Afternoon delights

Sherry has been busy this evening. Afternoon guest-room delights: pecan-nut pie bars top, date flapjacks (for our gluten-free guests), and chocolate brownies.

Highlander House Halloween

(Haunted) Highlander House?

It's that time of the year to have fun with pumkins again.

We'll never forget our first Canadian Halloween on Vancouver Island back in 2003. Fortunately, we were prepared.

Around 200 youngsters of all ages converged on our Cilaire neighbourhood and quickly depleted an enormous refuse bag of chocolates.

We've never replicated that incredible Halloween but enjoyed some fabulous ones in our darling French village of Daglan.

Halloween French-style: Daglan, Dordogne, 2017

Happy Halloween week, everyone!

Guest Reviews

Thank you to our valued guests for their kind words of their experience at Highlander House. You left with a smile on your face, and great memories and we can't wait for your to return.

We are fortunate enough to be regular visitors to Rothesay and stayed in many places , but the hospitality received from Gus during our stay blew us away . The Highlander is just beautiful inside and out. Our room was lovely and set out with lot of personal touches, each room with a different theme. Nothing was a problem , breakfast was amazing and set us up for the day.
We will be back again soon and have recommended the Highlander to our friends and family. Thank you again Gus & Sherry for your warm hospitality
.
Colin & Mari Campbell July 2022

Angelene and David, thank you for the flowers and kind words (July 2022)
Angelene and David July 2022

From the minute we arrive we were met by Gus the owner with a very welcoming welcome, He showed us to our room which was very clean and well laid out and the little extra like the milk in a bottle fridge. The downstairs rooms were excellent and Gus even made us a cuppa and we had a nice little chat. The Breakfast were outstanding and very filling, set us for the day. Would I book again? Defo would. Thank You for 10 out of 10 stay.

Mr Les Pigg July 2022

Thank you, Jean and Mattie (July 2022)
Thank you, Lynda & Henry!! (June 2022)
The Alexander Family 23 May 2022

Un très bel endroit et des propriétaires aux petits soins pour vous et très cultivés. Merci pour la vache qui est sur ma pelouse.

Edouard de Barbentane, Chateau de Barbentane, Barbentane, France

“My wife and I were near the end of our counter clockwise coastal
driving tour of northern Scotland when we discovered the beautiful Isle of Bute, the lovely city of Rothesay and checked into our
accommodation (Highlander House B&B). Our hosts Sherry and Angus
were positively charming and made us feel very welcome.
The lodging is spectacular and commands a primo view of the sea. We particularly enjoyed strolling along the pathway toward the town
centre.
Sherry and Angus know a lot about Bute including its rich
history, beautiful flora and scenic vistas and were more than happy to help us plan our stay.

The rooms were very comfortable, the entire feel of Highlander House
was of relaxed luxury and we only wish we could have stayed longer.
We would have no hesitation in recommending this property and are
already planning to go back.”

Ron and Barb Bollans (BC, Canada)

“What to say about Highlander house… just Sherry and Gus are amazing people with out of common kindness. A little welcome appetizer, very clean and comfortable rooms. A sofa in the living room with a little white wine ahead of a Rugby game with Gus, what better for a good time in Scotland. Looking forward to seeing you again. A great hello of Dordogne in France.”

Olivier Mazeau, Perigueux, France

“Highlander House B&B is extremely well located. It’s only a brisk walk from both the main shopping area on the Isle of Bute and the local ferry. The views from Highlander House are spectacular, especially at sunset. The hosts being Angus and Sherry are most welcoming and go out of their way to ensure that you are both comfortable and relaxed in the newly renovated bed and breakfast. The bedroom and bathrooms are well designed and modern. The breakfast that is served is scrumptious to say the least. I would highly recommend that any traveller looking for an affordable amazing experience should book a few nights at the Highlander House B&B.”

