A Highland hotel which invested £8 million to develop a “pioneering” energy centre is going go head-to-head with a host of global names after being short-listed in the first World Sustainable Travel and Hospitality Awards.

The family-run Glen Mhor Hotel in Inverness was recognised after developing Scotland’s first-ever water source energy solution centre in a historic conservation area in 2021. The facility is understood to save 250 tonnes of carbon per year.

The 126-bedroom hotel initiated its own climate action plan and introduced programmes to promote inclusion and positive mental health, with its 146 employees each having an individual green job title.

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Now its endeavours have been rewarded with listings in three categories for the worldwide awards, after being only business in Scotland, and one of only two in Britain, to be named.

Selected from hundreds of entries, the Glen Mhor will now go up against international chains, resorts and famous names in the global vote, which is now open to everyone.

Voting will close on August 2 and the winners in each category will be announced in the inaugural ceremony in Belize on September 27.

The Glen Mhor Hotel, which uses its energy centre to produce malt whisky and craft beer at its on-site Uile-bheist Distillery and Brewery, scored highly with judges on three aspects.

Its nominations are for world leading sustainable energy efficiency initiative, world leading sustainable water and waste innovation and the world’s leading sustainable employer.

The award categories were chosen to reflect the United Nations’ sustainable development goals and will be contested by brands such as Accor, Radisson and Mandarin Oriental.

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"When we evaluated our business with a desire to future-proof with renewable technology and practices, we knew we had to take bold steps in order to achieve our net-zero goals,” said Victoria Erasmus, the hotel’s sustainability director.

"Our energy centre and sustainable technology had never been used before and we had the challenge of building during lockdown in a historic conservation area and during the Covid pandemic. Despite the challenges and the risks, we were driven by the urgency to address a global climate crisis.

"As a smaller player among these fellow nominees, I am incredibly proud of our team's efforts and honoured to have been shortlisted. This recognition is a testament to the fact that everyone in the hospitality industry, not just the large chains and resorts, can make a significant impact on sustainability and climate change. The journey has been challenging, but this acknowledgement is the ultimate reward for our hard work and dedication."

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The Glen Mhor’s energy centre has provided a new source for heating and hot water at the hotel, replacing 20 gas boilers. Electricity usage was also reduced by solar panels as the Glen Mhor aims be carbon neutral by 2030.

As well as transforming operational practices, the hotel has won praise for its staff initiatives, with 20 trained mental health first aiders, sensory recruitment practices and measures to promote inclusion in hospitality.

“Sustainability is at the heart for our staff and training,” Ms Erasmus said. “In our business, every role is a green role, designed with environmental responsibility in mind. This approach is essential for transforming both attitudes and operational practices."