MORAG'S BRAEVAL BLOG
My name is Morag Holding and I own and manage the Braeval Hotel with my husband, Gordon. The Braeval is a victorian villa, built in 1857. We bought the hotel in 2006 and since then, we have completely renovated it and built our lovely sea view restaurant.
We live at the Braeval - it is our home. So, we are passionate about continually improving it and making it somewhere we love to be. We hope our guests love to be here too.
When we bought the hotel, we were complete novices to the hotel trade. To say we've learned a lot over the past eight years is a massive understatement! Here you can read all the latest news about what's happening with us at the Braeval.
August - SLTN Independent Pub/Bar of the Year 2014
We're delighted to hear that we've been shortlisted for the SLTN Independent Pub/Bar of the Year 2014. This is a very demanding and competive category and a prestigious award. So, we're really delighted to have been recognised at this level.
June - Highland Food and Drink Awards 2014
I'm delighted to report that the Bandstand has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Highland Food and Drink Awards 2014 in the catergory Best Eatery. The winner will be announced in October.
Renovating the Lounge Bar - May 2014
We're have just completed creating a brand new bar counter in our Lounge Bar and we are now in the process of completing the pointing of a lovely stone wall with open fire in the Lounge Bar. I'm really excited to see the new look emerging and I know it will make the area even more comfortable for our guests.
Bandstand Beer & Music Festival 2014
What a wonderful festival! The turnout was much higher than expected. Hundreds of people arrived to enjoy the fantastic range of ales, craft lagers and real ciders. The music was truly uplifting. The Nairn Pipe Band marched down the street and played outside to everyone's delight. We had stirring sessions from Eileen & the Tree Fellers, Mia McIntosh, Paul Campbell, Schiehallion, The Mad Ferret Band, The Scone Fairies, Mak-A-Din and Silver Coast. An amazing variety of really talented musicians. Ken Duncan, head brewer from Inveralmond Brewery in Perth gave us a fascinating talk about brewing which showed his love and enthusiams for the work. We enjoyed great weather which meant much of the music was enjoyed outside along with our Hog Roast! We raised over £500 from Moray Firth Radio Cash for Kids charity with generous help from all our visitors.
Top Marks in Cask Marque Surprise Inspection
Looking after real ales takes time, expertise and commitment. My husband Gordon is passionate about maintaining a great choice of quality ales at the Braeval. (I often joke that the ales get more attention than I do!) But the results shone through today at our surprise Cask Marque inspection. We were scored 100% full marks across all the ales for taste, appearance, temperature and aroma. So, we've maintained our valuable Cask Marque accreditation and customers can be sure of always receiving a quality pint.
Awarded CAMRA Highlands & Islands Pub of the Year 2014 again!
We're absolutely thrilled to hear we have been awarded the CAMRA Highlands and Islands Pub of the Year 2014! This is the third time we've won this prestigious award - making us CAMRAs overall best pub of the Scottish Highlands. It's quite an honour and means we have to continue to be the best we can be every single day to live up to it.
Beer and Music Festival 2014
Plans are well underway for this year's beer and music festival. Not just for ale enthusiasts, this is an event with something for everyone to enjoy. We are particularly thrilled that Nairn Pipe Band have agreed to play for us at the festival, along with so many more talented musicians. Keep watching our Beer Festival Page for all the latest information.
Late Rooms winner of "Simply the Guest Award 2013" Jan 2013
I was pleased to receive notification that we are winner of a Late Rooms "Simply the Guest Award 2013". The award is based on genuine customer reviews, so that makes it even more special. Meanwhile, we are busy with our usual January/February programme of renovations and improvements. This week we are extending and renovating the Ladies Room in the Lounge Bar. Keeping a hotel in good order takes constant attention, but, like your own home, it's worth when you get to stand back and admire the results.
Secret Shopper gives us great review - Dec 13
Unknown to us, our restaurant "The Bandstand", had a visit from a "secret shopper" recently. So, we were surprised and thrilled to read the excellent review in the Press and Journal "Eating Out" section. Entitled "Seaside Treat We Want to Repeat", they compliment our food, our staff, the atmosphere and decor. We were awarded 4 stars (out of 5). Delighted! To read the full article click here.
Winter mini beer festival 29 & 30 November
We recently decided it would be fun to showcase some of the great winter ales around. What a busy weekend it turned out to be. Lots of new ales to try - two from Cairngorm. They all went down well and with all the extra ale enthusiasts around, we took the opportunity to ask for ideas for our annual beer and live music festival which is coming up fast (11 - 20 April 2014). We had wonderful music provided by the Screaming Mojos. What a superb band (I uploaded a video to our facebook page (see facebook/bandstandbar) They'll be back playing for us on 14 December.
We're into renovations season. Although the hotel and restaurant have stayed remarkably busy, we've started to re-decorate rooms and get on with our snagging list. Christmas and New Year bookings are flooding in (not many spaces left, folks - so get your bookings in quick!) I've been booking music for next year's beer and music festival in April 2014. Great talent booked - I'm so looking forward to this! We are planning live music every weekend throughout the summer and I have been rounding up and booking some really brilliant musicians. We're also drawing up a new Cocktail Menu. Staff training on Wednesday involved making ten different cocktails and quality control tasting them - hard work, but somebody has to do it!