Lee Ellis, Durban, South Africa

“We truly enjoyed our stay at Highlander House B&B, a lovely restored heritage house. Angus and Sherry are wonderful hosts, so kind and caring. The meals were outstanding and our room comfortable and quiet. We felt so welcome and are looking forward to our next visit. They are across the street from the oceanfront walkway and convenient to the village centre. We highly recommend them!”

Nadine Lindstrom, Nanaimo, Canada

Garden View

We're delighted with the results of our recent backyard hardscaping and the view it now presents the garden-view guest rooms.

Tranquil garden view from Eilean Donan and the Bens & Glens guest rooms

Highlander House guests get the best breakfasts, whether it be the quintessential full Scottish or scrambled egg-stuffed croissant with your choice of bacon and or sausage (check out our breakfast menu)

The birdlife in the backyard is fabulous because we also feed them the best! Sunflower hearts and berry suet pellets have been the perennial favourites for the many blue-tits, great tits, coal tits, robins, chaffinches and hedge sparrows.

If you're lucky you might even catch a glimpse of the resident sparrowhawk.

We're always learning from our guests

Providing our guests with the perfect stay is our sole objective. It's by listening to our guests that we gain so much valuable insight, and what contributes to Highlander House being a boutique B&B. We don't do standard, we don't do average...and we're always listening to you, our valued guests.

A few months ago, treasured guests remarked that they drank more tea than average and that they'd really appreciate a lot more tea and a container of fresh milk in their guest room, as opposed to the standard UHT milk pods. This was a revelation for us...and we immediately purchased teeny mini fridges for each guest room. Not only can they accommodate a couple of 250ml bottles of wine, but also fresh milk and the quintessential Scottish can of Irn-Bru!

After a recent not-so-pleasant experience, when, with complete disrespect to ourselves and ensuing house guests, this person felt suitably "entitled" to not give a damn by smoking in the guest room (rendering the room out-of-commission for a week with loss of associated revenue), we learned a positive out of the bad experience.

Smoke detectors, by design, won't necessarily detect cigarette smoke or vaping in a room especially if the activity takes place in a bathroom with the fan operating.

But now, all guest rooms are equipped with Air Quality Monitors, in addition to the sophisticated interlinked smoke alarms!

These amazing little Air Quality Monitors supply 24/7 temperature, humidity, Co2, Particulate Matter and VOC readings to our central console and phone app, allowing us to monitor and take corrective action when readings reach adverse levels. (Humidity too high = switch on the dehumidifiers; temperature too low = up the room heating; CO2 levels a bit high = investigate; PM and VOC levels abnormal = someone is smoking/vaping!!)

It's now no longer possible to smoke or vape in the bathroom to evade a guest room smoke detector, in the hope that the bathroom fan evacuates evidence. The elevated PM and VOC readings recorded by these sophisticated Air Quality Monitors allows us to immediately identify and charge transgressors with a cleaning-fee before they're ejected from Highlander House...and our following guests won't have their precious planned stay adversely impacted by an uncaring, entitled jerk.

All our guests deserve superb air quality in our guest rooms.

To be honest, it's only a matter of time before these clever little monitors are industry-standard, but we're so happy they're NOW installed at Highlander House for your guest room air quality.

An extraordinary thank you!

Highlander House offers something very different on the beautiful Isle of Bute. What we offer you is memorable and happy.

We don't do standard. We don't do average. We want you to visit and as a guest and leave as a friend.

Recently we had a very special booking.

A delightful group of siblings booked a very special stay at Highlander House...a family reunion to honour their father and mother.

These are the types of bookings that mean the world to us.

And we do everything we can to ensure this special occasion is a happy and memorable one.

A huge credit to the Alexander family, for organising such a special weekend in honour of their parents.

We were blown away with the extraordinary thank you on the day of their departure.

Tulips

Tulip splendour at Highlander House

Every year as winter approached Sherry painstakingly buries hundreds and hundreds of tulip bulbs. All through the winter they lie covered and then, miraculously, burst forth in the spring...a riot of vibrant colour, much needed after a drab grey winter.

