All the elements needed to create a unique whisky-oriented bed and breakfast in my home were right in front of my nose, but I never connected the dots. Until now. My resources included a large inventory of fine single malts from all the distilling regions of Scotland; three unused bedrooms with adjacent bathroom; a house conveniently located near two freeways in Orange County, CA; over 25 years’ experience in single malt Scotch whisky education; and a desire to meet new people and share the wonderful worlds of Scotland and Scotch.
The heart of the enterprise is the Drinking Lounge, and is the B&B’s focal point. Mood-setting decor includes whisky-making tools from Scotland, vintage lithographs, a Harris Tweed (right from the loom) wall hanging; an 1880s London Pub Clock, rhythmically ticking time away, an antique wall telephone, and comfortable seating for five guests in front of a fireplace.
Two bedrooms for guests include luxury linens, lots of closet space, plus luggage racks and other creature comforts for travelers.
A Scottish theme carries the whisky experience to the primary guest room, using tartans, baronial mirror frame, Monarch of the Glen tapestry, and bedside whisky books.
The third room is the guest lounge. Here, overnighters may read, watch television, or use their computer – the lift-top coffee table converts to a convenient work surface. My personal library of about 150 books about Scotland and whisky is available for browsing.
Sporting a colorful Hawaiian theme, the guest bathroom offers a shower/tub combo, plush towels, and a selection of toiletries.
Through word of mouth and marketing via my own website and various rental-by-owner sites, I have hosted a wide variety of guests. Usually they are whisky lovers wanting to learn more about single malts, with the most popular occasion being a birthday or anniversary surprise. Date nights, father/son shared experiences, and whisky club outings are popular. From an International perspective, I have hosted a Chinese business executive and members of his staff who wanted to become more knowledgeable about Scotch prior to entertaining important clients, and a Scottish whisky book author on a promotional tour.
Surprisingly, some guests stay here, not because of the whisky theme, but because of proximity to Disneyland and the park’s Diamond Anniversary celebration. My quiet cul-de-sac location is very different from the congested mayhem surrounding Mr. Mouse and friends.
This foray into the hospitality biz is quite rewarding and I often find myself humming the rousing tune “Master of the House”, from Les Miserables as I strip linens and put whisky glasses in the dishwasher. Slainte!