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“Staff more welcome”

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North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory
Reviewed August 20, 2011

What a waste of time and money. Evening meal is very much sit here dont talk and watch out when staff sit down. Get as much food on your plate due to the rush from the staff to eat as mush as possible, its quite funny.
Very poor information as to whet brids are there, we did ask and the reply was not a lot.
Rooms not cleaned beds not made. We dropped some crisps on the floor, when we arrived and were still there when we left. Felt like we were there to help with funding rather than a guest. Avoid

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Billydo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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30 - 36 of 37 reviews

Reviewed August 20, 2011

Very comfortable rooms although not soundproofed adequately to keep out the noise of the howling gale overnight. Food was reasonable - you can't expect gourmet provisions in such a remote place. Staff were helpful, when you could find them. Not a fault of NRBO but don't rely on return flight/ferry - even in mid-Summer our flight was almost 5 hours late due to poor weather conditions.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank 186411Phil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 1, 2011

Well I was unsure about how I'd get on here as I haven't a clue about birds and was going to the island for the archaeology and to walk. It's not that I don't like birds but for me it's either a big one or a little one, in the water or flying about, so I doubt there'd be much fun in a conversation with me about bird ringing!

Thankfully I think the owner - a very friendly quiet person who collected us from the airstrip and brought us tea and biscuits after an early flight - noticed the lack of binoculars and instead showed us a map of sites and directed us to the annual sheep round-up for clipping. This was much more my thing and we joined in the drive of the seaweed fed sheep along the shore to the stone enclosures where they're clipped and checked. The weather was fine and we managed to walk the island in the day and a half we were there. In addition to the Obscafe in the observatory there's really good food in the New Lighthouse at the north of the island.

The accommodation is very comfortable- a lovely big en suite room with a view to the south, clean and warm. There's no tv or radio in the rooms but that just makes it more relaxing as there's no pressure to check the news or worry about what's happening in the rest of the world. The building is well-constructed and there are displays on the passive heating systems used to keep the building warm in the harsh northern climate while minimising the environmental impact and other eco-features. I liked this... There's also a hostel and camping in the grounds and there were some families staying and the children seemed to be having a great time of it.

The facilities are very good - there's a licenced bar (anything you could think of drinking is there) and there's a cafe during the day with plenty of boardgames to while away the time when the rain's beating down outside. I think there's a laundry in the hostel and there are drying facilities for wet clothes.

We stayed half board so had a good cooked breakfast with plenty of choice in food and cereals. When you consider the distance that food has to come to get here and the organisation required to plan and order it (a weekly boat and a few flights from Orkney mainland each day) the selection was really very good.

Dinner was a bit of an intimidating prospect as it's served at a long communal table and I thought we'd be pushed into beefy discussions on topical issues. Instead the food was delicious, the company quiet and friendly and as we couldn't face much talk were left to eat in peace while the guests who fancied a conversation were able to blether away.

It's hard to think of any negatives. I would maybe think they could invest in a better dishwasher or check the dishes before using them but that's being super-picky. I liked the friendliness and was glad that we weren't expected to join in but could if we wanted.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank InverGinger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 9, 2011

Unlike previous reviews we found the staff to be rather distant and only interested in the guests who were birdwatchers which we aren't. At the evening meal guests and staff eat together at one long table but the 'bird' staff around us only talked among themselves and made no attempt to be involved with various guests.

On a more positive slant the accommodation was comfortable and the food good but plain. There is also a bar with a good range of beers and whiskies.

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Inveroran
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 14, 2011

Good place to stay, friendly people and nice atmosphere. A variety of deals possible between hostel, B and B, half board, etc. About a 20 minute walk from the airport and five minutes from the pier. The staff will collect you from the airport and pier.

If you have the evening meal it is definitely worth asking for the roast North Ronalday mutton. Delicious.

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled with family
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Thank Tammienorrie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 7, 2011

Stayed for one night on business in N Ronaldsay. Don't be put off if you don't like birds as this is a fine place to stay for any reason. The Obs is run by the GP & his wife but they were away when we stayed, and the staff were a young couple Fleur & her man Mark (Mark birdy but Fleur not). We were their first 'proper paying guests' as Fleur had only been in post (in fact only in Orkney) for 10 days and she did very well - she always seemed to be around to offer tea & coffee, always cheerful. Fleur had not cooked a breakfast for guests before but I have to say it was probably the best I've had in a guesthouse/hotel. Her evening meal was also delicious -spicy pork casserole, crusty bread & salad followed by sticky toffee pudding.
The Obs also does lunches, and my bill for DB&B & sandwich lunch with endless tea & coffee whilst we were there came ot £47 for a single - my collegue paid an extra £10 for a single occ on a double.
I would say they deserve to get more visitors - it would be a good place just to chill out even if you aren't birdy

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled on business
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2  Thank CompleteRaffle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 12, 2016
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  • Stayed: May 2016, traveled with friends
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Thank Ulrike H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory

Address: Twingness, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Orkney Islands > North Ronaldsay
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in North Ronaldsay
Number of rooms: 22

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