Forres hotel shortlisted in people’s vote for Scotland’s hidden gem

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Julia Kenny, who owns the Cluny Bank with chef and husband Lloyd

A Forres hotel, often cited as a ‘hidden gem’ by its departing visitors, has been shortlisted for an award of the same name.

The Cluny Bank is the only Moray entry in the Hidden Gem category of the Scotsman Food and Drink Awards this year, and owners Lloyd and Julia Kenny are urging past visitors to vote for them in the only category which is open to the public.

The awards are open until 2 September and people are invited to vote for their favourite ‘hidden gem’ from a shortlist of 12.

Cluny Bank’s nomination comes hot on the heels of a double win earlier this year at the Scottish Food Awards in Edinburgh. In May, Lloyd took away the Real Food Chef of the Year and Julia picked up an award for services to hospitality in Moray.

Julia Kenny said: “This is the only category we entered, and it struck a chord because it’s a common phrase people use to describe the Cluny Bank. We rarely advertise and tend to get most of our business from word of mouth recommendations, and I think this is why people often call us a ‘hidden gem’.

A glance through review sites shows that visitors have already made up their minds on the Cluny bank being a hidden gem. On TripAdvisor, a customer wrote: “What can I say, just returned from two wonderful pampered nights at Cluny Bank, a truly hidden gem. I have travelled the world and stayed in many five-star hotels. This I rank right up there. Julia definitely has a sixth sense every time you walked in the main house she was there to cater to every need…”

Just last month on Facebook, a recent customer posted “Absolutely amazing, hidden gem hotel. Stayed for 2 nights on a business trip, hotel is very homely, rooms are lovely (both clean and comfortable). The owners/staff couldn’t do anymore for you. Food is to die for, both breakfast and main meal in the evening. Highly recommended if you’re looking for a place to stay or even just somewhere different for a delicious meal! Jules & Lloyd thank you so much for providing a unique & personal stay.”

Julia added: “It gives me great pleasure that we’ve been shortlisted for this category. We have won many awards for our food, but being nominated for the ‘hidden gem’ award means people appreciate all the little things we do.”

Votes can be made at