5-star Highland hotel wants to hand back its Michelin star

Boath House luxury country house hotel, situated between Inverness and Elgin, is the latest fine dining establishment to turn its back on the globally recognised Michelin Guide.

The hotel boasts four rosettes from the AA and one Michelin star but the family behind the business is completely overhauling the brand and experience to reflect what they believe today’s clientele is really looking for.

As is the case with the recent decision by French chef Sebastien Bras to drop his three Michelin stars, the family behind the award-winning (AA Scottish Hotel of the year 2010/11) Boath House has announced they would also like to re-evaluate their relationship with the Michelin Guide. The decision comes ahead of the hotly anticipated announcement of those fine dining institutions to make it into the 2018 Michelin Guide, due to be announced 2nd October.

Husband and wife team Don and Wendy Matheson, along with son Sam and head chef Charlie Lockey have decided to move Boath House in a new direction. Wendy Matheson explained: “Whilst we are extremely proud of the Michelin star we gained ten years ago and it undoubtedly enhanced our reputation, however our restaurant has consistently made a loss. We believe that the expectations from Michelin are at odds with achievable profit margins and put an enormous stress on a small family run business like ours. The feedback we are hearing time and time again from our customers is that they want an experience that is more informal and relaxed and this extends to the restaurant, the food and even how it is served.”

Boath House is planning major changes across the whole operation. A café will open in 2018 in the historic walled garden in the grounds of the beautiful Regency house. The café will be casual and rustic and will offer a selection of simple good food cooked in a wood fired oven, showcasing local and garden to plate dishes. The café will complement the dining room in the main house which has recently changed to offer more approachable and less expensive options.

A major refurbishment of the rooms at Boath House is already well underway and will be completed this winter. Wendy Matheson added: “The aim is to provide a warm, comfortable touch of contemporary luxury combined with homely charm. Using local artisanal suppliers, the interiors of this design led restaurant with rooms intends to deliver a Highland experience without undue formality. We are confident that this is where the accommodation and dining market is going and that we will have a more sustainable product. It will be interesting to see whether this will be reflected in subsequent reviews of our restaurant with rooms by industry bodies in the hospitality sector.”