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Cateys 2018: Hotel of the Year – Independent – The Torridon

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Cateys 2018: Hotel of the Year – Independent – The Torridon

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Achieving 100% occupancy three months in a row is a considerable achievement for any hotel. It is even more impressive for a property located at one end of a spectacular and remote sea loch on the north-west coast of Scotland.

At the time the Torridon in Wester Ross recorded these figures, in summer 2017, the 32-bedroom resort – a five-AA-star hotel, inn and private boathouse – also recorded an annual occupancy rate of 96.5%, up 19 percentage points over the previous three years.

Such impressive performance, along with a rise in revenue per available room from £147 in 2017 to £178 for the year to date, are the result of the exceptional passion and dedication from owners Dan and Rohaise Rose- Bristow and their team in ensuring every guest who makes the long trek to the Torridon is rewarded with an unforgettable experience.

The hotel was built as a hunting lodge in 1887 and converted into a hotel in the 1960s. It was sold to David and Geraldine Gregory in 1992 before reopening the following year as the Loch Torridon Country House hotel.

The Gregorys’ daughter Rohaise and her husband Dan joined the business as managers in 1999. Five years later, they bought it and went on to create an idyllic retreat, putting equal focus on caring for guests and staff alike.

The effort put into offering guests a luxury experience, wrapped up in traditional Scottish hospitality, is highlighted in guests scoring the hotel 91% positive on post-stay questionnaires. A major hit has been the tailored programme of individual experiences for guests, including wild foraging trips with the chef, kayaking with seals, and afternoon tea served on a mountain top.

The 55 staff are well cared for in a collaborative culture. A three-month induction and training programme for every new employee ensures that each individual gets the most out of working at the Torridon, both professionally and personally.

All staff complete a five-star service programme which identifies exactly what luxury service means at the Torridon. Members of the team who excel are showcased as Torridon Best for going the extra mile.

As chair of the Apprenticeship in Hospitality Scotland programme, Rohaise has a leading voice in training across the country. The Torridon itself employs three apprentices, one of whom, Rosie Wilkins, won Scotland’s Apprentice of the Year award in 2017.

The Rose-Bristows’ commitment to nurturing the right talent and putting in place a good work/life balance for all the team has paid off. Despite the challenge of the remote location, staff turnover is now down to 33% annually.

The holistic approach they have taken toward running the Torridon has delivered strong results, satisfied guests and happy staff.

What the judges said

“The Torridon is a true destination property where staff and owners are at the forefront of any guest stay. It offers a great green ethos, quality surroundings and excellent cuisine.”
Garry Baldwin

“This is a true example of an independent hotel run with passion and care by the Rose-Bristows. As well as providing traditional hotelkeeping, it has a state of the art approach to staff, management and marketing.”
Andrew McKenzie

“A family-run hotel at the highest level, with an amazing focus on staff development, guest experience and authenticity to its surroundings.”
David Morgan-Hewitt


The shortlist

Glenapp Castle Ballantrae, Ayrshire

The Stafford London

The Torridon By Achnasheen, Wester Ross

Yorebridge House Bainbridge, North Yorkshire

The judges

Garry Baldwin Senior inspector, AA Hotel Services

Melvin Gold Melvin Gold Consulting

Andrew McKenzie Managing director, the Vineyard, Stockcross, Berkshire

David Morgan-Hewitt Managing director, the Goring, London

Julia Murrell Director of people and development, Firmdale Hotels

Danny Pecorelli Managing director, Exclusive Hotels and Venues

Claire Randall Managing director, Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Colerne, Wiltshire

Andrew Thomason Managing director, Gravetye Manor, West Hoathly, Sussex

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