First and foremost if you want a happy, high quality experience - book this hotel. Attentive, friendly, knowledgeable staff, top quality food and a beautiful, clean comfortable bedroom.
The choice of two eateries is absolutely great; Katie's Bar and the Restaurant. Katie's Bar is bright, welcoming and modern with interesting traditional quirks - and a mix of other hotel guests, tourists staying elsewhere on the island and locals. The menu is reassuringly specialised (i.e. fits on one chalk board) and is packed with fresh, local ingredients. The restaurant is a more formal room and has a still-specialised, wider ranging and even more luxurious menu. Food was served quickly and efficiently - though there was never any sense of it - or us - being rushed. While Katie's Bar is highly unlikely to disappoint, it is absolutely worth treating yourself to a meal in the Restaurant too. Check out the hotel website for example menu/prices and, if eating here more than once in a week (we happily ate between the two eateries every night we stayed) check with staff as to when the bar menu changes if you want different choices, especially if you are a veggie. However, if you love all foods (local meats, fresh fish...) then you'll be spoiled for choice anyway; pick up the phone and get booked in!
The staff are so helpful, every meal is catered to your liking and, being pregnant during my stay, I was full of requests and questions - every single one of which was answered by the staff who, when necessary, checked with the chefs. I really appreciated the lengths that were gone to for me; even managing to get Clootie Dumpling minus the whisky (imagine even requesting that on Islay!) - but still with the honey cream! YUM!
It was also great to chat to staff of all ages, all of whom had a love, pride and passion for their island. While given the space to enjoy our holiday as a couple - we also had a lovely sense of actually being among islanders and their lives.
As mentioned, the bedroom was beautiful, comfortable and very well looked after by the housekeeper throughout our stay. Wee touches such as the delicious local tablet on the coffee tray and the local soap, shampoo and shower gel were so wonderful that we sought out the shop they came from so we could bring home these sensory memories of our stay at Bridgend.
A tasty breakfast is served in the Restaurant, a lovely room - and like the whole hotel; homely and yet luxurious. Some guests even chose to eat breakfast in the beautiful gardens as the sun was shining.
The Strath Lounge is a relaxing area to sit and enjoy an aperitif or, indeed, after dinner dram or coffee. The sun was spilling in the windows during our Summer stay but I can imagine it would be equally enjoyable with the cosy fire going on a Winter's night. We also enjoyed the homebaking that is available in the lounge in the afternoon.
You really want for nothing in this hotel - an absolute gem in the midst of a stunning, vibrant Scottish island. We genuinely did not want to leave! Manager Lorna and her excellent team ought to be very, very proud.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Bridgend Hotel is a traditional coaching inn situated at the heart of Islay. It is ideally situated for exploring the island and provides a welcoming and comfortable place to stay where the aim is to provide the best of Islay produce. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Bridgend Hotel Islay