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Just over two years after ‘accidently’ falling in love with their Highland property, Mark and Larisa Rossi are celebrating new national and international status.
Torlinnhe Guest House in Fort William has been named fourth in Britain and sixth in the world in the B&B category of Tripadvisors’ Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best Awards 2021.
Based on millions of reviews and opinions from travellers around the world, these annual awards reflect ‘the best of the best’ for service, quality and customer satisfaction, from hotels and accommodations to destinations, attractions, restaurants and experiences.
Mark and Larisa bought Torlinnhe in April 2019 and said they were both shocked and delighted in equal measures to be told the news.
‘We still are,’ said Larisa.
‘We were not supposed to buy Torlinnhe at the time. The plan was for Mark to be executive chef of Inverlochy Castle for three to four years – we were doing some research and viewed some properties in and around the area with no intent to buy.
‘We just fell in love with Torlinnhe, accidentally but immediately. The house felt right to us and the view over the Ardgour hills is simply stunning.’
Since owning Torlinnhe, Mark and Larisa have completely changed how the house operates, they are food driven, from afternoon teas, and delicious dinners, sourcing local produce.
‘We are completely conscious of our environmental impact and the sustainability of how we operate, removing almost all single use plastics and operating on 100 per cent renewable energy, not to mention the sustainability approach to the sourcing of our raw materials, supporting local businesses. crofters, foragers and fishermen.
‘It’s challenge but it is deeply rewarding.’
Originally from London the couple have both worked in the hospitality industry, with Mark being the proud recipient of an Acorn award given out to the top 30 under 30-year-old chefs in the UK.
They have been married for five years and decided to move to the Highlands in 2018 to make a better life for three-year-old daughter Sophie.
Larisa added: ‘We fell in love with the highlands over a period of three years travelling to the area from London for mini breaks and visiting friends. One day on our return home we asked ourselves why are we going home when it was clear that we wanted to stay. From that point we pursued a change of life in its entirety.
‘Moving to the highlands was a very exciting move for Mark from a culinary perspective, as he feels that there is a beautiful ingredient larder on the doorstep.’
Now the couple have had a taste of an award they are hungry for more.
‘We feel that with this recognition we are on the right track and we are delighted that our guests have been so generous with their feedback to us,’ said Larisa.
‘When the tourism awards schemes relaunch we would definitely like to enter the Highland and Islands awards as well as Visit Scotland accreditation and beyond.
‘This recognition keeps us focused and motivated in these challenging times. We do hope that somehow it brings more positive attention to the Fort William area, not only for being the outdoor capital of the UK, but puts it on the map for great accommodation, as we have a great selection of accommodation providers and food producers in this area already.’
Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best Hotel winners are determined based on the quality and quantity of traveller reviews and ratings posted on Tripadvisor between January 1 and December 31, 2020.
‘It’s easy to see why this Fort William guesthouse has been named sixth best B&B in the world,’ said Tripadvisor spokesperson Hayley Coleman.
‘Its incredible views definitely do it no harm, but its hosts Mark and Larisa, who travellers call out as the stars of the show. The exquisite food, invaluable local knowledge, remarkable attention to detail and special little touches that they offer are all consistent themes that appear across their 700 + 5 bubble reviews on Tripadvisor.’
Larisa added: ‘We would like to thank each and every guest that has taken the time to review us and made this award possible.’