Bydand Bed and Breakfast, Dulnain Bridge, Cairngorms National Park

The term ‘Bed and Breakfast’ seems terribly out-dated to me, as times change and demand dictates, those businesses, categorised as ‘Bed and Breakfast’, present an increasingly diverse and wide ranging offering.

The nature of Scotland’s Bed and Breakfasts is changing, and for many, it no longer means a bed for the night and the obligatory morning meal, before sending guests on their way, in preparation for the next arrivals.

Alongside homes going that extra mile to accommodate guests under their roof with something that little bit special and competing within realms, which couldn’t be more diverse and unrecognisable as the humble Scottish B & B, of old, there has been a recognisable shift.

With the change, comes an increasing quantity of high-end establishments, offering a challenging alternative to 4 or even 5 star rated hotels; and Bydand is one of those.

Retaining the warmth of welcome, which could only come from a passion and belief in your product, Isobel Yule is as relaxed in her hosting skills as she is proficient in her interior design prowess. Managing that difficult balance between attentive and invisible, Isobel presents the embodiment of superior hospitality within the modern day B & B, whilst multitasking other facets of her growing business.

Her obvious skills form just one part of what seems to be a mini empire, all based around her home; Bydand Bed and Breakfast; on the outskirts of Grantown-on-Spey, within the beauty of the Cairngorm National Park.

Bydand is one of many jewels within the crown; Bygone Drives being another, offering fabulous tailor-made tours of Scotland, a wedding service, another and a separate self-catering property, the last. Her relationship with local distilleries, hotels, chauffeurs and tourism businesses is built on that trust of her growing product and many years of testimonials.

Bydand is loved, and the house, in return, lavishes it’s wealth on each guest, who is privileged to stay here. An exclusivity, in terms of individuality as well as use of a home and not just a bedroom, offers the start of something special at Bydand.

Open-plan living downstairs, presents the opportunity to relax, dine and enjoy a conviviality, on comfy sofas, in front of a roaring log burner and with views of the Cairngorms, soon to be maximised, by the addition of panoramic windows and an outside deck area. Contemporary, traditional chic is how Bydand is best described – perhaps sounding like a contradiction in terms, Isobel has managed to fuse tradition and heritage with luxurious modern comforts, maintaining a healthy balance of Scottish tweed and tartan – look out for the log bags!

Whisky from local distilleries and bottles of the very current and trendy Scottish gins can be sampled and enjoyed at Bydand, upon returning from your day and offer a very welcome nightcap, before retiring to the very comfortable surrounds of the upstairs suite.

Considered thought has been given to the bedroom suite, with particular focus on the bathroom – a large and inviting space, with fabulous light and plentiful accessories, in fact, anything you could possibly wish for or need, presented in inviting packages. You could not fail to feel pampered here; the leisurely pace, most comfortable beds (ever!) and homely touches, impart a feeling of welcome and sharing in true Scottish hospitality style!

This continues onto breakfast – a leisurely affair but an event nonetheless, with seemingly limitless options – fresh, local fare, tried and tested and the very best accessible to Isobel who’s faultless hosting shines through once again.

It is at breakfast that B&B routines of old have been banished to the history books and ‘breakfast anytime’ is a wonderful and refreshing aspect at Bydand. Isobel works around her guests to accommodate every whim, wherever she possibly can and finds, as a result, not only happy guests, but relaxed houseguests who appreciate her boundless good nature and extreme complaisance.

Hardly surprising that Bydand leads the way in repeat business with guests travelling many miles and adapting their journeys to accommodate at least one night at this fabulous destination. And that it is, with The Cairngorms on the doorstep and all the tempting delights of Speyside with a fantastic array of distilleries; the obvious choice would be to linger here for a few days. Bygone Drives (reviewed in another Must Visit Scotland article) offers just the solution to a tour of Speyside with plentiful opportunities to sample a dram or three and Isobel shall kindly tailor your experience with characterful chauffeurs and luxuriously indulgent picnics, all from the comfort of one of her classic cars, also housed at Bydand.

Bydand is a joy, not least due to Isobel, who is the unassuming, humble and unsung hero of all she commands. She is the jewel in what is fast becoming a very large crown. Growth, in this case however, is not at the expense of quality; Bydand, Bygone and Sealladh Breagh offer so much more than the sum of their parts with each area, complementing the other and presenting a very positive face for Scottish hospitality and one I have no hesitation in featuring.