Golden touch for Salty Monk

PUBLISHED: 12:40 02 May 2008 | UPDATED: 10:38 17 June 2010

BOOKINGS have been flooding in to stay at the Salty Monk Restaurant with Rooms in Sidford, now it has won a top accommodation award.

BOOKINGS have been flooding in to stay at the Salty Monk Restaurant with Rooms in Sidford, now it has won a top accommodation award.

Annette and Andy Witheridge, took on the business in 1999 and were at the Enjoy England Awards for Excellence 2008 at St George's Hall, Liverpool, last Wednesday, to receive the gold award for bed and breakfast of the year.

Andy, who is also chef there, said: "It was a massive ceremony, with over 500 guests. The building was absolutely beautiful. Where we had dinner and the reception was mind-blowing.

"When we won the South West of England, we knew we were up against 6,000 B & Bs. To be first out of them across the whole of the country is really scary.

"The story made most of the nationals and the 'phone has not stopped ringing. I've never taken so many bookings in 48 hours, more than in the previous six weeks. It is phenomenal and from areas we've not had people before."

In all, the South West won three gold and five silver 'Oscars' in the awards. Nearby at Gittisham, Coombe House Hotel won silver for small hotel of the year and, in Chard, silver went to Forde Abbey and Gardens for small visitor attraction of the year.

Malcolm Bell, chief executive of South West Tourism, said: "What a fantastic achievement and I congratulate all of our regional winners who are representing the South West on a national level.

"They all now stand to benefit from widespread recognition for their hard work and continual investment, and they deserve it."

Julian Crow, First Great Western's general manager for the West of England and main sponsor of the regional SW Tourism Excellence Awards, added: "To have eight national winners in the South West shows the quality of the region's tourism businesses and accommodation."

Mr and Mrs Witheridge described it as "a true labour of love" to get their business to such a high level.

She said: "We entered the awards, never dreaming that we would get this far.

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