Monthly Archives: October 2018

Castleview House’s 5-Star status is reconfirmed

Castleview House is Kirkcudbright's first Visit Scotland five star self-catering accommodation

Enjoy 5-star luxury when you book a stay at Castleview House in Kirkcudbright

Hallelujah! We have once again had our VisitScotland 5-Star status confirmed, following the visit of their Quality Assurance Manager to Kirkcudbright a fortnight ago.
When we opened in May 2013, the news that we had been recognised as the town’s first 5-Star Holiday Let was welcome indeed after all that we had been through – and paid for! – to get the show on the road. So what qualifies a house for such an exceptional rating? And how did Castleview House match up? Here are some of the key criteria, as we understand them:
1. The Property: This needs to be well-located, conveniently laid-out and built to the highest standard. Our prominent position looking down St. Cuthbert’s Street to MacLellan’s Castle and backing on to the charming Hope-Dunbar Park assured the former, whilst the exceptional skills and insights of our Kirkcudbright Architect, Glynne Shackleton, delivered on lay-out and quality. Indeed, we like to think that our conversion of this previously derelict and unloved shell has lifted the atmosphere at this end of the town.

Castleview House in Kirkcudbright is luxurious five-star self catering accommodation in Scotland

The Shortbread Suite at Castleview House in Kirkcudbright

2. Fixtures and Fittings: So as to get these right first time – and to avoid domestic disputes on the way! – we decided to employ the services of a professional Interior Designer, Ian Kay of No. 16 Interiors here in Newark, adding personal touches here and there, e.g. all those cats. Ian’s taste and experience allowed us to access fabrics, wallpaper and accessories that we would not otherwise have considered whilst his clout with suppliers helped keep these within our fast-disappearing reach. I particularly like the Scottish (Shortbread) Suite with its Vivienne Westwood wallpaper and  quirky strong sense of the Highlands – but then I would really , wouldn’t I?
3. Cleanliness: Our Lettings Agents, Nigel and Jane at Discover Scotland in Castle Douglas, insisted from the outset on 5-Star+ standards here, especially in the kitchen and in the four bathrooms we have provided, three of which are ensuite. Our thanks therefore go to Tony and (especially!) to Karolina of Nith Valley Cleaning Services for the fact that we have not had even one complaint about cleanliness since we opened up. There’s a lot of house to clean in the six hours between Departures and Arrivals……not least the dusting of all those pesky cats!

Castleview House is a five-star self-catering house in Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway

The Heritage Neuk at Castleview House is the perfect place to sit and learn more about the history of the building.

4. Local Connections: I have already written in an earlier Blog about the property’s Masonic links and our Archive Album records much else about the journey from its origins as three separate ‘but-and bens’ at ground level only in the late 18thCentury to the Georgian feeling of today. The Heritage Neuk on the first floor brings all this to life whilst the wall of inter-war Railway Prints positions Kirkcudbright on the national tourist trail. In general, we avoided replicating the familiar representations of MacLellan’s Castle and Kirkcudbright Harbour because…
5. Specialness: …we have at all times sought to distinguish Castleview House from our competition through quality and design, personality and service and we choose to believe that the range of Testimonials on our website bears this out. There has been the occasional complaint but we have always regarded these as prompts to engage with our guests and to improve our delivery. Happily, many guests return to stay at Castleview House year after year, quickly rebooking their favourite weeks.
So, what of the future? Is there anything left to do?

Well, indeed so with our plans to develop a “Pocket Park” on the land purchased behind and to the left of the property and some scope to enhance the furnishings.

On a wider front, we intend to become more involved with local partners such as Nick Morris’ outstanding Station House Cookery School.

We also work closely with VisitScotland to promote their annual themes. Next year they will be focusing on Coastal Towns so with our active fishing harbour and marina, the sweeping Dee Estuary, nearby sandy beaches and rich wetlands, plus glorious sunsets across to the Mull of Kintyre, that sounds like a 5-Star start for Castleview House and Kirkcudbright already.

Would you like to read the article written about Castleview House and which appeared in Dumfries and Galloway Life? Then please click here.

~ until next time, Peter


Compare and Contrast

Well, that passed all too quickly, did it not – the best Summer since (recent) records began. Whatever did we find to talk about?
Kirkcudbright and indeed South-West Scotland generally were as blessed as other parts of the UK, albeit the statistics show that our very own micro-climate allows Kirkcudbright to escape the worst extremes of climate change. And, unlike the Highlands and Islands, we remain a midge-free zone to this day.
Seven days just spent in the delightful Italian lakeside town of Como have led me to compare our respective merits and attractions. Each is, in its own way, a classy and high-quality destination where the visitor is valued and welcomed and, whereas Como wins out for the sun-lovers amongst us, Kirkcudbright will appeal to those preferring more moderate climes: snow and ice are rare visitors indeed and one’s sleep is rarely disturbed by the discomfort of excess humidity.
Of course, when talk turns to eating and shopping, our Southern neighbours have a clear-cut advantage in both numbers and range. It was simply impossible to walk down any street there without coming across a trattoria or a ristorante or – now – a pizzeria whilst better-end, innovative Menswear shops were two a Euro. Regional and seasonal specialities such as vitello blanco, porcini funghi and filetti di pesce persico were over-indulged whilst the town’s rich silk-making tradition found its way into both our suitcases! And do not the Italians know how to enjoy all this with effortless style?
Which said, Kirkcudbright puts on a good showing in both categories with a wide range of eateries – Polarbites being our favourite – and a vibrant High Street offering distinctive local produce , a wide selection of Art and Crafts goods to reflect our Artists’ Town’s heritage and every knick-knack necessary for a complete holiday with family or friends.
And, once away from the table or the fitting-room, our region’s amazing offer of activities and attractions, coastal and inland landscapes and its bulging calendar of festivals and fairs kicks Lombardy firmly into touch. The most recent addition to these is October’s Kirkcudbright’s Festival of Light, celebrating the opening in June of the Kirkcudbright Galleries and bringing together visual art, music, craft and light installations. (See for the programme.)
Should we call it a draw – or perhaps even consider  twinning our 2 towns?

~ Until next time!