Attached is a quick survey which will help us compile information about the service levels from hotels in Deeside to visiting anglers. This will give us accurate feedback about the value, service, quality of dining and any other needs you have that are or are not being met. We meet our advertisers from time to time and it helps if we can provide an overview to them about anglers experiences when staying in hotels in Deeside. All responses are confidential.
Major Investment & Development at the Tor Na Coille Hotel
This is the first in a series of articles about businesses in the Royal Deeside community who are key players in developing their business model and investing heavily for the future, whilst looking after visiting anglers to Deeside. The Tor Na Coille mansion was built in Banchory in 1873 and at the turn of the century it became one of Royal Deeside’s best appointed hotels attracting European Royal families and the Hollywood legend Charlie Chaplin! The hotel today was purchased in August 2009 by Charlie Anderson, who has assembled a very talented team to manage the hotel. Head Chef Robert Ramsay was appointed in January 2010 and Phillip Fleming was appointed General Manager in November 2010 . They have between them over 55 years of experience at top quality establishments learning and developing their skills in the hospitality business.
The hotel has recently been undergoing a multi million pound refurbishment programme since acquisition, with 18 of the bedrooms and suites now completely overhauled. Each of the bedrooms now has a tasteful individual theme and top quality furniture throughout. The final 7 bedrooms in the hotel are being refurbished just now, and are expected to be finished by the end of March 2013. The public areas of the hotel have been tastefully refurbished with elegant furniture and fittings and a delightful collection of art, including works by local artists decorating the walls, and a regular supply of wonderful fresh flower displays.
There has been a significant 6 figure investment in a fabulous new kitchen installed in January / February 2013, which has state of the art equipment to ensure both high and consistent standards of top quality food, which is now quicker than ever from the team of 7 talented chefs. Robert Ramsay has designed the kitchen and sourced the equipment from Lockhart’s who are renowned for providing top quality kitchen equipment. Robert commented ‘The design was based on the business requirements utilising more efficient equipment which will provide significant cost savings in the long term, as well as providing a far more comfortable working environment for my kitchen team. Of course what that means for the customer is the benefit in receiving top quality meals delivered consistently day in day out. ’ Robert discussed enthusiastically the new equipment and what the specific roles of each unit was and how it was more efficient than the previous equipment, as well as being extremely user friendly for the kitchen team. It is really quite something to see how technology in a commercial kitchen differs from a domestic environment. The net result of this investment is a very impressive kitchen, which in the short and long term will justify the expenditure, and ensure a very happy team of staff produce top quality dining experiences for visitors.
The Tor Na Coille Hotel is acquiring AA membership and currently working towards a 2 rosette standard for food, and ultimately aiming for the very prestigious red star recognition. They offer a very nice bar/bistro experience with a popular range of meals utilising freshly prepared and local sourced food, including beef, game and sea food, which the north east of Scotland is renowned for. Their Royal Deeside restaurant offers more relaxed formal dining in a beautifully appointed room with unique features. There is a sumptuous menu there and a very good range of fine wines. The hotel is very popular with the local residents who come along in good numbers to enjoy a very fine 3 course lunch menu offering terrific value at £12.00 per person and high teas later in the afternoon.
Visiting anglers account for about 20% of the hotels business and they are made very welcome by the team who are used to dealing with requests for flexible dining times, packed lunches and drying and storage facilities. The hotel offers fisherman’s rates of £60 per night for bed and breakfast for a stay of 3 or more nights for a single person in a double room. Double occupancy is £85 per night for bed and breakfast in a double or twin room for two occupants. There is the opportunity to upgrade to a master deluxe double or junior suite for those looking for a lot of space. This is proving to be a very popular package with visiting anglers who throng to the hotel in good numbers during the spring and summer months.
In terms of accolades, the hotel was presented with the Scottish Boutique Country House Hotel award of the year in 2012. Phillip Fleming was awarded a gold medal as General Manager and Robert Ramsay was awarded Chef Fellowship, as a trainer of chefs. All the awards are from The Scottish Hotel Awards Group who blind visit hospitality establishments and carry out extensive research on their delivery of service and food excellence. The service team at the hotel have all been undergoing their hospitality training awards and the youthful team are very enthusiastic, courteous and pleasant. The proof of the pudding, as they say is in the eating, and anglers return time and time again to the hotel and bring more and more eager visitors who wish to savour the Tor Na Coille experience. This is no surprise given how highly rated the hotel is by the helpful Tripadvisor website, where feedback from visitors is really first class. In this day and age it is easy to criticise businesses as the country weathers a tough recession and employers are making cutbacks, however it is very refreshing to see people taking the time and effort to sing the praises of the unsung heroes who go the extra mile to ensure visitors to Deeside get very well looked after. Let’s hope the hotel continues to go from strength to strength in the future. See www.tornacoille.com or call tel no 01330 822242