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Scotland Islands Accommodation can match the mainland

There are high standards  of accommodation on Scotland's islands. On the small islands especially, the hotel bar is often a real community hub.

Scotland islands accommodation

So I said to her.....

‘Where to stay on Scotland's islands. Give me some examples. Just a few names. What can you recall from your travels? Any accommodation you recall as a great Scottish experience?

‘Well, let’s start from the top. Shetland. Hmm. Busta House certainly used to get a good name. Probably still does. Interesting historic building...’

‘Agreed. Never managed to stay there though. Anywhere else to add to my Shetland, Scottish islands accommodation list?’

‘Nope, can’t think offhand. All the other big places are a bit corporate perhaps. All these oil execs., perhaps.’

‘What about Orkney accommodation? I’ve always had a soft spot for The Foveran Restaurant with Rooms. Friendly, as I recall. Great seafood.’ 

‘Anyway, let’s wonder down the western seaboard now. What comes to mind?

Kinloch Lodge, right away. On Skye. All that heritage….seat of clan chief and all that. Wows the American visitors – and everyone else. And it’s really comfortable and highly rated for food. It’s a must see in Scotland experience accommodation-wise.’

 Kinloch Lodge, Isle of Skye. A lovely romantic place to stay - with delicious food.

Kinloch Lodge, Isle of Skye. A lovely romantic place to stay - with delicious food.


‘Absolutely. There are some very good places to stay on Skye and on Mull. On Skye, The Bosville and The Cuillin Hills Hotel in Portree are lovely. But Skye is especially popular and accommodation gets booked up very early. Mull is busy too.’ 

 Beinn Sgritheal from Skye

Beinn Sgritheal from Skye

(Pictured here) This autumn view, looking back towards the Scottish mainland, is a short walk from Kinloch Lodge on Skye.

 The West Highland Hotel overlooking Tobermory Bay, Isle of Mull.

The West Highland Hotel overlooking Tobermory Bay, Isle of Mull.

‘Sure, the eating choice – notably for seafood – is a great reason to visit the Isle of Mull in the first place – but where to stay? Remember we were promised wi-fi on our waterfront hotel but it didn’t happen? That’s why we holed up on that wet morning in the Western Isles Hotel, where the signal was better. Besides, they were very welcoming with a real fire and lovely views across the bay.’

‘Yeah, we should have stayed there; pleasant, relaxed, old-fashioned but in a good way – as though the cast of the 1945 movie ‘I know Where I’m Going’ were going to stride in at any moment. Did you know that the 13-year-old Petula Clark was also in it as well as the more famous Wendy Hiller? Most of the cast stayed at the hotel…’

 View towards distant Ben Resipol, from the Western Isles Hotel, Tobermory, Mull

View towards distant Ben Resipol, from the Western Isles Hotel, Tobermory, Mull

(Pictured here) Clouds are clearing over Tobermory Bay and the sun is just beginning to shine on Ben Resipol, on the mainland, just visible, centre. This is the view from the dining room of the Western Isles Hotel, Tobermory, Mull.

Well, I’d stay at the Bellachroy Inn at Dervaig, for the food again. And I remember a trip when I was very comfortable in the Caol-Ithe Guesthouse, at Fionnphort. Handy for the island of Iona as well. Just by the ferry.’

And come to think of it, I’d describe the Gigha Hotel on the island of Gigha in exactly the same way – it was friendly and comfortable, not ultra modern but that’s not what it’s about on a wee island – but definitely a hub – just the place for an authentic glimpse of island life.’ There is some self-catering on Gigha too - for a real escape.


Of course, there are some lovely places further away - on the Outer Hebrides. Scarista House on the Isle of Harris is so friendly with amazing food - but there are other places such as the modern Hotel Hebrides in Tarbert plus lots of B&Bs and self-catering options.

‘OK, that’ll do as a sample of where to stay on the islands. Apart from on the wee islands, there is a good choice. We’ve just mentioned a few.’

‘Can we stick with the accommodation suggestions, please?’

‘OK, we’ll add those to this mini list. Now, what about some more islands?’

‘Well, there’s the Port Charlotte Hotel on Islay – it’s friendly, features local produce. Any journalist I sent there always spoke highly of it. And that, in turn, reminds me of the Jura Hotel on Craighouse. Bedrooms recently upgraded bedrooms, so very comfortable and modern. Still slightly ‘olde worlde’ in the lounge and public rooms – but in a good, totally charming, way. And as the only hotel on the island, it’s a real social hub.

 Main Street, Tobermory, Isle of Mull.

Main Street, Tobermory, Isle of Mull.

‘Yeah, when it comes to where to stay on the islands, standards are up everywhere, compared to the old days…..Take Mull, for instance. Walk along the Tobermory waterfront these days and – no kidding – it’s a bit like those Mediterranean holidays when you scout out the tavernas in some Greek resort town, checking the menus for the best place for the evening meal. No, I’m not really exaggerating – though it’s nice and cooler on Mull, of course!’

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