In the middle of nowhere, run down with lots of brown carpets, brown walls and brown furniture, no central heating, a gas leak and a condemned kitchen, the only thing going for the hotel by the banks of a Highland loch was its spectacular scenery. 

Inside, Loch Torridon Hotel was a well under par converted Victorian hunting lodge that had seen much better days. 

Outside, however, sprawled 58 acres of estate, a sea loch, magnificent Ben Damph and, rather fortunately, the A896. 

A world away from today’s extravagant luxury hotels offering every possible comfort, it would have been impossible to imagine that it might join an exclusive list of the world’s most amazing places to stay.

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Now, however, the once tatty guesthouse is set to give television viewers a fascinating peek behind the scenes of how it achieved a remarkable u-turn to become Scotland’s most northerly five star hotel, and the only one on the NC500 tourist route.

Returned to its Victorian glory from top to bottom – complete with quirky wooden rolltop bath and roaring fires - The Torridon is about to feature in Masterchef’s Monica Galetti and restaurant critic Giles Coren’s BBC series Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby. 

Far less known than some of household name hotels, it is first Scottish hotel to feature in the BBC series. 

And from once being a drab and soulless guesthouse, it joins an ‘A-list’ of hotels considered to be either the very height of luxury or offering a unique tourist experience. 

Others have included a spectacular hotel made from solid ice in Sweden, historic Kulm Hotel in St. Moritz which pioneered winter tourism, and the breath-taking 57-storey Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore. 

Despite being a five hours journey by car from Glasgow and with virtually nothing for miles around, The Torridon features alongside the MGM Cotai, a ‘super-hotel’ in the Chinese Special Administrative Region of Macau regarded as the centre of the world's gambling industry and Schloss Elmau, a hotel deep in the snowy Bavarian Alps known for being a cultural hideaway that often hosts top musicians.

However, in the early 1990s when new owners David and Geraldine Gregory decided the dilapidated hotel by Loch Torridon would make an ideal country house hotel, there was much less to write home about. 

Built in 1887 to a design by Alexander Ross as a grand shooting lodge for the 1st Earl of Lovelace and turned into a hotel in the 1960s, while the interior retained its impressive plasterwork ceilings and warm wood-panelling, its dated décor and even older mod cons – including a condemned kitchen - were in dire need of being upgraded. 

After six years of grappling with renovations and hampered by its remote location which made it difficult to both obtain supplies never mind attract clientele, the couple’s London-based daughter Rohaise Rose-Bristow and her husband Dan stepped in to help. 

“My father-in-law recalled the first season was spent mainly putting coal on the fires and trying to keep warm,” says Dan, who quit his job as a City bond trader for running the hotel. 

“They then gutted the place. They had to rewire and replumb, stained mattresses and soft furnishing were thrown out, they ripped out the kitchen. 

“While they were doing it, they discovered a gas leak which definitely isn’t something you want in a hotel. So that was fixed.”

The remoteness and distressed state of the interior raised questions over whether taking on the old Loch Torridon Hotel was a good idea. 

“Many people thought they were mad,” adds Dan. “But they had a vision and the courage to go and do it.”

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The hotel was elevated from three stars and then to five stars. More recently, it has benefited from a Scottish tourism boom and the launch of the NC500 route.

It’s grown from employing 25 staff to 55, increased turnover from £1 million to £3 million and seen visitor numbers rise from 10,000 a year to over 15,000.

The programme, filmed last year and coinciding with the couple’s 20th anniversary in charge, spotlights how - despite the nearest supermarket being an hour’s drive away - it is now almost self-sufficient.

Despite harsh weather and poor soil, a two acres kitchen garden created using imported Irish soil was restored and enriched with manure from the hotel’s fold of Highland cattle.

Once kept as a tourist attraction, the cattle now provide beef for the hotel guests and staff. 

Garden polytunnels harbour exotic plants such as wasabi and grapes, and even the seaweed plucked from the fringes of the sea loch is used by the chef for restaurant dishes.

And behind the scenes, the hotel operates a biomass plant which uses woodchips to provide hotel water and heating. 

Dan adds: “When my in-laws came here, the place was pretty much condemned. 

“The kitchen was full of water and grease and everything was a mess. 

“It’s not a 200 bedroom hotel, it’s not The Ritz, but we think we now have one of the best hotels in the UK.”

Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby, Tuesday, July 21 at 8pm