Every year Sherry asks the same question "oranges, yellows and reds?" or "pinks and purples?". And every year my preference is for the fiery colours as opposed to Sherry's preference for the pinks and purples.

Sherry's preferred pastilles

2023? I'm informed by Sherry that next year will be a kaleidoscope mix of both our colour preferences.

What is a Boutique B&B? (Part 2)

Musician duo created from palm fronds - Audrey Rudnick, South Africa

Following on from the previous post, consider the following three descriptions that most likely distinguish a true “boutique B&B”: 

  • Design focused 
  • Small and sophisticated 
  • Eclectic 

Starting with the focus on design, look at The25 Boutique B&B in Torquay. The owners simply personify “design focus” contributing to The25 being the epitome of a “boutique B&B”. Their masterful blend of unwavering attention to detail, guest pampering and exquisite bedroom design has, among other hard-working factors, secured them the fantastic and deserved accolade of being “Best B&B IN THE WORLD”   

The25 has five guest rooms, which seems perfect for a “boutique B&B”. Arguably, a B&B with, say, 10 rooms is going to struggle to be identified as “boutique” since guests are going to be less likely to receive the same personal attention as that offered at a 5-room B&B. 

“Sophisticated” was touched on in the previous post and perhaps Glasgow University's professor of English, Faye Hammill, does define it best as “a measure of refinement—displaying good taste, wisdom and subtlety". 

When you introduce the term “eclectic” and marry it with “sophisticated”, a better picture emerges of “boutique B&B”. Both terms suggest an atmospheric B&B elegantly designed, furnished and presented as a melting pot of the owners’ worldly experience. 

At Highlander House, we welcome you to what is, inevitably, a melting pot of our experience of living in Africa, Australia, Canada, France and now Scotland over the decades. 

Original artwork collected from our lives lived on four different continents, adorns Highlander House. At breakfast, you’re as likely to be offered Scottish black pudding or lorne sausage, South African boerewors, or French equivalent of saucisse de Toulouse. 

Book your boutique B&B melting-pot experience by visiting our website at highlanderhouse.co.uk 

What is a boutique B&B?

Bens & Glens guest room dining nook

We confess we'd no idea before eventually stumbling (via our world-wide meanderings) into quite possibly creating one here at Highlander House.

Research of the term delivers nothing definitive, only a collection of descriptions:
- small and sophisticated
- personal
- eclectic
- stylish
- intimate
- urban location
- design focus

All B&Bs are small, personal and intimate, and many are urban located.

"Stylish" is in the eye of the beholder.

Sophisticated?

Research that term and you'll find some unpleasant definitions. Fortunately, Glasgow University's own professor of English, Faye Hammill, quotes it "common as a measure of refinement—displaying good taste, wisdom and subtlety rather than crudeness, stupidity and vulgarity." ?

Sophistication in the world of technology defines state of the art and superior.

With this pic of an unassuming dining nook in the Bens & Glens guest room at Highlander House, we wonder whether we've in this one pic ticked some of those "Boutique B&B" boxes?

The half-moon table is up-cycled from a cherry-wood dining table we brought back to Scotland from our previous home in France.

Whilst not in this room, most Highlander House guest rooms have original 1851-built fireplaces rediscovered with the inserts replaced by smokeless charm.

Technology-wise, today's automatic coffee machines like the one featured, offer guests a playful and experimental choice of creme-topped coffees and fuzzy-warm hot chocolates.

Behind the coffee machine (and well placed around guest rooms) wall sockets offer plentiful USB charging for tablets, phones etc

Above the tea/coffee caddy (and also at bedside locations), a dedicated Cat6a hard-wired internet jack is available for those who require seriously fast internet speed as opposed to the limitations of wifi.

In the following posts we'll consider other elements that contribute to the concept that is "Boutique B&B".