With a unique riverside location, Marriott’s four-star AC Hotel Belfast is a breath of fresh air for city staycations. Enjoy easy parking, design-led interiors, comfy beds, iconic views, outside terrace and destination restaurant. The hotel is bathed in natural light by day and by night enjoys the buzz of “Novelli at City Quays” for an evening of good company and great food. Stay must be pre-booked and dates are subject to availability. Valid until March 31, 2022.

Sept/Oct 2021 Travel News LIFE AS AN ISLAND HOTELIER

Scott Fisher on Lower Town Quay outside The Karma St Martins Hotel.

NIGEL HEATH caught up with Irish born Scott Fisher, the General Manager of The Karma St Martins Hotel, to talk all things Island life...

You can now vote for the Northern Ireland Travel Agent of the Year 2021

In what has been an unprecedented 18 months for our local travel agents and indeed, the wider travel industry, there has never been more demand for a travel agent.

The travel agent has given this service under the pressure of staff on furlough, restrictions on office openings during lockdown and the lack of clarity from government on the changes to travel restrictions. There has never been a better time to recognise your travel agent’s quality of service and the reassurance they bring you as a client. All types of retail agency will be considered for the award, whether single, multi-branch, independent and individual shops of UK multiples or home workers.

When selecting your choice, it is important to take into considerations to proactive support you received from your travel agent during this period.

Those who have been there for their clients throughout the last two years to sort out rebooking, refunds and all the complex enquiries relating to all forms of travel across all sectors of the industry deserve to be recognised.

The agency should be judged by its performance and service to clients in the period October 2019 - September 2021.

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The Karma St Martins Hotel situated on the Island of St Martins where Scott Fisher is General Manager

in the circumstances because they’d flown in to the UK from Russia. But laying his hands on the famous delicacy was a little easier said than done because The Karma St Martins Hotel is on the small island of St Martins, which is part of the Isles of Scilly archipelago some twenty- eight miles beyond Land’s End.


“It was clear they were missing their caviar so there was nothing for it but to have some flown in from the mainland and I had to do the same with another party of guests who had their hearts set on oysters,” said Scott. “We serve the most wonderful seafood freshly caught for us every day, unless the sea is too rough, but sadly we have no oyster beds on Scilly,” he added. But that was all a far cry from the current season which saw the hotel’s opening delayed until May 17 because of the earlier Corona Virus lockdown situation. “We all had to get our skates on pretty rapidly to prepare and be up and running with all the required safety measures in place,” said Scott, who flew in from the historic Karma Salford Hall in the Vale of Evesham Warwickshire.

“But all went relatively smoothly and we were fully booked from the start with guests, who just could not wait to get over here and were completely understanding when it came to following the new house rules,” he said. “If we had a doorman, he’d spend most of his days just a few short steps from the hotel because we’re literally just above the jetty where most of our guests arrive by

hen a small party of guests visited the hotel where Irish born Scott Fisher, is General Manager, they requested caviar which was understandable

launch, unless we collect them from Higher Town Quay at the other and of the Island,” he said. “We are unique in that the Karma St Martins is the only hotel on the island which also has a relatively small number of bed and breakfasts as well as some self- catering accommodation together with a camp site. And our guests enjoy the best of both worlds because while they have some fabulous sandy and most often deserted beaches just a stroll around the coastal paths garlanded with wild flowers, they can also hop onboard a launch and visit the other four inhabited isles of Scilly, he said. Scott spent the first five years of his life growing up in Ballinasloe , Galway, until the family moved to Bristol where his mother Bridie took over the former Seeley’s Hotel and he went on to help out in the restaurant and later reception from the age of fifteen.

“She redeveloped the hotel in 2004 and moved back to Ireland where I was born and I went off and did other things but catering and hotel keeping was in my blood so after a while I decided to return to it,” he said. That was back in 2010 when he first came out to Scilly to manage holiday homes on the nearby island of Tresco. Here he got to grips with all the logistics of holidaymakers flying into the main island of St Marys or arriving on the Penzance based passenger and supply ship MV Scillonian and then being transported by launch to the island. But Scott was still hankering after a full return to the hotel business so when the Karma Group acquired and reopened the hotel on St Martins, which had been built some years earlier, he jumped at the chance of becoming its prospective General Manager in Training. “Karma Group were new to the islands so with my logistical experience it was an ideal arrangement,” he said.

That was back in 2015 and since then Scott has immersed himself in the group, flying off to their hotels on Australia’s west coast, Gili Meno, Bavaria and Normandy as GM holiday relief because The Karma St Martins closes between the end of October and Easter. “It’s great to go off, but to tell you the truth, it’s always wonderful to be back on St Martins because I now regard the Isles of Scilly as my home,” he said.

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