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eilean donan castle scotland

    Eilean Donan Castle by Brian A Jackson on Envato

A bed and breakfast owner’s top tips for choosing your holiday accommodation.

As the season is hotting up and visitor numbers are increasing it can be difficult to find suitable accommodation in Inverness.  Particularly when there’s an event or concert taking place demand can be very high.  Wherever you opt to stay here’s my top tips for selecting the right venue at the right price.  Once it’s all booked, you can relax and start looking forward to your holiday.

Location, location, location

So what kind of location are you looking for?  City, rural, suburban, near an event location.  You might want to be in the heart of the action and it might be handy to be near shops, bars, restaurants but will you be disturbed by noise by late-night revellers.  Being on a main road, your b&b will be easy to find but will traffic noise keep you awake.  If you prefer somewhere rural and secluded are you happy to take a drive for the nearest restaurant or shop?

Flexible Dates

If you’re dates are fixed there’s not much to consider but if you have flexibility it’s worth checking what’s going on in the area.  For example, a big event taking place on your first choice of dates could mean a shortage of available rooms and the prices jump up.  Looking at dates nearby could give you a considerable saving and more choice.  You’ll find hotels are more likely to increase their room rates during high demand so they can fluctuate dramatically in the same week.   Whereas if you choose a bed and breakfast or guest house the rates are more consistent.

Hotel or Bed and Breakfast Holiday Accommodation

What kind of place do you want to stay in?  Here in Inverness we have the complete range of places to stay from hostels to 5 star hotels.  Consider what’s important to you – room service, bar, restaurant and leisure facilites in a hotel or the more personal service and recommendations in a guest house.  Maybe you just want somewhere to sleep if you’re going to a special event, so maybe a budget hotel would suit best.

So now it’s time for a little research.  There are so many on-line travel agents to help you find a place to stay, just google your destination and they will come up first.  They are great to give you an idea of what’s available and at the click of a button you can find out what’s available on your chosen dates with a price comparison.  You can find out what other travellers think by reading the reviews.  Maybe they’ll highlight features you hadn’t thought about, like access to public transport.   But did you know that they charge hotels a minimum of 15% commission for each booking they receive?  Many hotels pay a higher than 15% commission rate to be ranked higher in the list of available venues.

My advice is to use Booking.com or Expedia or any of these sites to find out what’s available and then check the hotel or guest house’s website direct. You will often find the same room is available at a cheaper price or there is more availability of different types of rooms.  If you’re booking for a group it’s always worth contacting the hotel direct and asking for their best price.

Still struggling to find what you’re looking for.  The tourist office provides a great resource and often lists small properties that don’t have their own website.  In Scotland, VisitScotland‘s website is a great one-stop shop.  You can search availability on your chosen dates and refine your search to suit your needs.  Whether it’s Accessibility or Pet Friendly options you’re looking for, this site will help you filter the right venue.

Happy Holidays x

 

World Porridge Making Championships took place this weekend in Carrbridge.  It was the 24th Annual Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship, which happens each year in the Scottish Highland village of Carrbridge since 1996.  Competitors from across the globe came to fight for the coveted Golden Spurtle trophy and World Porridge Making Champion title.

Ellinor Carsson and Per Carlsson 2017’s World Porridge Making Champions, photo courtesy of James Ross

Congratulations go to Sweden’s Ellinor Persson who took the coveted title of World Porridge Making Champion, with Per Carlsson taking the Speciality title. The 23-strong international line up included competitors from the USA, Russia, Switzerland, Holland, Iceland, Sweden and across the UK and Ireland.

The title of World Porridge Making Champion is awarded to the competitor who makes the best traditional porridge using only three ingredients – oatmeal, salt and water. The porridges are judged on three factors – consistency, taste and colour. 

The Speciality title is awarded for a dish comprising mainly of oats but can be sweet or savoury.  From the simple traditional recipe of oats, water and salt, this competition celebrates the diversity of porridge.  Previous winners have included Sticky Toffee Porridge, Fruity Date Porridge and Pinhead Risotto with Lemon and Thyme and Parmesan.   This simple set of natural and healthy ingredients can be transformed into hearty, flavoursome meals.

Health

Plain porridge oats and oatmeal are 100% natural with no added sugar, salt or additives.  They are naturally low in calories too – an average bowl of porridge made with water is said to be only 171 calories.  Health experts have shown that oats have many health benefits.  Oats have a high content of complex carbohydrates and soluble fibre so they release energy slowly. A bowl of porridge for breakfast should provide the body with all the energy the body needs until lunch time.

World Porridge Making Championship 25th Anniversary

The Golden Spurtle trophy comes from the traditional wooden spurtle that is used to stir porridge.  Ready to test your porridge making skills?  There’s plenty of time to hone your skills to be ready for next year’s competition, when the village of Carrbridge will be pulling out the stops for the 25th anniversary.  Entry details can be found at www.goldenspurtle.com.

 

Inverness accommodation

Did you know that Bannerman Bed and Breakfast provides child free accommodation?  It’s not that we don’t like children, it’s just that sometimes it’s nice to stay in child free accommodation that’s exclusively for adults.  We have chosen not to squeeze in extra beds and cots to our lovely bedrooms so we can maximise the comfort for guests.  You can appreciate a comfortable night’s sleep in peace and quiet and enjoy a relaxing breakfast without interruptions from the little ones.

Places of interest

Of course there are lots of activities and places of interest to visit that you can enjoy during your stay in the Highlands whilst getting away from the family.  As well as a vast array of historic venues like Culloden Battlefield, Dunrobin Castle and Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness, there’s stunning scenery to visit in very direction.  We have golden sandy beaches all along the east coast and to the north with opportunities for dolphin spotting from land and at sea.  Wildlife fans can see an array of animals in their natural habitat at Loch Garten including the magnificent ospreys and there are glorious walks for all abilities not far from here.  For a bit of exercise you can hire bikes from Ticket to Ride which is a short walk away.  As well as providing the kit they will also advise you on the best routes and provide maps.

Distilleries and shopping

And when the weather’s a wee bit dreich there’s always a distillery or 2 to visit, the Black Isle Brewery and a bit of retail therapy in the Highland capital, Inverness.  Failing that you can always relax in your bedroom at Bannerman Bed and Breakfast, take advantage of the DVD library and book exchange knowing your time is entirely your own.

So go on … treat yourselves to a break in the Highland capital, Inverness and make the most of time away from the kids.

 

Bannerman BNB