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Teeing off to 5 Star success in Dornoch

Press Release   •   Oct 13, 2016 12:24 BST

Gordon and Hilary Sutherland are pictured at Fionn Lodge with VisitScotland Regional Partnerships Director, Scott Armstrong

A boutique bed & breakfast overlooking the first green on the Royal Dornoch Championship golf course has achieved VisitScotland’s highest Quality Assurance (QA) grading.

Fionn Lodge in the Highlands was awarded the national tourism organisation’s Five Star B&B QA award at its first ever grading. Situated in a quiet cul-de-sac, the contemporary B&B is just a few minutes’ walk from Dornoch town centre.

Hosts Gordon and Hilary Sutherland have created high quality B&B accommodation, which comprises three ensuite guest bedrooms (Carnegie, Sutherland and Ross), a roof terrace with unique views, a fully weatherproof sun lounge with views over Royal Dornoch’s Championship Golf Course; and access to a large, secluded garden. There is also free Wi-Fi and a selection of delicious breakfast choices, featuring locally-sourced ingredients.

The rooms are decorated to high standards and have been designed to offer maximum comfort and relaxation, featuring luxurious beds, bed linen and furnishings, tea and coffee making facilities, bath robe and slippers and extra luxury touches, including designer toiletries.

Originally constructed in 1903, Fionn Lodge has an interesting history. Much of the new architect-designed guest accommodation sits within the former studio of the artist AJ Ryle (1857-1915) who used to welcome many of the top golfers of the day to stay with him.

With its buildings made of local sandstone, and local attractions including a 13th century cathedral, historic castle, court house and jail, Dornoch is one of Scotland’s most charming and interesting little towns. The town is globally famed for its championship golf course which has recently been ranked as high as #1 in Scotland and #5 in the world. The first record of golf being played on Dornoch’s challenging but beautiful links was in 1616.

Developed and improved for over 30 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.

Scott Armstrong, VisitScotland Regional Partnerships Director, said: I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to Gordon and Hilary, on achieving the top grading at Fionn Lodge. To attain the highest ‘star’ rating on their first grading visit is a real achievement, involving much hard work on their part.

“There is a high awareness and trust amongst visitors of the VisitScotland Quality Assurance scheme and it plays a key role in holiday decision-making both before and during a trip, providing a credible benchmark and filter mechanism.

“Our QA scheme helps businesses to reach their full potential and truly shine. The scheme is about more than just the ‘stars’ on the door - it’s about the entire visitor experience, about investing in your business and making it as economically sustainable as it can possibly be.

“It is imperative that everyone involved in tourism steps up to the mark like this, to ensure that visitors want to return to the Highlands time and time again.”

Gordon and Hilary Sutherland, owners of Fionn Lodge, said:When we opened as a boutique B&B in June this year, our aim was to provide our guests with a high quality hospitality experience. We are delighted that this approach has resulted in us being the first B&B in Dornoch to be awarded a 5 Star rating from the national tourism organisation, particularly due to the objective nature of the award.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed our first season and we look forward to welcoming back ‘old friends’ - and making many new ones - in 2017 and beyond."

For more information, visit www.fionnlodge.com

For further information on VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance scheme, please visitwww.visitscotland.org/quality_assurance.aspx

Notes to Editors

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  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
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      2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design started on 1 January 2016 and will end on 31 December 2016.It will build on the momentum generated by the 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate. 
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ERDF.