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“Disappointing”
Review of Scarista House

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Scarista House
Ranked #5 of 23 Isle of Harris B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 13, 2012

This review only covers the restaurant as we did not stay at the hotel. Unfortunately, after expecting great things the experience was very disappointing. There is a set menu, 3 courses for £43 or 4 for £50, not cheap, but surely with only one dish to prepare and wonderful local produce surely very little to go wrong ? Well the start was slow, Salmon and 3 blinis with a dressing devoid of any flavour, not great but at least the salmon was of good quality. The main course however was a real let down. Lamb with lentils green veg and sauce. The veg were well cooked, however the source was lacking in the any real flavour- I had forgotten from the menu what the intended flavour was and unfortunately actually eating the sauce was not able to remind me. The lentils again, bizarrely bland for a food that screams long cooking with plenty of time to imbue flavor. The real tragedy however was the lamb which should have been the centrepiece of the whole meal but was overcooked and tough. We were not the only diners to comment on this. The desert was nice enough but also strangely came with coconut instead of the advertised cinnamon ice cream. I'm not sure what was going on, if this was an anomolous off day but the fundemental errors make me suspect that this was not that unusual. We do not mind paying for good food, but paying for good food and getting a mediocre home cooked meal is not acceptable, even in such beautiful surroundings. Service was also not fantastic, we had an empty water jug for half the time we were sat down.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank TireeAl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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106 - 112 of 160 reviews

Reviewed June 2, 2012

Just returned from 4 glorious nights in the haven that is the Scarista House hotel. This was our fifth visit in 7 years, so yes, you've guessed it we rather like the hotel (along, of course, with the wonderful scenery of the Isle Of Harris). The visit was made all the more memorable by the unbelievable weather - no rain at all during our stay. Patricia and Tim were (as ever) the perfect hosts and nothing is too much trouble for them - Patricia making wheat-free bread and cakes for one of us. We stayed in one of the rooms separate from the main house - which I would recommend as they are more spacious and have stunning views from the attached (small) lounge - I even saw the two resident Golden Eagles soaring over the nearby hill (Ceapabhal) whilst sitting on the sofa! Food was consistently good, with highlights being the lamb, scallops and beef, as well as some sumptuous desserts. We will return.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank tamora186338
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2012

I must start by saying that I did not stay at SH, but simply went for dinner. Having lived in some major cities around the world, when asked about my favorite restaurant, the answer is always the same.....SH. I love the peaceful, comfortable elegance of beginning with drinks and canapés in the library. It is true that there's no menu.....but here you are, at the end of the world, it's spectacular, but it's the end of the world.....if they gave me a menu I'd be obliged to regard it with suspicion! What they serve is exquisite, fresh, local food. I have been several times over the years. This time I had scallops, fillet of beef (mine perfectly rare, my friends medium as requested), ending with chocolate puddings and ginger ice cream. It was beyond delicious. Really. I ate in the lovely dining room with the best view in the world (arguably :-). Did anything spoil it? Yes. I was too full for the cheese board and that looked amazing too!! This year, for the first time I was reluctantly obliged to take my kids. How will that work I thought? Childrens meals devoured without complaint. Perfect. They were made more than welcome and enjoyed bouncing outside on the trampoline while we finished our meals. Children's food reasonably priced. If there's one last place you get to go out for dinner before you die.....make it Scarrista!!

  • Stayed: April 2012
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2  Thank MicheleAJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2012

Scarista House is a little boutique hotel overlooking a pristine white beach with a mountain view backdrop. The location is stunning. It is not cheap, but everything out there has to be brought from the mainland. For peace and quiet, walks and de-stressing, there is no better place. Tim and Patricia, the owners, also run the restaurant which is a fixed menu with locally sourced foods and is superb. We will be back.

Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
1  Thank Phil B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2012


We booked dinner at Scarista House with high expectations. On arrival we were ushered into a study by a waitress, log fire sadly not lit and the room cold, without background music. Two further sets of guests arrived and we were handed menus. No choice is offered, either three courses for £43 or £49.50 for four courses. Canapés arrived, slightly curious oily balls of a dough texture which needed the spicy sauce to enliven them. We chose the house red wine (south American and very pleasant) and awaited dinner. We were duly ushered through to the rather cold dining area by the waitress. A figure presumably the front of house manager or owner was visible in the dining room however as he did not introduce himself to us all evening we remained none the wiser. The starter arrived. Harris enjoys an abundance of fresh local seafood. Why anyone would present ingredients such as fresh scallops,crab and prawn chopped up in the form of a cheese tart is a mystery. No marks for presentation then and unremarkable flavours or texture. The main course was beef and this was good,tender,cooked medium pink exactly as per the menu. The accompaniment of mashed potato and a very modest portion indeed of two veg in a jus was however as unimaginative a presentation as the starter. Prior to dessert the front of house manager/owner at last turned the heating up. Dessert was billed as hazelnut meringue with blueberry sorbet and raspberries. This was voted acceptable if not out of the ordinary and the square multi layer presentation was unusual. Two of us went with the cheeseboard instead of dessert which again was pleasant enough but contained Welsh, Irish and Yorkshire cheeses, a rather bizarre selection for supposedly one of the top eating establishments in Scotland bearing in mind the available local produce. Finally, Petit Fours were served in the now-warm study. These were good. The bill of just over £200 would have represented questionable value for a dining experience that fell well short of our expectations overall. The lack of ambience and absence of interaction with the owners being one detraction, the generally unimaginative fare being the other. I say 'would have' because there was a final twist. Our bill had seemingly been discounted by a £25 'voucher' without explanation.As we had heard another guest mention a voucher we assumed the discount related to a deal with our accommodation provider. However the answer emerged a week later, when a business colleague I had visited in Stornoway asked if we had enjoyed the wine. Appreciative of my breaking my holiday to meet him, my colleague had phoned Scarista and said he would pay for our wine. Inexcusably this was not mentioned.Thus I was left in the embarrassing position of my colleague thinking for a week that I had failed to acknowledge his kind gesture, until he himself raised it. We have tried to present as balanced a review as possible but whatever reputation Scarista may have had in the past will take it a considerable effort to recover in our eyes. At present we feel the dining experience on offer at Scarista has nothing particular to set it apart from the competition. As a postcript - we ordered take away seafood (starter and main) from a local croft the previous day and found both the presentation and flavours superior.

Stayed: April 2012
3  Thank EastNeukie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2012

Met at the door by our hosts, served freshly baked cake with Afternoon Tea, then drinks in the library before a top class dinner, who could ask for more? Well actually, the rooms were wonderfully comfortable with a fabulous view to the coast

Room Tip: Front of the house for breathtaking views
  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank JillandJohnBath
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 1, 2011

We had been planning a trip to Scarista House for over 20 years and finally made it for our Silver Wedding - we were not disappointed! Scarista House is hospitable, comfortable, with excellent food, roaring fires, masses of books, a beach for walks just over the road, access to Harris's wild hinterland - and miles from anywhere! From my perspective, the only downside is that it accepts pets, but my husband wouldn't have gone without the dogs! We felt it was a home from home and will definitely go back.
It's worth adding that, having chosen to go in November, we were fortunate with the weather and had a couple of very pleasant days. This did mean we didn't get as much reading done as we'd planned, but we're not complaining. However, reading apart, there isn't a lot to do in bad weather on Harris in November [which is one of the joys of being there].

Room Tip: The annexe rooms are good for pets, as there is access straight from the parking area. All the room...
  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank lewisjc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Scarista House

Address: Sgarasta Bheag, HS3 3HX, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > The Hebrides > Outer Hebrides > Lewis and Harris > Isle of Harris
Amenities:
Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 23 B&Bs / Inns in Isle of Harris
Price Range: $88 - $115 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Scarista House Hotel Isle Of Harris
Scarista House Isle Of Harris, Scotland

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