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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

 

Bannerman’s New Ensuite Bathrooms

We’re proud to announce our remaining rooms, the Snug and the Eden rooms, now have completely refurbished ensuite bathrooms and are looking very smart in time for the forthcoming season.  This follows the upgrading of the other two rooms, Macintosh and Fraser last year.  Now all four rooms have new showers, WC, basin and heated towel rail as well as a bright and refreshing finish.  The new bathroom mirrors are fitted with a de-mister so they don’t get steamed up whilst you have a shower and include a sensor light and power socket for shaver or electric toothbrush.

In addition we provide towels and complimentary toiletries from Scottish Fine Soap.  We’re often asked by guests where they can buy them from when they get home, so we’ve provided a link to their site.

The Snug Bathroom

The Snug Bathroom

Of course there’s more to Bannerman Bed and Breakfast than just the bathrooms.  With 4 stylish and comfortable rooms, we offer the comforts of home with the service you need to enjoy your stay.  But the days of queuing in a drafty corridor for the bathroom are long gone.  You may think nostagically for times gone by but our expectations are for higher standards of facilities these days.  We used to think having a basin in a b&b bedroom was quite fancy.  Now we’re looking for an ensuite bathroom with modern facilities.

It’s great to start the day with a refreshing shower followed by a hearty breakfast to set you up for the day.  Whether you are here for sport, a hill-walker or you’ve just enjoyed a busy day of sight-seeing, it’s always good to know there’s a plentiful supply of hot water back at your bed and breakfast so you can spruce up before you go out for the evening.

The Eden Bathroom

The Eden Bathroom

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A Loch Ness Monster soup ladle will add mystery to your soup recipes. A must have addition to the kitchen is thís soup ladle based on our beloved Loch Ness monster, Nessie. You know you want one don’t you?!

Demand for these ladles has been huge and they have appeared all over the world, such is the fascination with the Loch Ness Monster and of course it’s an excellent product.  Who doesn’t want to see our Nessie peeping out of the soup pot!  Supplies are out of stock in many countries but due to be available again in April 2015 so not long to go – try Red Candy in the UK.

So now that you’ve got your Nessie inspired soup ladle, you’ll need the recipe for Scotch Broth.  This is a traditional Scottish soup, made from a bit of everything and designed to be very filling.  Ingredients can be substituted but ideally it’s made the night before to allow the flavour to develop.

Ingredients

75g pearl barley and 75g split pease

1kg of neck or mutton or lamb

1 large onion

1 large leek

1 neep (turnip)

approx 2 litres of water, depending on thickness required

3 carrots

2 tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley

salt and pepper

Method

Pre-soak the barley and split peas

Chop all the vegetables

Soften the chopped onion in a little cooking oil.  Once softened add the water and meat and boil, skimming off any fatty deposits from the top.

After boiling for about half an hour add the barley and peas and simmer for another 30 minutes

Add the remaining vegetables

Remove the bone, strip off the meat the return this to the pot.

Add parsley before serving, perfect with warm crusty bread.

Delicious and nutritious and very warming after exploring the Scottish countryside.  Don’t let a soup ladle be your only Monstrous experience – come and see the real thing!

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