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22 July 2020 00:31

The Torridon Hotel

In the far north-west of Scotland, where mountains meet the sea, lies Britain's most northerly five-star hotel. The Torridon has been transformed from a "cheap but not especially cheerful B&B" into a remote fairytale castle with gothic towers. The former hunting lodge is surrounded as far as eye can see by rugged mountains and luscious forest to give romantic views of the Scottish Highlands from all sides. Even when guest are sat on the toilet, they can look out onto the wilderness and wildlife from the sanctuary of the hotel. Lying 65 miles from Inverness, the remote location of the hotel does cause many issues, especially due to the toilet habits of some guest.

As Giles Coren and Monica Galetti discover, The Torridon's location means it has to be self-sufficient and the staff must live on-site. With the nearest hardware shop a three hour round trip away, maintenance manager Scott has to horde everything he is likely to need. There are many items in his treasure trove, but one thing catches the eye of restaurant critic Giles during his visit on BBC Two's Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby. When pressed for an answer, Scott reveals that the guests go through a staggering eight toilet seats a month. There are three miles of hotel plumbing and 25 guest toilets to keep working properly at all times.

Queen Victoria was a big fan of the Scottish wilderness and made it much more accessible with new roads, so there are small tributes to the monarch around the hotel. The Torridon is a popular stop off along the North Coast 500, which is Scotland's answer to Route 66, with 516 miles of public roads winding round the Highlands. Over 15,00 visit the remote hotel every year - and they can hire a sports care for £250 a day. Owners Dan and Rohaise Rose-Bristow spent over 20 years on a daunting renovation project. On what makes the hotel so special, owner Rohaise Rose-Bristow says: "First of all it has to be the location.

Having a 5-star level restaurant in the middle of the wilderness is a tough challenge, as supplies do not come in every day. Staff have been forced to get creative with what they produce and made the restaurant as self-sufficient as can be. To adapt to their remote location, the Torridon has a huge two acre garden with soil imported by boat from Ireland. There are also pigs and a herd of highland cattle, which are used to produce manure for fertility and for eating. The staff decide when it is necessary to get more meat and the process is done very respectfully, giving the kitchen a close connection to the food they serve. Highland cattle produce high quality meat which is 40% lower in fat than other breeds. Head chef Ross also heads to Lock Torridon to collect fresh water which is perfect for cooking and gives extra depth of flavour to vegetables During the busiest summer months there are 55 members of staff at the hotel, who comes from as far afield as France, Italy and Canada. Living this remotely is not everyone's cup of tea, so owner Rohaise has devised something special to attract the best staff. Giles takes part in a lesson on the subject of grumpy customers, which seems quite fitting given he is a restaurant critic. There is live-in accommodation for hard-working staff, which has cost 3/4 of a million pounds. The man is charge is general manager Ross, who is a stickler for details and puts Giles and Monica through their paces. Giles nearly drops a £3,000 bottle, which costs £102 a glass, but those with less expensive tastes can have a pint in the pub in the hotel's grounds. The Torridon is winning the battle to be self-sufficient in a wild and unforgiving landscape. Dan says: "Any hotel has bedrooms and facilities but actually the team you employ makes the personality and experience here. *Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond The Lobby airs tonight on BBC Two at 8pm Monica and Giles are back this summer for another series of Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby. Monica Galetti is well-known as a chef and judge on MasterChef: The Professionals. Giles Coren is a respected food and restaurant critic. So, who better to travel the world assessing the best that hotels have to offer? Amazing Hotels series 3 kicked off on BBC Two on Tuesday, July 14th. The first episode saw Monica and Giles head to a high-tech hotel in Macau. Instead of robots and futuristic living, they head to the Scottish Highlands for a rural retreat. Find out everything you need to know about The Torridon Hotel, featured in Amazing Hotels series 3 episode 2 here. Monica and Giles head to Scotland Each episode of Amazing Hotels sees Monica and Giles go behind the scenes to review how they run the place. One of the crucial elements of running The Torridon Hotel in Scotland is that it's location in the Highlands means it needs to be self-sufficient. The staff also live on-site, as they cannot travel to and fro easily. Monica and Giles turn their hands to helping collect seaweed for the kitchen, helping to herd Highland cattle, and learning to change toilet seats. But they also get to experience what fun it is living in the Highlands. Monica and Giles join the staff in their afternoon off, going for a swim in the freezing-cold loch! The Torridon on Amazing Hotels The Torridon Hotel is located in the north west Highlands of Scotland. It is Britain's most northerly five-star hotel. In 1992, David and Geraldine Gregory, bought the site and renamed it The Torridon Hotel. From the moment the Gregory family purchased the hotel, it has gone from strength to strength. In 1994, it won 'Best Newcomer' at the AA Hotel Awards. In 1998, it won 'Best Hotel in Scotland', again at the AA Awards. Dan and Rohaise Rose-Bristow (the Gregory's daughter and son in law) joined the family business in 1999 and then bought the property in 2004. How to visit The Torridon Hotel To find out more about The Torridon then head to their website. There are three spaces to book when visiting The Torridon: The Hotel, The Stables, and The Boathouse. Following lockdown, The Torridon is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays to allow for deep cleaning. WATCH AMAZING HOTELS: LIFE BEYOND THE LOBBY TUESDAYS AT 8 PM ON BBC TWO LIAM Charles and Tom Allen present the semi-final as the four remaining teams face the secret recipe challenge and if they are going to impress, the contestants will have to prove that they can really work together. The hopefuls have five hours to prepare their different elements, but once it's time to present to the judges, they will have just three minutes to transform their table into a work of edible illusion. Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby (BBC2, 8pm) GILES Coren and Monica Galetti join the staff working in some of the most unusual hotels around the world. This time, they help out at The Torridon, Britain's most northerly five-star hotel. Its need to balance a luxury stay with being self-sufficient has Monica collecting seaweed for the kitchen and helping to herd Highland cattle, while Giles learns to change toilet seats and joins the staff for a swim in the freezing-cold loch. TSSK is a complete work, but fans will still be on tenterhooks to see if this plays out in the same way as the novel. While those days may have gone, this documentary finds some old ways remain, with many locals able to trace their roots back six generations.