The Scotsman – A taste of the high life

With a roll-call of legendary characters and creatures that include dashing Jacobite warrior princes and elusive submerged prehistoric monsters, it is no surprise that the Highlands and Islands of Scotland are regarded as a hotbed of myth and folklore.

However, in the not so distant past, the sad fact was that many visitors found that their appreciation of the area’s be- guiling blend of stunning landscapes and history was tempered by a far more off-putting perennial in the log of regional traditions – namely the curse of the Highland hotel.

Now, while it is important to clarify that not all accommodation north of the Highland boundary was party to the horror, the steady stream of trauma- tised tourists returning from a break up north with tartan-tinged tales of dank and dark hovel-like rooms, inhospitable owners, and food fit only for a gulag, would tend to suggest that the curse was not confined to isolated outposts.

Thankfully, there has been a huge sea change over the past 20 years or so with an influx of insightful entrepreneurs ei- ther replacing existing hoteliers or forc- ing them to up their game significantly. And, although it would be pushing things to say that the problem has been completely eradicated – the north of Scotland, like the rest of the country, is not immune to possessing establishments that can turn an idyllic escape sour – with the help of a little research, there is really no need for anyone to ruin their stay in this magical part of the world by ending up in sub-standard digs.

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