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“Spacious and quiet room” 3 of 5 stars
Review of The Islay Hotel

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The Islay Hotel
Charlotte Street, Port Ellen PA42 7DF, Scotland   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #8 of 10 Port Ellen B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Frankfurt, Germany
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Spacious and quiet room”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2012

We stayed 4 nights in the hotel. It was far our most expensive hotel.
Good was the very big and quiet room to the back, also with a nice seaview. Newly renovated everything is well in shape with
very nice bathroom and very large and comfortable beds too.
The bar was very well equipped with the finest scotsh whiskies and with coffee speciallities.

A lot of improvement needs the breakfast and the traininglevel of some staff in the restaurant. For a hotel of this price category we expecteted much more quality in service. The breakfast was without any fresh fruits and we saw the typical scottish breakfast in a much better qualty in far more simple B&Bs.
All in all it was not really worth that amount of money for us.

Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Manager at The Islay Hotel, responded to this review, June 22, 2012
Thank you for your review. I'm glad you enjoyed our great bedrooms and bathroom facilities. We are now concentrating on our service training to offer the complete package. Hope to welcome you to the Islay Hotel on your next visit to the Island.
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225 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (54)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Morpeth, England, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2012

I stayed 3 nights here June 8-11 with members of The MacBrayne Circle, who preserve buses which were once owned by David MacBrayne and keep alive the heritage of that company. This was our annual rally & we made several trips to many locations in 3 buses which had all run on Islay in the 50's & 60's. On the whole, I found this a very good base. The room I shared with another member was on the top floor, with good views of Frederick Crescent & the harbour. It was an odd shape, with nooks & crannies & pieces of old fashioned furniture, a feature which I liked, found throughout the hotel. The beds were comfortable, though as it was close at nights, I had to pull down the duvet to reduce perspiration. Bathroom was excellent, good working shower and towels etc. changed every night. There were some hooks & hangers but could possibly have done with a small wardrobe to hang clothes properly. The food was excellent, good selection of cereals, juices etc.& fine cooked breakfast, only drawback I found was some items such as butter were missing from the table at first but the staff provided them - eventually! Dinners had a choice of 3 starters, 4 main courses & 3 desserts with coffee included - I especially enjoyed the Argyll lamb. The only real negative feature which we all found was that the service was very slow, especially on the first day - I remember 1 member, a native of Islay, waiting at least 15 minutes for his porridge! This improved throughout our stay & I think the management & staff did their best, they were certainly friendly, helpful & keen. Admittedly, it was a challenge to cater for a large group such as ours, 29 in all, which included a few from B&B's but I felt possibly one or two more hands on deck would have made a difference, as we had booked at least 2 months in advance. I don't want this to detract from what was mostly an enjoyable experience, especially the entertainment provided on Saturday night by 3 local musicians, whom I joined to keep feet tapping till midnight & again on Sunday when Craig, a young member of staff, delighted us with some fine playing on his accordion!

Room Tip: If you're reasonably fit, go for no.11, a corner attic room, for the excellent view! There is, h...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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, Manager at The Islay Hotel, responded to this review, June 28, 2012
Thank you for the review. It was a great weekend. We will be posting some pictures up on-line soon of the buses parked along side the hotel. A real piece of history. Thanks again and we look forward to the next trip.
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Edinburgh
1 review
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2012

Myself and my family visit Islay regularly which is always a good holiday as we have two young children. When visiting Islay this year in June we went to the Islay Hotel for an evening meal. There no Children’s Menu which I found very disappointing in a hotel. I was informed the children could have half portions of what was on the menu. This is not always suitable when you have young children. The service was friendly but seemed unprofessional........the waiting staff I felt needed more training, When my husband asked about a certain whisky he was told they would have to check with the bar staff.
My husband had Scallops to start as he was told they where Islay Scallops. He found them to be under cooked and when he brought this to the attention of the waiting staff he was told that’s the way they were supposed to be cooked. As a Vegetarian I found very limited in the menu. As I don’t eat meat or fish all i could have on the menu was the pasta dish. This unappetising dish was more or less pasta and parmesan cheese. The Parmesan cheese is supposed to be offered to you or put on a side dish so you are able to choice the amount you would like.
My husband had the steak which was quite pricey so we did expect a great dish. However the steak was extremely thin and was more well done that medium. Definitely not worth the price.

As much we will be returning to Islay we very much doubt we will be returning to the Islay hotel. This is a great shame as it offers so much promise but fails to deliver.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Islaymanager, Manager at The Islay Hotel, responded to this review, June 15, 2012
Thank you for your review. I'm sorry you were disapointed with your evening. I have just taken on the role of Manager and training is now under way. We have a policy of utilising local staff for a better experience and I think soon we will have a great team. The next time you visit I'm sure you will see improvements. We do price all our menu fairly and are quite reasonable compared to some on the Island offering similar items.
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Houston, Texas
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2012

If you're staying in Port Ellen, you'll most certainly end up here for a meal because your choices are few and far between (I think that is true for Islay in general). We went here for late night drinks both of our nights on Islay (very good selection of whiskey), and for a light dinner one of the nights.

