The owner of a luxury guest house in Scarva said she was ‘delighted’ for the business to clinch a top prize at the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards.
Joyce Brownless, who opened Blackwell House with her husband Steve two years ago, said it was a ‘lovely surprise’ to win the prestigious Serviced Accommodation award.
“I’m absolutely delighted,” Joyce commented. “I almost can’t take it in.
“We’ve only been open about two years, so it’s hard to believe we have achieved this, especially being up against such tough opposition and businesses that have been open for a number of years.”
Having been selected as finalists, Joyce and Steve attended an awards ceremony in Londonderry/Derry.
“I had no idea at all that we’d win,” Joyce said. “The ceremony was black tie, very lavish, there were various awards and when they got to the serviced accommodation award it was a lovely surprise to get first prize.”
The local business has always prided itself on providing a little bit of luxury for guests, many of whom return for another visit.
“When we opened we wanted to do so at the luxury end.” Joyce explained. “We’d only been open about four months when we got our five star accreditation.
“We have regular guests and get lovely emails and comments from them. It’s fantastic and it lets you see you are doing something right.
“It’s hard work, but this acknowledgement makes all the hard work worth it,” Joyce added.
Joyce says that at Blackwell House they offer guests “absolutely anything and everything the could wish for.
“We have super king size beds, large bathrooms, two with roll top baths and walk-in showers.
“I used to travel quite a lot with previous work and I wanted to provide guests with all the things you would hope were there, but weren’t.
“If we can do it, it’s done. Nothing is too much trouble,” Joyce stated. “We’ll even create a menu around our guests.
“I really enjoy it. When we welcome guests I love making them feel welcome and making sure they are happy, and when they leave I love knowing they enjoyed their stay.
“As well as accommodation, we also offer afternoon tea.
“Local people wouldn’t come to stay, but we have had quite a number of people, particularly ladies, booking afternoon tea parties, whether they are celebrating a birthday or a baby shower.
“People can come out here and be totally relaxed and get away from it all, whilst we are also quite accessible to surrounding places like Banbridge,” Joyce explained.