A luxury Scottish hotel has retained its Michelin star despite insisting that it was “walking away” from the accolade as it was damaging its profits and discouraging people from visiting.

The owners of Boath House near Nairn said they did not expect to appear in the famous guide after deciding to embrace a more casual dining experience and attract more local residents.

But in the 2018 edition, published on Monday, the hotel was named alongside 10 other Scottish restaurants as offering some of the nation’s best food.

“Keeping the Michelin star has not changed anything for us” – Sam Matheson, hotel director

Chef Michael Smith won a star for his Loch Bay restaurant on the Isle of Skye, which is located in a converted crofter’s house, but Kinloch Lodge on the island lost the star it had held for seven years.

• READ MORE: Award-winning Scottish hotel ‘walks away’ from its Michelin star

The Isle of Eriska on another island, Eriska, was the only other establishment north of the border to lose its star, with the country now home to 11 restaurants recognised by Michelin.

The others include The Cellar in Anstruther, Braidwoods in Dalry, Albannach in Lochinver and The Peat Inn in Fife.

Edinburgh has four Michelin-starred restaurants: Number One, 21212, Kitchin and Restaurant Martin Wishart, who also earned a star for his establishment at Loch Lomond.

• READ MORE: Scotland’s Michelin star winners for 2018 revealed

Don Matheson, who owns Boath House with his wife Wendy, said last week that the hotel was “walking away” from its star as it did not want to be seen as “elitist” and “formal”.

But his son Sam, one of the hotel’s directors, said the team felt “no less honoured” that Michelin had decided its food was still worthy of the accolade.

“Keeping the Michelin star has not changed anything for us in terms of how we would like to go forward – we are still very excited to be making the changes which we have been aiming to make for a while in terms of creating a less formal dining experience,” he told i.

“At the end of the day all we are doing is listening to our customers – the majority of whom want something more casual and approachable.

“We believe, as I’m sure Michelin and the other guides believe, that in this business it is all about the customer and you shouldn’t lose sight of that.

“We have had countless e-mails from both regular customers and complete strangers, offering their encouragement in the direction we are going.”

Elsewhere in the UK, a £300-per-person sushi restaurant with just nine seats became the latest British establishment to gain three Michelin stars.

The Araki, which opened off Regent Street in London in 2014, joined four other UK restaurants in the top tier in the latest publication.

The others were Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck and Alain Roux’s Waterside Inn in Bray, Berkshire; Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester in Park Lane and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea.

• This article originally appeared in our sister site the inews

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