When you start looking for a cottage to book for your next holiday in Scotland, do you know what to expect from a 4 star cottage? Whilst you know that if a house has 4 stars, it should be of a high standard, do you know what the criteria is in order to attain a 4 star grading from Visit Scotland (The Scottish Tourist board)? You might be a little surprised to know the standards that a holiday home owner has to meet in order to attain that grading.
For example, all furniture has to be of a solid wood construction, preferably with dovetail joints! The china must be of a high quality with a name such as Denby or Maxwell and Williams. You must provide everything a guest may need to lay a dining table for a formal dinner party – i.e. all matching china, glasses and cutlery, quality matching serving dishes. Everything you can think of, right down to the butter dish and egg cups must be provided. Pots and pans must again be of a high standard with names such as Stella or Prestige being expected. A good selection of baking trays and roasting tins along with everything you may need to do some home baking should also be available.
As you would expect, bedrooms must have good quality beds and mattresses as well as linen and towels. In addition, there must be both drawer and hanging space for clothes and a surface to be used as a dressing table which must have a mirror and lamp and be near a socket for a hair dryer. Sofa beds are not acceptable – a proper bed must be provided for each guest.
Living rooms must have comfortable seating for the number of guests that a house sleeps and similarly, dining tables must have enough space and chairs.
When a house is inspected, there are a number of areas looked at. These are:
In each of the internal areas, inspectors look at:
In addition, they look at Beds, Linen, Crockery and Glassware, Kitchen equipment, Appliances etc etc. The list is extensive to say the least.
After the initial inspection to determine if a house reaches the standard for the 4 star award, it is then inspected biannually to ensure the standards are being maintained. These follow up visits used to be done annually but Visit Scotland recently changed their system.
It goes without saying that cleanliness is massively important and something we take very seriously. Visit Scotland include this aspect in their inspection and give a mark out of 10 for the property as a whole. For a 4 star grading you need to score 8/9 out of 10. I am very proud to say that we consistently score 10/10 for all of our houses.
Anyone used to booking 4 star properties in England and Wales may be surprised to see how much higher the standards can be for the same star rating in Scotland. This is because the grading systems and requirements are very different and much higher in Scotland. In fact, Visit Scotland now sell their grading system to many countries, as it is recognised as being one of the best in the world.
Whilst this may sound like a huge undertaking from an owners point of view, the great thing is that a guest has the reassurance of knowing what they can expect and can be confident that a house that has been graded as 4 star by Visit Scotland will live up to their expectations.
We get so many wonderful comments from our guests who regularly tell us that the property they have stayed in has actually exceeded their expectations and this is ultimately what we are always aiming to do and why we work so closely with our owners to maintain standards and keep everything in tip top condition.