to the Palace and met Fionn, then the new owner, we had a rather grand ambition (considering the poor state into which the gardens had fallen over the years). Our remit was “to develop a garden full of scent and colour but with a closeness to the natural world”. I hope we have managed to achieve at least some of that dream.
So for the gardens and grounds,for the guests and for the wildlife, the trees and the flowers does it matter that we are a gold award winning hotel? Yes it does, it really does...because it shows that we care. Innes
Innes finished in 04:41:34 and came 1987 out of 4117 who completed the race. A fabulous achievement!
Thank You to all sponsors.