Can you tell us a bit about your business?

Glenegedale House Islay is a Five Star Gold luxury guesthouse on the island of Islay. We are situated in the heart of the island which is great for exploring but also allows us wonderful travel links while still having sea views across the Atlantic with the most amazing sunsets

How has the Coronavirus crisis impacted your business so far?

Our business was shut down from the 19th March until the 19th July. On March 5th, we won the highly coveted Thistle Award and this was to be “our year”. We had an occupancy for the following eight months of 98% and this was decimated overnight. However as a true island girl with an amazing husband behind me, you can either take it lying down or stand up and be counted, so we started an honesty box with fresh hen eggs from our own chooks, sold our veggies from our veggie garden and baked our hearts out and the locals supported us whole heartedly. We had a socially distanced queue every morning at the end of our drive with everyone in their cars up the drive after or before their walk along the beach in front of Glenegedale House. It was so motivational and our two children were completely involved too. It allowed us to survive both mentally as well as the business.

How has your business needed to evolve and change to operate in this environment?

Our business has changed with the model appearing slightly different and we have managed to do this without compromising on the guests experience or expectation. We were very well known for our fruit buffet as well as the hot dishes from the kitchen and for obvious reasons the buffet had to go however we are still offering the same but with it being table service. Our business had to also evolve as above with the honesty box.

Has it presented opportunities which you would not otherwise have considered?

We are currently only using a third of the buildings footprint here at Glenegedale House and we have always had plans for the adjoining buildings, however these have changed with the success of the Lock Down Honesty Box. We will be developing a Bake House Tearoom with the facilities for a cook and cocktail school using local produce and foraging our island (that does involve foraging the gin and whisky ;-))

Finally, how are you celebrating this Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight?

We celebrated Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight two fold and in the best way. We started with our seafood platters and charcuterie and cheese platters here at Glenegedale with our guests and then escaped to Edinburgh and Glasgow where we sampled the East Coast Cured delights for ourselves and the fabulous Continis restaurant in Edinburgh which was a dream come true. We also squeezed in a trip to the Ubiquitous Chip in Glasgow which was also beautiful.