Episode 42 Hotel Legends: Fife Arms with Artfarm CEO Ewan Venters

Nestled in the  majestic Scottish Highlands, the Fife Arms was recently named best hotel in the U.K. by the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards. With over 16,000 pieces of art and antiques, this 19th-century hunting lodge turned hotel in the historical village of Braemar serves as both an international art gallery as well as an eclectic, cozy, and welcoming countryside home. Though a newer hotel (it opened only in 2019), the Fife Arms quickly earned legend status and consistently wows travelers with its drama, eccentricity and charm. 

Ewan Venters, the CEO of the hospitality and development company Artfarm, joins Melissa on today’s episode to dive into how he helped transform this landmark hotel into a ‘living contemporary art museum.’For Ewan, “hospitality is all about the generosity of spirit” and he explains how the connection to art and community creates a unique guest experience at the hotel. He reveals the journey of opening the Fife Arms  and designing an authentic space for the culturally curious traveler; he talks about the famous whiskey library Bertie’s Bar (named after Queen Victoria’s rebellious son) and shares the secret to the hotel’s success (including feedback from the famous actress and prior hotel guest Judi Dench). 

Indagare Productions Director Kathryn Nathanson also jumps on to share travel tips for making the most of a trip to the Fife Arms after staying there this past April. She’ll dive into how to get there, what to wear, see, eat and do. 

Lightning Round with Ewan:

  • What’s your favorite activity to do in the Scottish Highlands? Hiking up Lochnagar, a munro (classified as a mountain in Scotland higher than 3,000 ft) close to Braemar.
  • Favorite whiskey? I’ve just had a sneak preview of our new Fife Arms Single Malt, launching in autumn – my new favourite.
  • If you could enjoy a whiskey at Bertie’s Bar with a historical figure, who would it be? I think Bertie’s mother, Queen Victoria herself, would make for a terrific guest. Apparently Victoria enjoyed a glass of Islay Malt Whisky.
  • An artist who inspires you? The Chinese artist, Zhang Enli. His work can be seen in the hotel on the ceiling of the drawing room, inspired by his own visits to the Scottish Highlands. To sit and look up and dream is magical.
  • Favorite destination- or one on your bucket list- for viewing art? Arguably there is no country greater than Italy to view incredible art. A few days in Rome, Florence or Venice alone are incredible places to be truly inspired.

Tune in live: July 6, 2023 at 12 p.m. ET

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indagare venice courtesy indagare

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