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Issue 23 - Great service isn't just child's play

Scotland Magazine Issue 23
October 2005


This article is 13 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Great service isn't just child's play

Dominic Roskrow says a big thank you on behalf of his son, Louie

Every parent knows that the shapeless lump of dirty, sticky, toy their toddler won’t let go of might not be much to most people, but is the whole world to that youngster.

It’s his best friend and companion, his comfort and confidante.

Life apart is beyond comprehension. And every parent will know that sickening feeling when teddy seems to have gone missing or you realise you’ve left him behind somewhere.

This is a crisis of seismic proportions if you’re part of the family. But if you’re a hotel cleaner or a shop assistant then its just a scruffy old abandoned toy, and that’s what makes it so awful for the parents – knowing that others might not understand that they’ve found a valued family member.

Our moment of hell came in Scotland after we’d travelled from the Macdonald Aviemore Highland Resort where we’d been staying for three days and arrived at the wonderful Loch Torridon Hotel. We knew almost immediately that Pippy the Panda wasn’t with us, and it was too late to do much about it.

Louie put on a brave face. For a while. Come bedtime, though, he was inconsolable and cried himself to sleep in our bed. I suspect my wife will count it as one of the worst nights of her life.

And we had no idea we’d ever see Pippy again. After all, what if the cleaner back at Aviemore had thrown Pippy out with the papers?

What we needed was someone who understood our plight and would take ownership of the problem. And that’s what we got from one wonderful woman at the Macdonald Highland Resort.

Not only did she make sure that she found Pippy, but she offered to come and stand on Aviemore railway station to meet our train from Inverness to Edinburgh and hand over the treasured panda to us in the brief time our train was stopped in the station.

We didn’t have time to say a proper thank you of course, and we don’t even know the lady’s name. Louie just figured that Pippy had wanted an extra day playing in the resort’s family fun swimming pool. But our gratitude knew no bounds.

In this issue Mark Nicholls has written a piece on the resort and the wonderful Cairngorm and Aviemore region it is sited in.

It comes thoroughly recommended. But for me his feature doesn’t address the most important bit of all: the X factor.

I have to be honest and say that while the revamped resort is good, I wouldn’t have put it among the best places I’ve ever stayed. The lodge was wonderful, but the centralised restaurant was too much like an airport cafeteria, and overall it didn’t seem to know what it wanted to be – a family resort or an upmarket business one.

But my estimation of it has gone up no end, because too often big complexes employ staff who maintain a degree of efficiency without ever seeming particularly warm or happy.

That has certainly proved not to be the case at the Macdonald Aviemore Highland Resort. The help we were offered is living proof that all those platitudes about a warm welcome in the Highlands are most certainly founded in truth.

So thank you to whoever you are. From two very relieved parents. And from one very happy little boy.