Winning majors is par for the course for one of the top guest houses in Merseyside.
The Stamford, in Southport town centre, is a dream for golfers.
The venue, on Bath Street, has just been recognised as runner-up in the B&B / Guest House Of The Year category at the Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards.
The Stamford welcomes families from all over the world and, situated on England’s ‘Golf Coast’, is well placed for people who love to play a few rounds on some of the finest courses in Britain.
The guest house even has a dedicated golf room, where guests can charge their buggies and store their clubs.
Owners Sarah and Ricky Blaney, and their Manager Laura Duffy, even arrange transport to local golf courses and get breakfast bought in for large groups.
It’s no wonder that golfers travel across the world to Southport.
The holiday resort is at the centre of ‘England’s Golf Coast, which is home to 12 of the finest golf courses in Britain.
With no less than 7 courses in the ‘Top 100 Courses of the UK & Ireland’ and 8 listed in the ‘Top 100 Courses in England’, the concentration of championship golf available within England’s Golf Coast is unparalleled. The three nearby Open Championship venues of Royal Birkdale, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham & St Annes have hosted The Open an impressive 33 times between them since 1897 (Royal Birkdale last hosted the event in 2017).
The Stamford you could say is Open for business.
Being recognised as one of the top two Guest Houses in the Liverpool City Region is a remarkable achievement considering Sarah and Ricky Blaney only took over the business last Summer.
Sarah said: “Like many guest houses and B&Bs, The Stamford is a really small team of just me, my husband Ricky and our manager Laura.
“It was such a privilege to be shortlisted for the Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards. Merseyside is an amazing place with such history, beauty and entertainment and to represent it as an accommodation provider was really special.
“We didn’t expect to win as we have not been operating a full year so to be a runner-up was a huge accolade.”
Sarah and Ricky, who also run a property company, opened the doors at The Stamford in August with high hopes.
They enjoyed a superb start, which was recognised by the Tourism Awards accolade.
Now like everyone else they are working hard to get through the Covid-19 pandemic, which no-one foresaw this time last year.
“It’s definitely unfortunate, and not the situation we were hoping for,” said Sarah. “You have just got to roll with it. There are talks of vaccines now and if Covid does go it will be fantastic.
“Southport has so many great things going for it to attract visitors.”
When they do arrive in town, guests are always assured of a warm welcome.
Sarah said: “We operate a little bit differently at The Stamford compared to a traditional seaside guest house.
“We offer a really flexible check-in process, and so many of our guests love the fact that they can just self check in, dump their bags and enjoy Southport.
“We like to think of ourselves as a mini hotel, amazing beautiful luxury rooms, at guest house prices with all the flexibility of a hotel.
“It suits international guests who are arriving in the early hours in readiness to play golf at our amazing golf courses.
“Or the conference guests who are busy all day and need someone peaceful and beautiful to recharge.
“We also have a communal lounge and kitchen area; with a big guest fridge, microwave, toaster and crockery, you can prepare your own breaky, eat a takeaway in comfort or for our business travellers, whack a ready meal in for an easy bite.
“We have fab relationships with local cafes, pubs and restaurants offering discounts for all guests.
“We are really proud of The Stamford, our rooms are such high standard and the feedback from guests cements that they love our combination of hotel and guest house too.
“These are the strangest of times for the hospitality trade and we are super grateful for the support we get from the Southport Hoteliers Association, Sefton Council and wider hospitality trade. We can’t wait to see the industry get back to serving Southport visitors and doing our bit for the local economy.”
Southport BID CEO Rachel Fitzgerald said: “Congratulations to The Stamford in Southport on being honoured at the Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards.
“I am pleased to see our town’s accommodation providers being so widely recognised and helping to put Southport on the map.
“Well done too to everyone at Bliss Hotel in Southport on being shortlisted in the Hotel Of The Year category.”
Southport Hoteliers Association (SHA) spokesperson Anthony Duffey said: “It is fantastic news to see SHA members being nominated for top awards yet again.
“It has been a difficult year for the town’s accommodation providers but we have all been working hard to improve our offering.
“It is good that this has been recognised by the Liverpool City Region.”
Peter Hampson is Chair of Marketing Southport, the public-private sector partnership that promotes Southport nationally via a range of media including the Visit Southport website and social media channels.
He was delighted to see The Stamford nominated for B&B / Guest House Of The Year, while the Kings Garden Tea Room was shortlisted for Cafe / Bistro Of The Year, Bliss Hotel was runner-up for Hotel of The Year, and Formby Hall Golf Resort And Spa won Hotel of The Year.
Speaking on behalf of the Marketing Southport board, he said: “We are delighted that this year Southport had four hospitality businesses in the running for awards. Three of them were placed and one, Formby Hall Golf Club and Spa, was the winner as the Hotel Of The Year in the Liverpool City Region.
“The Stamford guest house’s performance in its own hotly contested category is not just commendable but well deserved.
“The annual awards are not simply about recognition for the business but also help keep Southport’s position as the second largest tourism component in theLiverpool City Region foremost in the minds of the tourism and hospitality business community and critically foremost in the minds of policy makers and politicians across the City Region and beyond who ultimately direct support and development funding.
“Marketing Southport’s board agreed at it bi-monthly meeting this week to work to encourage more businesses to enter next year’s events.
“We look forward to Southport having even greater success in 2021 and hopefully to seeing more venues like The Stamford entering and winning accolades from their peers in the industry.
“Winning entries go on the represent the region in the Visit England national awards.”
The 2020 Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards saw 17 awards were handed out on the night.
Peter Sandman, Head of Visitor Economy at Growth Platform said: 2020 has presented the city region with many difficult challenges which we must face together, rewarding and celebrating all these businesses is one way we can show unity and strength as a sector.
“We know there are many challenges ahead and hurdles to overcome but we have the assets and the right people across the region to successfully come through this unprecedented time.”
Laura Pye, Chair of the Visitor Economy Board and Director of National Museums Liverpool said: “At a time when the tourism and hospitality sectors are facing perhaps the most difficult challenge in their history, it’s vital that we are able to celebrate the achievements of the fantastic people and places that the Liverpool City Region has to offer. We wish the winners many congratulations, and we stand side by side.”
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