Helen Heraty, Owner, Grays Court, York

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This year Grays Court in York scooped the title of Small Hotel of the Year as VisitEngland revealed the winners of its annual Awards for Excellence.

Further success followed later in 2020, when the hotel was given a Michelin Plate in the 2021 Guide for its Bow restaurant.

Helen Heraty first took over the hotel, which is the only privately-owned building in York with direct access to the city walls, in 2005, and a painstaking renovation process ensued, before the hotel business opened four years later. Since then Heraty has worked tirelessly to build up the reputation and service levels at Grays Court, and both of these recognitions are testament to that.

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The successes achieved by Helen in her business have been secured in the face of great adversity and difficulties including suffering personal tragedy, with the loss of her partner, and legal opposition by neighbours objecting to use of the building as a hotel. 

Helen’s single-minded determination to make the hotel a success is borne out not only by the accolades received but also by the devotion and loyalty of her team. Her leadership style fosters and encourages her staff to strive and deliver exceptional customer service reflected in the outstanding feedback received by guests. 

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Zoe Monk

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