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A Highland hotel in which Queen Victoria once stayed has achieved its Four Star Quality Assurance (QA) award from the national tourism organisation.
The Grant Arms Hotel, in Grantown-on-Spey, which specialises in bird watching and wildlife holidays, was given the accolade by VisitScotland.
Built in 1765, during the reign of King George III and situated in the Cairngorms National Park, the hotel is run by David Duncan and his team, and offers 50 ensuite bedrooms.
Queen Victoria stayed in the hotel and reportedly wrote in her Journal on September 4 1860: “On and on we went till at length we saw lights … turned down a small court to the door of the inn. Here we got out quickly – Lady Churchill and General Gray not waiting for us. We went up a small staircase, and were shown to our bed-room at the top of it – very small, but clean – with a large four-post bed which nearly filled the whole room…”
The hotel also holds a Taste Our Best award and is a member of VisitScotland’s IKnow Partner Programme, which promotes the depth of knowledge found amongst Scottish tourism businesses and means their staff demonstrate their value as a source of useful, valuable and inspiring visitor information.
Taste Our Best - a joint initiative between VisitScotland and the Scottish Government - aims to encourage eateries to deliver the very best Scottish food and drink experience and promote the local provenance of the ingredients and dishes they serve.
The hotel’s celebrity-guided holidays - with TV presenters Nigel Marven and Nick Baker – taking place in October and November this year are already fully-booked, as is another with nature observer and TV presenter Iolo Williams for spring 2020. A bird watching and wildlife club are also run by the hotel, which also hosts free evening talks on a variety of nature-related subjects, open to all.
The Grant Arms’ restaurant has recently been refurbished and head chef Steven ‘Fred’ Hart and his team are passionate about using as much local and regional produce as possible in the creation of the menus. Free range, hand-reared, organic and GM-free where possible are key elements in their choice of supplier.
Suppliers include eggs from Gawnsmoss Farm in Banffshire; fish from M&J Seafoods and Highland Fish in Inverness; game from Great Glen Game in Spean Bridge and bread from McLean’s the Highland Baker.
Chris Taylor, VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director, said: “I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to David and his team at the Grant Arms for their efforts in achieving Four Stars.
“High-quality hotel accommodation is very important to our visitors and it is fantastic to see the Highlands’ tourism offering being enhanced by the Grant Arms’ well-deserved achievement.
“Quality Assurance is about much more than just the ‘stars’ on your door – it’s about the entire visitor experience, investing in your business and making it as economically sustainable, and profitable, as it can possibly be.”
David Duncan, General Manager at the Grant Arms Hotel, said: “When I joined The Grant Arms it was very run-down, but ten years on and with massive investment - both front and back of house - in training and
development, we have moved from Three Star to Three Star Gold and now to Four Star.
“This is recognition and formal endorsement of the team’s hard work. New lucrative markets are now available to take us into an exciting future.”
Developed over the last four decades in partnership with the tourism industry and informed by visitor research, VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance schemes are world-leading. QA stars alongside online reviews give visitors a balance of objective and subjective views to assist in their decision making and expectations.
For further information about the Grant Arms, visit www.grantarmshotel.com
To learn more about VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance and other schemes visit: www.visitscotland.org
Highland hotel achieves Four Stars