Welcome to world's best bed and breakfast - in Inverness-shire

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THE Old Manse in Invermoriston, Inverness-shire, has impressed visitors from around the world with its blend of traditional charm and modern facilities.

• Travellers' choice: the Old Manse near the shores of Loch Ness is described as 'absolute paradise'

And such is its popularity that it has now beaten competition from Italy, the United States and India to be voted the best B&B in the world.

The business, run by Julie and Martin Mitchell, received the accolade in the annual Travellers' Choice awards organised by TripAdvisor.

A string of five-star ratings from guests helped it to the title, along with descriptions including "absolute paradise" and "a magical romantic oasis".

The business near the shores of Loch Ness is run from the Mitchells' family home. It is currently closed and will reopen in March when the couple will being their third season.

They already have bookings until August, all of them returning guests.

Mrs Mitchell, who formerly worked in retail, said: "We believe our commitment to providing our guests with outstanding service and value has helped us achieve this tremendous honour from TripAdvisor travellers as the best B&B in the world.

"The house was too big for the two of us, so we thought it could pay its way. Before we opened, we thought of all the things we liked as guests in accommodation and cherry-picked all the good points to incorporate into our business.

"It's all those little things that make a difference and help people remember you, hopefully."

The Old Manse is said to offer "traditional Victorian style with all the comforts and luxury of modern living".

The two suites feature king-sized four-poster beds, antique Victorian furniture, William Morris wall coverings and fabrics, modern en-suite bathrooms, a private lounge and complementary fresh fruit, flowers and a daily newspaper.

The setting is spectacular, in several acres of mixed woodland and formal gardens that offer regular sightings of red squirrel, sikka and red deer, pine marten, tawny owls and many varieties of birds.

Guests pay 59 per person per night for a two-night stay and 55 per night for three nights. Mrs Mitchell added: "Although we're not cheap, we hope we deliver good value for money and people enjoy their stay with us."

Emma O'Boyle, TripAdvisor spokeswoman, said: "The awards celebrate the stars of the hotel industry, and Scotland performed extraordinarily this year. To be crowned the best B&B, not only in Europe but in the world, is a phenomenal honour for the Old Manse.

"The Travellers' Choice awards are based on the millions of reviews and opinions from travellers from across the world, so Julie Mitchell and her team should feel incredibly proud of their achievement."

Other Scottish establishments were recognised in the awards, with the Abbot's Brae Hotel in Dunoon voted fifth-best hotel in Britain, as well as taking seventh place in the Best Service in Europe category. Edinburgh also claimed a success, with the Missoni Hotel taking second place in the Trendiest Hotels in Europe category.

The awards are based on the experiences of millions of travellers from around the world.