In honour of Valentines Day, we spoke to some of our customers who offer a rather romantic service, firstly we caught up with Kim Monroe from Castle Levan, which is a castle near Glasgow. here’s what she had to stay about a stay with them:
We’d love to know what makes a stay at Castle Levan so romantic?
Well, who doesn’t want to stay in a castle for Valentines Day? Our castle is a bit unique; there are a lot of castle in Scotland, but our castle is quite small and intimate. We only have three guest chambers, so that’s different from a lot of the castles that are taken over by 5* hotels. Each one of our chambers is unique and has its own character. One of our downstairs arched chambers has four and half foot thick arched walls and arrow slit windows, which looks like a little grotto so we call it ‘the knight’s bed chamber.’ And right in the room of that one we have a bath tub, which is nice and romantic, it’s a double tub, so you can get two people in it. And for this year we’ve put in some electric fires.
Does the castle ghost, get in the way of romance at all?
Well occasionally we hear a few bumps and moans in the night and chains rattling; but we assume that’s our guests having fun and not the old lady!
And do you do anything to make the guests stay more luxurious?
We try to! We always put wine glasses in the room, because when we go away it’s not nice to drink wine out of a water glass. And we also put bubble bath in the rooms for the tubs. And in the great hall where we have breakfast, we always light a fire, so it’s a bit more romantic in there. And because we only have three guest rooms, often guests have the whole great hall to themselves.
Have you ever had proposals at your property?
Yes! we’ve only been open for a year, and we’ve already had two people propose at the castle. There is a beautiful waterfall just 30 minutes from the castle and both couples proposed there. We actually had a wedding at the castle, which we didn’t know about until the next morning. We came down to breakfast, and I said ‘did you have a nice evening’ and they replied ‘oh we got married in your courtyard.’ We were really surprised that we had no idea.
What’s the best compliment you’ve received about your property?
I would say that the guests reaction is the best compliment! It’s really fun to take them around and show them the great hall and the conservatory on the side with Moroccan chandeliers, and our waterfall. I just love to hear guests reactions, they say ‘wow, this is so cool!’ I think people are surprised at how much this looks like a castle. It’s not corporate or like a hotel room at all, so it looks like a castle on the inside as well as the outside.
So more about you, can you tell us your story about how you got into the hotel industry?
Well, we’ve only been in it for a little over a year now. My partner Maria got made redundant from her job in London, so we were talking a lot about what we might want to do and we vaguely talked about running a B&B, but I was still working as a software engineer. Then I was bored one day, so i went on a property website that I just look at occasionally, and I just happened to come across Castle Levan for sale. We ended up flying up the next weekend and staying for two nights with the previous owners – and we both absolutely loved it. It took a tonne of work to fix it up, but that’s how we ended up here. It was tough because i had a good job, but it has been really fun and really rewarding making those changes. I had been working for 25 years and I needed that change of pace.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own accommodation?
I love the immediate reaction from people, when they love their rooms, and they’re very happy with the breakfast food. We also just got an award from Booking.com for great guest reviews, and it’s always lovely to get great guest reviews.
What’s the hardest part of running your own accommodation?
Well the first year in business is really hard, because we had to set up the website and everything- which eviivo has been absolutely fantastic with, I’m really happy with eviivo, it’s really helped things a lot. It’s just been really hard as the castle was really run down and needed a lot of TLC, so we’ve been trying to run a business and renovate a castle too – and that’s been very difficult.
What’s your funniest or most memorable guest story?
We had a celebrity chef called Nick Mueller stay with us for The Boat Show which is quite near the castle, which we were a little nervous about. Maria does the cooking and was nervous cooking for a celebrity chef. He was staying in our four-poster bedroom upstairs, and our bathroom is right above the four-poster bedroom. So we always try to be quiet when we’re in the bathroom. But, we were particularly trying to be quiet with him, because he said to us ‘I really need a lie-in and I’m going to come to breakfast late, is that ok?’ So I put a stopper in the sink, to stop the drain making any noise, and unfortunately I must have left the tap on a little bit, because when i came down to start serving breakfast, Nick came down saying ‘there’s a flood, water is coming through the ceiling.’ So the water was just poring over the sink. Fortunately we sorted it out quickly and he was ok with it.