The owners of a Fort William B&B named as one of the best in the world have put their success down to local produce such as “ginormous lobsters” cooked on their own open fire.
Mouth-watering meals are one of several special touches around Torlinnhe Guest House which led to the Tripadvisor award for owners Mark and Larisa Rossi.
The married couple have proved to be a winning combination, with Mark having worked at a number of fine dining and Michelin star restaurants across the country such as Chez Nico, The Square Restaurant and Gidleigh Park.
Larisa has years of experience in restaurant management roles at Michael Caine’s restaurant in Manchester, The Square, Restaurant Story and Nobu in London, and Gidleigh Park in the West Country.
B&B proved difficult to resist when it went up for sale
They moved to Lochaber from London so that Mark could take up the role of executive chef under Albert Michel Roux at Inverlochy Castle.
The plan was to stay in that position for a number of years but when they saw Torlinnhe for sale in 2019 they decided to take the plunge and buy it.
Now the couple, who have a three-year-old daughter, Sophie, treat the place like their “second child”, said Larisa.
Special touches such as hair straighteners and local Ben Nevis whisky in the bedrooms have gone down a storm with Tripadvisor reviewers.
But it is the food which patrons are really writing home about.
Speaking about the award, a delighted Mark said: “It is very flattering.”
Foraged beach herbs are a hit
He added: “At the moment we have got eight rooms. We have owned it for three years.
“We have invested a lot in the rooms, the way they look and feel. We are basically championing local produce.
“It is really food-driven.
“This is where we are really different to everyone else in Fort William. We are the only guesthouse locally that does dinners and the only guesthouse that sources fish from Loch Linnhe.
“We are using the squat lobster bycatch generated from our langoustines from Loch Linnhe. We only take ginormous ones.
“We source lots of wild food, such as foraged beach herbs, mushrooms, garlic and leak.
“We work with local producers, for example we source venison from the local estate.
“We try to have a 25-mile radius foot print for sourcing our food. We cook on an open fire. We smoke our own salmon.
Small touches make a huge difference
“I have a ceramic BBQ out the back. We only serve residents. There is something special about that. We have time to talk to people about the food.”
The couple also make their own jams, bread and raw organic honey.
Mark said: “There are many small touches that end up making a huge difference to people when they visit.”
Owners attract praise from guests
Tripadvisor spokeswoman Hayley Coleman commended the pair earlier this week.
She said: “It’s easy to see why this Fort William guesthouse has been named sixth best B&B in the world.
“Its incredible views across the stunning Loch Linnhe definitely do it no harm, but it’s the B&B’s hosts Mark and Larisa, who travellers call out as the stars of the show.”
A Scarborough B&B is named the best-rated B&B in the world. The Toulson Court B&B takes the title of world number one for the first time.
The Torcroft in Torquay and Dorest House in Lyme Regis take second and third place in Europe and third and fourth in the world respectively.
While Torlinnhe Guest House in Fort William and Haven Cottage in Ambleside celebrate fourth and fifth in Europe and sixth and 12th in the world.
Every year, Tripadvisor trawls through millions of reviews from its global community of travellers to uncover the hotels and B&Bs that people raved about most – those that go the extra mile. They are the most wanderlust worthy, the places that make a holiday.
Even during a global pandemic travellers continued to discover new places and share their advice with other holiday-goers in 2020.