Norton House Hotel & Spa awarded AA Hotel of the Year

Norton House Hotel & Spa awarded AA Hotel of the Year


The accolade was presented on 2 September at the AA Centenary award ceremony in London to Ronnie MacKay, General Manager, Norton House Hotel & Spa. The event was attended by the crème of the hospitality world, including prominent hoteliers and renowned chefs, including James Martin, who hosted the event, and Tom Aikens, Raymond Blanc, and Marcus Wareing.
Norton House Hotel & Spa was selected by the AA, in recognition of the hotel’s excellent service, stunning design, fine cuisine and business success.   The award was particularly significant in the light of Norton House’s £13 million facelift, delivering a new state-of-the-art conference facility, a luxury spa and health club and 36 additional new luxury bedrooms. AA award assessor Alison Thompson described Norton House as: “ Excellent…A hotel I would spend my own money in.”
Simon Numphud, AA Hotel Services manager, said: “The hotel has proved itself to be a strong ‘all round’ performer. The hospitality and service at the hotel are of a consistently high standard and they offer a fantastic approach to staff training.”
Julia Hands, Chairman and CEO of Hand Picked Hotels, with hotels across the UK and Jersey, commented: "I am delighted that Norton House Hotel & Spa has received this prestigious accolade, which is testament to the team’s hard work and dedication in creating Scotland’s finest hotel.   Over the past nine years, Ronnie MacKay and his team have achieved great success for Norton House Hotel & Spa and have elevated the property from a three star to an outstanding four star hotel.”
Ronnie MacKay, general manager, Norton House Hotel & Spa said: “ We are delighted to be AA Hotel of the Year for Scotland and I would like to congratulate my team at Norton House Hotel & Spa for their hard work and commitment. My team have shown great loyalty, with my deputy manager joining when I did nine years ago and my revenue manager and housekeeper, financial controller and executive chef joining us not long after that. plus a number of other staff who have been at Norton House for even longer.”
The turnover for Norton House has grown by 50 per cent from its 2003 levels and its operating profit has doubled during that time. Despite major works going on at the hotel last year, the hotel was able to maintain its impressive trading level, and is on track to deliver a turnover approaching £6 million in its first year as an 83-bedroom hotel. Appealing to both the business and leisure market, Norton House Hotel & Spa boasts an impressive client list of blue chip companies.
Other recent achievements for Norton House include being chosen as a finalist in the Spa Awards 2008, and receiving three AA rosettes in recognition of the hotel’s fine dining restaurant Ushers. Executive chef Graeme Shaw takes great pride in sourcing the finest regional and local produce for the restaurant, including wild salmon, border beef, roe deer and a variety of organic cheeses from small producers. 


Notes to editors

About Norton House Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh

Norton House Hotel & Spa is set in 55 acres of parkland in Ingliston, outside Edinburgh. Built in 1860 by The Usher Family as their country retreat, it was converted into a hotel in the 1950s. In July 1999 Guy and Julia Hands purchased Norton House Hotel and it became part of the newly created Hand Picked Hotels portfolio. At the time, Norton House was a 47 bedroom three star hotel. Over the last decade the hotel has benefited from constant investment in all areas of the business. Five years ago many of the rooms were refurbished and the internal layout of the building was altered creating new restaurants and lounges. A further 36 rooms have been added and a £13 million facelift, delivering a new state-of-the-art conference facility, a luxury spa and new bedrooms has been completed. Norton House Hotel & Spa is a 4 star (86% AA) hotel with three rosettes.

Other awards won by Norton House include

  • Achieved four star status in 2003
  • Achieved three rosettes in 2004 and have retained this status
  • 2004 Scottish Thistle Award Finalist - Customer Care
  • Norton House is part of the Hand Picked collection of hotels, named AA Hotel Group of the Year 2004-2005
  • Scottish Hotels of the Years Awards 2005 - Wedding Venue Finalist (Highly Commended)
  • RAC Blue Ribbon for Excellence from 1999 to 2004
  • Hotel Review Scotland Business Excellence Award (Management Team) 2008

Ronnie MacKay, general manager, Norton House Hotel & Spa
Originally from Glasgow, Ronnie studied for his Bachelor of Arts at Robert Gordon’s in Aberdeen. After graduation, he joined the Swallow Hotels Management Training programme working for Swallow Hotels in Harrogate, Edinburgh and then Bournemouth. Six years were then spent in a general manager’s position at The Park House Hotel in Telford. During his tenure this hotel was elevated from three star to four star status and gained two Rosettes. In 1999, Ronnie accepted the position of general Manager at Norton House Hotel. Over the last nine years Norton House has undergone significant investment, whilst still maintaining and enhancing its reputation as one of the finest country house hotels in Scotland offering excellent levels of service and cuisine. Ronnie has a staff of over 130 with a senior management team and executive chef who have been at the property since it became a Hand Picked Hotel. Ronnie lives in Edinburgh with his wife and two children.  
About Hand Picked Hotels
The award-winning Hand Picked Hotels collection, created by former City lawyer Julia Hands, are luxurious country house hotels renowned for exquisite food, fine wines and excellent service in stylish, relaxing surroundings. There are 17 hotels across the UK, with locations ranging from the New Forest and Jersey to Yorkshire and Edinburgh.  Hand Picked Hotels has focused on the quality of its service and cuisine and in the last three years 13 hotels have achieved two AA rosette status with Norton House in Edinburgh winning three AA rosettes.  Six hotels have achieved red star status, being recognised as amongst the AA's Top 200 hotels in the UK & Ireland. In 2007, Julia Hands was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to the hospitality industry.
For further information on the selection of Hand Picked Hotels please call 0845 458 0905 or visit
For media information or visits please contact Marion Hardman/Natalie Amos/ Vicky Westwood at Four Communications at or telephone +44 (0)870 444 4568



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