My father and I recently traveled to Scotland, and the highlight of our trip was staying at Eastward, a beautifully renovated church. The rooms are very comfortable, the lounge is INSANE - the space and facilities are amazing! - and the hosts, Patrick and Keiko, offered the most genuine, kindest hospitality I encountered a place filled with friendly people. And the food...oh the food! More about that later.
First, we were each given a room at no additional cost (they very kindly waived the single supplement). The bed was soft and comfortable, and I didn't want to leave it come morning. Everything you could want was there, including tea making facilities in the room, a toothbrush in case you forgot yours, and a fresh bottle of water each day. We didn't have an ensuite bathroom, but we shared one between us which was more than fine. The lounge was spectacular - 46 inch tv with Sky, DVDs, loads of books, an amazing hi-fi system (complete with CDs), a free internet computer, a FREE minibar with Coke and juice, and more tea/coffee/hot chocolate making facilities. Top it off with a nice big table and deep comfortable leather couches - I wished I had such a nice set up in my own home!
Luckily enough for us, I booked us in to dinner the first night we arrived. We choose the French dinner at 28 pounds per person, and it was so, so worth it. A full four course meal, we were absolutely stuffed by the end, and the food was absolutely of restaurant quality. We had some great food on our trip, but I would say our meal at Eastward was, by far, the best food we ate in our two weeks. Given the time put into cooking our meal, the high quality of the ingredients, and the accompaniments, I honestly don't think they even make money off the food - they just truly, genuinely enjoy giving fabulous hospitality and making sure your every want or need as a guest is taken care of. That philosophy showed in the food which is cooked with care, attention, and skill. The large breakfast was equally as wonderful - we were so satisfied and full that we didn't so much as feel a hunger pain until 6 that evening!
Above all, what really made the place was the hosts. Patrick told me he wants his guests to feel as though they are in their own house, and we truly did. He greeted us with fascinating conversation and tea and biscuits, which was repeated several times during our all too short two day visit. We were invited to stop back in for tea after the Tomb of the Eagles, the morning we left we were invited to stay as late as we wanted (our ferry left at noon), and Patrick even kindly helped us cancel our ferry booking so we could stay longer.
This trip was a special one for my father and I, and staying at Eastward has become a special memory we will always carry. My only regret is that we didn't stay longer, and I fully intend to be back.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Eastward Guest House is a destination for lovers of good food seeking a unique dining experience with excellent cuisine in a happy atmosphere. Great food and genuine friendship are equal partners in a house of warm hospitality that creates memorable occasions. The business is also widely known as The Missing Bell. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Eastward Guest House Orkney Islands, Scotland