July 3, 2020 | Pride of Britain Hotels
Recent research* by Pride of Britain Hotels in light of the COVID-19 crisis reveals that consumer confidence in the luxury end of the market is buoyant. Over half of the consortium’s customers (51%) hope to take a luxury UK hotel break in the next three months, with 80% of guests happy to travel three hours or more for that long-awaited, much-dreamt-of hotel stay. Furthermore, 62% of guests hope to visit a Pride of Britain hotel to enjoy a special meal within the next three months, with 95% of all hotel stays being planned for leisure, rather than business, purposes.
With the UK hotel industry largely preparing to open to customers in July, the research found, unsurprisingly, that customers rated extra cleaning measures to be key, followed by the maintenance of Pride of Britain’s usual levels of outstanding service and hospitality. The third most-requested points in the survey were professional training of staff in virus-specific hygiene, availability of hand sanitisers at key points around hotels and the provision of plenty of wide, open spaces. Guests also specified the need for reduced occupancy in hotel and dining rooms. Interestingly, 25% of those surveyed said they would like as little visible change to normal (pre-COVID) operations as possible.
Pride of Britain Hotels is looking forward to welcoming guests once again to its 50-strong luxury collection, none more so than its three new members – The Fife Arms, Fingal and Ness Walk, all located in Scotland; details of each new member follow:
The Fife Arms, Braemar, Cairngorms, Scottish Highlands
Located in the spectacular village setting of Braemar (home to the prestigious Highland Games), in the heart of Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park, The Fife Arms opened its doors, after a much-anticipated refurbishment, 18 months ago. The former Victorian coaching inn is owned by Iwan and Manuela Wirth (co-presidents of the prestigious Hauser & Wirth art galleries) – so, unsurprisingly, the hotel provides a beguiling backdrop for Scottish artists and eclectic art and artefacts from around the world. The interiors were designed by Russell Sage, with a house tartan adorning the walls of The Drawing Room – a perfect spot for morning coffee or afternoon tea – and the glorious gardens were designed by Chelsea Flower Show medal winner, Jinny Blom.
There are just 46 sumptuous guest bedrooms and suites – each one dedicated to a local place, person, event or theme, be it Robert Louis Stevenson, who began writing Treasure Island in Braemar, or Lord Byron, who spent time in Braemar recuperating from scarlet fever.
The Clunie Dining Room takes its name from the local river and is overseen by Executive Chef Tim Kensett. Using wood-fired cooking techniques and seasonal produce, dishes such as Scottish squid risotto and Shetland mussels are served up in the striking space which has a distinctive river mural, hand-painted by Argentinian artist Guillermo Kuitca in his “cubistoid” style. The hotel is also home to The Flying Stag, a public bar, which offers hearty Scottish fare, real ales and an extensive whisky menu. For a more glamourous alternative, Elsa’s, the art deco cocktail bar serves artisan cocktails, pre-dinner aperitifs and nightcaps.
A range of Scottish-inspired spa treatments are available, including pedicures, manicures, massages with Hot Cairngorm Stones and a ‘Laddies Highland Refresh’ facial for men. The hotel’s ghillie team is on hand to advise guests on the surrounding castles, whisky distilleries, coastlines and walks, and there is a trained gamekeeper who leads the outdoor pursuits programme.
Lead-in price: Guest rooms are from £250 per night (two sharing) and Suites from £795 (two sharing) per night; both rates include full Scottish breakfast.
Fingal, Leith, Edinburgh
Owned and run by the award-winning team at The Royal Yacht Britannia, Fingal started life as a lighthouse tender, helping maintain lighthouses and transporting vital equipment to some of the most treacherous locations in Scotland from its original base in Oban.
In January 2019, Fingal opened as a luxury floating hotel, permanently berthed in the historic port of Leith, just two miles from the centre of Edinburgh. There are 23 luxury cabins – many with direct access to the decks – perfect for stargazing or an indulgent glass of Champagne.
With an Art Deco-inspired interior, The Lighthouse Restaurant & Bar serves drinks and cocktails, plus breakfast and dinner. Fingal’s salmon is smoked on board, and Head Chef Brendan Wills’ creations include Isle of Gigha Halibut and Rhubarb & frangipane tart. An indulgent afternoon tea is also served daily (from £40 pp – £50 pp with a glass of Champagne). Fingal’s ballroom, with its sweeping staircases and lavish décor, is a unique spot for celebrations and events for up to 60 guests.
Nearby must-see attractions include The Royal Yacht Britannia, Her Majesty the Queen’s former floating home for over 40 years. Leith also has an eclectic mix of cafés, shops, and boutiques. Edinburgh’s many attractions are within easy reach.
Lead-in price: A Classic Cabin (two sharing) is from £200 per night and Classic Duplex Cabins are from £400 per night; both rates include full Scottish breakfast.
Ness Walk, Inverness, Scottish Highlands
Situated on the banks of the River Ness, in the heart of Inverness, five-star Ness Walk is a lovingly restored 19th century house. With a sweeping driveway and a secluded leafy setting, the property has 47 bedrooms, including two spacious suites, and décor inspired by Scotland’s scenery. Guests can expect high-quality bed linen, Illy coffee machines, Bluetooth audio systems, en-suite marble bathrooms and environmentally-friendly toiletries by Arran Sense of Scotland.
Overseen by Executive Chef Craig Douglas, Torrish is the hotel’s main restaurant, named after the beautiful salmon fly commonly used when fishing nearby. Premium cuts of meat and fresh fish are sourced from local suppliers, vegetables are gathered from a local organic farm and herbs are grown on site. Sample dishes include Sous Vide Speyside Beef Rump, Herb-Roasted Aubergine and Coconut & Tonka Rice Pudding. Served daily between 2 pm and 4.30 pm, the Heavenly Afternoon tea is £20.95 pp (£29.50 pp with a glass of Delemotte Champagne) and includes savoury treats, finger sandwiches, scones, cake and sweet treats. The Torrish Bar has mixologists on hand to craft delicious cocktails including the signature Ness Legend cocktail.
Ness Walk also provides private dining, wedding and conference facilities and is in an ideal location for exploring the surrounding Scottish Highlands. Loch Ness is just 10 minutes’ drive away and ancient castles, pristine golf courses and the North Coast 500’s 516-mile panoramic driving route, which starts and ends in Inverness, are on the doorstep.
Lead-in price: A one-night stay is from £120 per room (two sharing), including full Scottish breakfast.
Peter Hancock, Chief Executive, Pride of Britain Hotels, says: “We are delighted to welcome three new Scottish members to the Pride of Britain collection of 50 hotels. All three properties are distinctly different and further strengthen our contingent of luxury Scottish establishments.”
The Fife Arms, Fingal and Ness Walk join an established collection of some of the finest hotels across the UK, from historic castles to boutique boltholes, each of which is dedicated to providing the finest hospitality to its guests. The self-imposed limit of 50 members ensures that each hotel is of the finest quality and maintains the exclusivity of the group.
To book call Pride of Britain Hotels on 0800 089 3929 (www.prideofbritainhotels.com).
Pride of Britain Hotels’ collection (never more than 50 hotels, to guarantee quality and exclusivity) proudly practises the art of great hospitality on a daily basis. Admission to the group is subject to each hotel successfully passing an anonymous overnight inspection and a ballot of the membership.