Scotland on Sunday Travel Wishlist - Cairngorm Guest House, Aviemore
Mark and Susie Petty took over Cairngorm Guest House a year ago after working in the snow sport and hospitality industries here and abroad, a skill set that makes them ideal hosts for running a B&B in The Cairngorms.
With Covid playing havoc with bookings in 2020, in periods when guests were unable to stay they used the time to refurbish the Victorian villa, bringing it up to date while complementing the traditional features of the building and decorating eight of the 12 rooms and public spaces in a palette that reflects the greys, greens and silvers of the Highland landscape. Ready to open the doors once again as soon as restrictions allow, the Pettys are looking forward to welcoming visitors from Scotland, the UK and further afield as we discover, some of us for the first time, what this part of the world has to offer.
Priding themselves on customer service, Mark and Susie are always on hand to give help and advice on where to go and what to do in the Cairngorm National Park, with a range of activities highlighted on their website. And when you’ve done that, they provide a stylish and welcoming haven in which to relax and refuel.
Being outdoor types – British Association of Snowsport Instructors and running chalet accommodation - they know the importance of a drying room and safe bike store, as well as how to serve up a hot, hearty breakfast to set you up for a day exploring snow country. Located quite centrally in Aviemore, Cairngorm Guest House is an ideal base for exploring the surrounding areas and a few minutes’ walk from town’s shops, bars, restaurants, and train station.
Cairngorm Guest House is part of the Good to Go Scheme and is following all of the Government’s Covid cleaning guidelines. There are screens between the tables in the dining areas and a one-metre distancing policy operates within the building in accordance with the guidelines. There are two entrances and exits to help with social distancing and soft furnishings have been minimised at the moment to concur with Covid guidelines.
Budget or boutique?
Somewhere between, with a very classy refurbishment that makes this a stylish guest house that’s a very affordable step up from bedding down in a bunk house.
Nine of the 12 rooms were refurbished during the first lockdown which saw them re-painted, recarpeted and fitted with new doors and furniture, with the others to follow. All are ensuite and feature traditional touches such as Harris Tweed cushions but throws have been removed at the moment due to Covid precautions. Another highlight is the artwork displayed around the property from local artists Angus Grant and Ann Vastano.
Wining and Dining
Evening meals are not served but dining is not a problem in Aviemore with a wealth of restaurants and cafes to choose from. However, breakfast most definitely is served, in the newly-decorated dining room or conservatory. A palette of greys and blues and crisp white tablecloths make this a stand-out space in which to start the day with plenty of breakfast options on offer. “We think we have a great menu and good quality local produce on offer,” says Mark.
Alcohol is not served in the Guest House, but guests are welcome to bring their own with them.
Worth Getting Out of Bed For
There are so many activities available locally to choose from, and the Guest House website is a great place to start planning. Mark recommends skiing and snowboarding, the Zip Wire park at Alvie Estate, quad biking at Rothiemurchus, excellent mountain biking and walking and water sports in the summer.
Guests love that there is a good drying room for all of their outdoor gear, along with secure bike storage.
Wonderfully clean guest house with extremely friendly owners and staff. The breakfasts are great and set you up for the rest of the day.
Rooms start from £85. Cairngorm Guest House 139 Grampian Rd Aviemore PH22 1RP. Tel 01479810630 www.cairngormguesthouse.com