Tony Story, CEO of Kingsmills Group, has been awarded the highest accolade in the Highlands & Islands Thistle Awards as he is named “Highland Ambassador of the Year 2023”.
The Highland Ambassador of the Year award is often regarded as a lifetime achievement award; the final and most prestigious of the evening; given to individuals who have gone above and beyond to contribute to the industry and community. The awards ceremony took place in Inverness on Friday 10th November as industry leaders from across the region gathered to celebrate excellence in the sector.
The Kingsmills Hotel returned into private ownership in 2007 and since then has been on a transformational journey with the addition of the Kingsclub and Spa in 2010 and a conference and events centre, accomodating up to 500 delegates, in 2014. In 2015, the stunning Garden rooms were unveiled, bringing the total number of rooms in the hotel to 147.
In 2019, Ness Walk was opened; a 47-bedroom luxury hotel on the banks of the River Ness. A testament to the commitment to quality and exemplary service, Ness Walk was awarded its Visit Scotland official 5 star rating within 6 weeks of opening and remains Inverness’s #1 rated hotel on independent review site, TripAdvisor.
Through Tony’s vision for a luxury offering in the city, the Kingsmills Hotel and Ness Walk have gone on to earn an enviable reputation internationally, win awards and year on year see the international markets, and the Highland reputation grow. Just this week, Ness Walk celebrated being named as ‘Best for Romance in the UK & Ireland’ in the Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence.
Beyond the operations of the hotel, Tony spearheads much of the Kingsmills Group’s fundraising initiatives and holds a passion for supporting the local community through nominated local charities. Over the past 10 years, the hotel and the team have raised £391,000 for the Highland Hospice, £134,000 for Mikeysline and more recently £33,000 for SNAP (Special Needs Action Project). A calendar of events for 2024 sees this exceptional support set to continue.
“I am deeply honoured and humbled to receive the Highland Ambassador of the Year award. This recognition is a testament to the collective efforts of the dedicated teams at the Kingsmills Hotel and Ness Walk, as well as the vibrant community that makes the Highlands and Islands a truly special place,” said Tony Story upon receiving the award.
The Highlands and Islands Thistle Awards are a hallmark of excellence in the Scottish tourism industry, celebrating those individuals and businesses that go above and beyond to provide exceptional experiences for visitors. Tony Story’s recognition as the Highland Ambassador of the Year is a well-deserved acknowledgment of his outstanding contributions to the sector.