A Highland B&B based in the Malt Whisky Capital of the World has scooped VisitScotland’s Four Star Gold Quality Assurance Award in recognition of its high standards.
Highland Spirit B&B in Dufftown achieved a Four Star Gold award from the national tourism organisation at its latest grading. The ‘gold’ part of the Quality Assurance (QA) award represents the continuing attainment of outstanding customer service and hospitality.
The property, which also has a Taste Our Best award for its use of local and quality Scottish produce, is an ideal base for visitors wishing to explore the Malt Whisky and Castle Trails.
Their breakfast menu features bacon and sausages from the award-winning butcher in Dufftown, free range eggs from Banff, Stornoway black pudding, Mackays preserves, Graham’s butter and Rowan Glen yogurts.
Also on offer is Monkey Shoulder Whisky Porridge, with Scottish Blossom Honey, dried fruit and nuts and a dram of Monkey Shoulder Whisky. This whisky comes from three single malts, Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie – all on the Malty Whisky trail and within walking distance of the B&B.
Highland Spirit, a listed building from 1830, has undergone major refurbishment but has retained its character whilst making it a modern and luxurious B&B. The Georgian and Victorian features include original fireplaces, sash windows, panelling, cornicing and ceiling roses.
Guests are given a warm welcome on arrival and offered afternoon tea. In their rooms they will find a complimentary beverage tray and Arran Aromatics toiletries. They have use of the gardens and can also benefit from free Wi-Fi during their stay.
Previous Highland Spirit occupiers have included a Mackintosh family, Grants the Coppersmiths and the exciseman at Mortlach Distillery. The accommodation at the rear of the building was a branch of the North of Scotland Bank and includes entrance, walk in safe, bank office and manager's bedroom.
Karen Jeffs, Owner of Highland Spirit B&B with husband Alistair, said:
"We were absolutely thrilled to receive the prestigious VisitScotland Gold Award. This assures our guests that they really will be looked after in every way.
“We believe the level of service reflects the warmth of Scottish hospitality which is in many ways apparent in all the pubs, shops, visitor attractions in Dufftown and Moray-Speyside."
The couple also organise events for their guests, including a ‘Mortlach History and Whisky Walk’, where they can learn all about the Celtic Monks who came in 566AD, the history of the original settlement, its kirk and learn about the legendary battle in the 11th century. The easy walk is just over a mile long and is accompanied by five sample drams of Mortlach.
They also organise a fun event called the ‘Whisky Chocolate Marriage’, where visitors can enjoy four specially-selected Speyside drams, all differing in character and style. The handmade chocolates are designed exclusively for the Highland Spirit ‘Whisky Chocolate Marriage’ by the master chocolatier at Aberdeen-based Cocoa Ooze.
Developed and improved over the past 25 years, VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance (QA) schemes are world-leading and provide a trusted, independent and impartial source of information for visitors. They allow businesses not just to meet visitor expectations, but exceed them.
QA can open the door to new customers. It is a powerful marketing tool and works well with online review sites in using an independent perspective to measure visitor experience against tried and tested criteria, so visitors know exactly what to expect.
Launched in September 2013, Taste Our Best is a joint initiative between the national tourism organisation and the Scottish Government. Assessors rate the overall eating experience, the extent to which Scottish produce (at least 40%) is used and promoted, and staff knowledge of the produce on the menu and its provenance.
Scott Armstrong, VisitScotland Regional Partnerships Director, said:
“I commend Alistair and Karen for their hard work in securing this Four Star Gold Quality Assurance award. They really are a shining example of how to get it right and the fact they also have Taste Our Best assures their guests that they are going to enjoy the best quality local produce whilst staying there.
“Earlier this year, VisitScotland launched its biggest ever global campaign and social movement – Spirit of Scotland. The campaign is built on extensive research that shows that people think Scotland has a unique spirit – whether it’s the magic of the landscapes or the warmth of the people.
“Alistair and Karen have demonstrated their #ScotSpirit here with their warmth of welcome to guests from all over the world and the fact that they have achieved this award recognising outstanding customer service and hospitality is testament to that.”
* Scott Armstrong, VisitScotland Regional Partnerships Director is pictured with Alistair and Karen Jeffs, owners of Highland Spirit B&B in Dufftown.
Notes to Editors
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