The wait staff was quite friendly, if a bit unprofessional. We came just as they were closing the kitchen (around 9pm) but they still fed us. My husband was very pleased with the oysters. I had venison, asparagus, and crab cakes. All the food was good, although I wouldn't call the crab cakes by that name. They were reasonably priced so I can't complain too much, but they were more like potato cakes with some crab too. The venison was excellent.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Islaymanager, Manager at The Islay Hotel, responded to this review, June 14, 2012
I am glad you enjoyed your meal with us at the Islay Hotel. Our bar has one of the best selections of Islay Malt Whisky on the Island so I am pleased you were able to take advantage of this during your visit.
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Preston, United Kingdom
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2012

For several years when we have visited Port Ellen we have observed with interest the progress(sometimes slow) that was being made to renovate the building and this year we were delighted to find that the hotel had reopened. We only had the opportunity to drop in for a morning coffee and we opted to have this in the open area just outside theb bar. It was a beautiful sunny morning though with a cool breeze but despite this the area in which we were served acted as a sun trap and we spent a restful half hour there.
We were also very impressed by the toilet facilities which are of the highest order.
On our next visit to Islay we will ensure that we take the opportunity to have a meal.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Islaymanager, Manager at The Islay Hotel, responded to this review, June 14, 2012
Glad we could at last welcome you inside this fine new hotel. Look forward to seeing you next time in the restaurant.
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Sheffield
Top Contributor
145 reviews 145 reviews
57 hotel reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
86 helpful votes 86 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2012

We had great fun here, but more in a watch-the-farce unwinding than a pleasant dining experience way. We got a hint of what was to come when the waitress asked what we wanted to drink before offering us a wine menu or telling us what drinks were available. A wine menu arrived but then another waitress arrived to take our food order instead. Then the first waitress took our wine order and removed both the wine menu and my serviette. Neither waitress noticed this, which was quite incovenient as I'd ordered oysters to begin with - luckily my dining companion allowed me to share their napkin. It wasn't until the end of the first course, when the dishes were cleared, that I was able to attract a waitress's attention and request a new serviette - the request was met with a degree of suspicion. The oysters were very good and reasonably priced, although the price on the menu was slightly less than the price that appeared on our bill.

For mains, we'd both ordered (different) steaks - we regarded this as a reasonable pricey choice. The steaks were very thin, so more medium rare than the rare we'd requested. However, both were ruined by being blackened on the outside - the bitter burnt taste ruined the otherwise tasty meat. I don't know whether it was related to the chef's over-enthusiastic char-grilling of the steaks, but the fire alarm went off three times during our main course. Given the relative expense of the dishes and the quality of the meat, we felt (and this is very rare for us) that we should mention something - not in a complaining or money off kind of a way, but in a constructive feedback way. We'd cleaned our plates so it couldn't have been so bad as to require a new steak or a reduction on our bill. So I told the waitress that we both thought the steak was tasty but rather overdone and too black on the outside. She looked puzzled for a second and then said "Anyone want to see the dessert menu?" - no apology or assurance that she'd tell the chef. No sooner had she distributed dessert menus to us, the other waitress walked in and asked for our dessert order before we'd had time to open the menu.

When our bill arrived, I wasn't surprised that there was at least one discrepancy. However, given the waitress's perplexion when offered a comment, I decided not to mention the very small discrepancy.

The service was friendly enough and prompt, sometimes too prompt! The waiting staff need to work as a team and learn how to handle customer comments. The food was pretty good, and the oysters great. But neither the service nor the food, particularly not the burnt steaks, were up to gastropub standards. It's a shame because the quality of the ingredients used suggests that there's a good restaurant waiting to emerge here.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Islaymanager, Manager at The Islay Hotel, responded to this review, June 14, 2012
Thank you for taking the time to leave your review on our new venture. Comments good and not so good help me plan our training requirements. I'm sorry your evening was a little disjointed. I do remember the 'fire alarm' night as it was the first night we introduced our 'big one' 16oz steak and demand was excellent with the grill working overtime!. Hopefully on your return we will have moved forward and you will see a great improvement. Look forward to welcoming you to the Islay hotel again.
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London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2012 via mobile

Only went to the Hotel for dinner (twice as Port Ellen does not have a lot of places to eat). The meal and atmosphere on both nights was very good. The staff friendly and effecient. The seafood/fish was cooked to my liking. Only down side was on the Friday night as the service was slow compared to the mid week visit.

Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Islaymanager, Manager at The Islay Hotel, responded to this review, June 12, 2012
Thank you for your review I'm pleased you enjoyed your meal on both occassions.
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Additional Information about The Islay Hotel

Address: Charlotte Street, Port Ellen PA42 7DF, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > The Hebrides > Islay > Port Ellen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 10 B&Bs / Inns in Port Ellen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Recently rebuilt on the site of the old Islay Hotel, offering 13 excellent bedrooms. From standard rooms with walk-in showers to extra large rooms with Jacuzzi bath and separate shower we can accommodate all requirements. Fantastic restaurant with a great selection of Island landed seafood dishes along side our Game supplied by local estates and Argyll Beef and Lamb. Our bar has one of the best collections of Islay whisky on the Island. The hotel is open all year around and are ideally situated next to Port Ellen Harbour and Ferry terminal. We are the nearest hotel to Laphroig, Lagavulin and Argbeg distilleries. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Islay Hotel Port Ellen

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