John handed me the guest parking pass for my car.
“Sometimes they ticket cars, sometimes not,” he explained. “But you’ll be fine as long as you display our sign on your windshield.”
It was just one of the ways he and his wife would look out for me during my four-night stay at the Ardconnel House.
I had arrived a few hours after I was expected, thanks to far too many roadside photo opportunities on my drive north from Edinburgh and a torrential downpour on the high roads of Cairngorms National Park.
John gave me the tour of the intimate lodgings and escorted me to my cozy room with a pitched ceiling and a luxuriously comfortable bed. After making a recommendation for dinner, which would turn out to be the first of several spot-on suggestions, he said he would arrange a take-away breakfast for me the following morning, as I had booked a day trip that started at the crack of dawn.
As promised, a generous and nicely packaged assortment of food awaited me on my way out the next morning, keeping me fueled during the three-hour ride north to John o’Groats for the ferry to the Orkney Islands. I returned to the B&B late that night, too, so it wasn’t until my second morning that I finally had the opportunity to speak more with the owners. Over a continental breakfast of juice, cheeses, cereals, freshly made fruit salad, croissants, and pastries, supplemented with made-to-order poached eggs, brown toast, bacon, and a potato scone, John, a native Scot, and his English-born wife, Elizabeth, could not have been any more pleasant as they explained how they had converted what was originally a house for a merchant and his family built in 1865 into the lovely accommodations they were operating.
The six-bedroom Victorian B&B resides on a quiet street, just down the block from one very long staircase that descends into the heart of Inverness and to the River Ness that flows through it. Breakfast is served on tables set with fine china, white tablecloths, and tartan napkins. Light pours in through the bay window, even on typically cloudy Scottish days. On the floor above, a common guest lounge encourages you to enjoy views of Inverness Castle through the tall windows while you relax and socialize with the other guests in a Victorian atmosphere — a perfect place to wind down your day, in a B&B that you’ll be loath to leave and that you’ll remember fondly long after you’ve checked out.