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.

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.


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".