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The Summer Isles Hotel and Restaurant
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Achiltibuie
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 6, 2008

Having driven the seventeen miles down the single track road ,we were delighted to reach our destination, which was more than the staff appeared when after time someone came to check us in.

The lady explained we were in a cottage across the carpark,gave us a key and disappeared, leaving us to drag our suitcases across a gravel yard , over a catle grid.

Superb room, well appointed, spotlessly clean, but at their prices would have been nice to have had a little help.

Dinner is served at one sitting, set meal, no alterative offered, wine of their choosing, the whole occassion spoil by the somewhat condesending attitude.

Next morning after a very nice breakfast, paid £385.00 lugged our cases back to the car and drove away with a bitter taste,
only to be removed at the Kyleski hotel, where we lunched on king prawns fresh from the loch at a fraction of the cost, and the landlord greeted us like a brother

  • Stayed: June 2007
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4  Thank nomadgolferCheshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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430 - 436 of 471 reviews

Reviewed June 19, 2008

After so many past good reviews, and evidence of a michelin rosette, we decided to visit for two nights in the first week in June, with stunning weather (best for 10 years in Scottish Highlands). We checked that the chef had not changed. But we had not realised that the previously much-in-evidence owner had sold up to an "absentee owner". When we arrived, we felt really done.
The room was across the car park from the main room. There was no telephone concierge, so to obtain room service we had to get dressed and walk into the main house, ring the bell, and wait up to 5 minutes for a response. Tea trays, food tray leftovers, and ice buckets not collected from the room till after breakfast the following morning. The bed had extremely noisy bedsprings, the wardrobe door wouldn;t shut.There was a yellow-stained split in the ceiling above the bed. The roofing material was turf, but it happened to be extremely dry weather when we stayed, thank goodness. The bathroom shelves all sloped away from the wall, so items fell off in the middle of the night with a crash. Pets were allowed in the rooms. So we were woken by barking from the next room, at 0230. Then, unable to sleep, we were unable to make a cup of tea - no kettle, no teamaking stuff in the rooms. To make a request for a pot of tea required - yes - getting dressed and walking over to the main building and ringing on the bell. There was no information pack in the room, so we didn;t know if there even was a concierge? Who can say? Never found out.
The food was extremely disappointing. Unimaginatively prepared and presented, large but plain portions of cold seafood, claws crushed in amateurish blunt force, not correctly cracked open, so meat couldn't be retrieved; no table crushers, one tiny ramekin as a finger bowl for two people, no spare napkins after finger bowls; main course heavily over-spiced, unsubtle, with grey unappetising duck, overwhelmed by cinnamon, fennel, and celeriac, and garlic, and apple, the meat simply tasted of nothing at all. The menu said nothing of the spice fennel and celeriac content, so mediocre wine choice at enormous markup (eg Cissac 1996 current market price £14.00 duty paid was priced at £49) was hopeless at matching the food. Desserts were 80s style cream-rich puds on sweet trolley, globbed on the plate with a distinct lack of finesse. The first night, staff were unable to list the cheeses, nor able to say correctly which were unpasteurised, and whether goats, ewes, or cows' cheese. The second night, when they had obviously decided to smarten up a bit, they were better, but it was an embarrasment to have to sit through the strained efforts of the serving staff explaining which dessert or cheese was what. The beef carpaccio was served as a huge single slice which looked like a roadkill. It tasted very nice.
The atmosphere gave the overwhelming impression of poor management, lack of briefing, poor attention to detail in every way, and poor kitchen ambition. Perhaps a symptom of "absentee onwership"?? We were so disappointed by the first might's meal, that we asked the lead waiter on the first night who the chef was, and whether he had prepared the food, and whether he was the one that had been awarded the michelin rosette. The waiter said the chef was "Chris with a double-barrelled surname, I forget". Erm. Really? Head waiter doesn't know who the chef is? Just about sums up the place now.
Packed lunch the next day was smoked salmon sandwich with cream cheese, a tomato, and a soft rotten apple, and a thermos of orange juice. For £10.00. The sandwich bread was cut so thick that even after discarding one of the slabs, the open sandwich was so dry it stuck in my throat.
We honestly couldn't see where a michelin rosette could be found. Gone past it's expiry date, I think.
For £170.00 per night for two, plus £104 for two for the single-sitting set menu (no a la carte) plus drinks, it was excessively overpriced for the performance, and easily the worst two nights we had spent in a two week tour of Scotland. Beautiful location, true. But if you want to go somewhere really really nice for the same sort of price, try Monachyle Mhor Hotel in the Trossachs, or Three Chimneys in Skye. Neither has a Michelin Rosette, but are orders of magnitude more heavenly than this flawed place which our experience suggests may already be living on its past reputation. I have no hesitation in recommending an immediate review by the Michelin Inspectors.

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank EclecticEpicurean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 2008

For our first wedding anniversary we decided on a trip up north staying in places known for fabulous food. This was the most remote place we went to, and we loved it. We were accommodated in what was the lowest tariff room in the place... and felt like we were being punished for it! The room itself was clean, comfortable although a bit sparse, but the bathroom as a disgrace for such an establishment! It was old, falling apart and had no shower - we were given a plastic shower attachment you stick onto the bath taps to use!
BUT, the food...ahh, the food! My husband is a New Zealander and chatted with the sommelier about wine. Pre dinner drinks and canapes were served in the lounge before dinner and it was lovely - even although we realised that we were bringing down the average age of all the others present by quite a margin by being so much younger than everyone else there! If you like the loud, London hunting, fishing, shooting crowd you would feel very comfortable there!!
Five course dinner was an extravaganza and the staff were helpful, friendly and enthusiastic about the food they were serving which added to the experience.
Would happily eat here again, but not fussed about the accommodation there as felt it was a rip off... of course, the accommodation choices are such that you may not have a choice!! Someone should open up a lovely B & B there, then you could enjoy the food at Summer Isles then retire to a less pretentious and more comfortable accommodation!
Breakfast was amazing, but after all that food at dinner, who wants breakfast!

  • Stayed: June 2003
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1  Thank PaolinaEdinburgh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 10, 2008

Spectacular location for walks (if you don't mind rain) and views. We had a room at the front - large - looking out to the water over the sheep etc. Bathroom not wonderful - problem about hot water for bath. One comes here for the food and/or the location (which is the middle of nowhere). There will be no tour groups here because the access roads are too narrow and twisty for buses. The location is spectacular.

Dinner was good, but not, in my view, great. Too many courses also! But the meal was very pleasant and the staff was wonderful - friendly but observant and careful. Drinks before dinner in the lounge were casual and pleasant. Breakfast was fabulous - but who needs all that food?

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled with friends
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Thank olderfemaletraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 3, 2007

Didn't stay but did eat dinner at this hotel. The meal and service were as good as we had remembered...if not better. Great wine-to-food matching advice, superb five-course set meal with good veggie options and the cheese board has to be the best in the UK. Convivial atmosphere on the Friday night we dined; not at all stuffy. Take your loved one, your family or even just go on your own. Great food in an idyllic location with attentive, amusing and knowledgeable waiting-on staff, overseen immaculately by New Zealand Bob.

Stayed: August 2007
1  Thank DaveGlasgow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2007

Always wanting to visit the Scottish highlands, we were recommended to the Summer Isles hotel by friends who had had lunch in the bar, this being a fantastic find at what must be the most remote hotel in Scotland. Or so we thought.

Considering the first day of our holiday was rain from morning to night, it would have been a good thing to have a room with a view and some home comforts. Well the room at £135-00 per night was in fact a semi-detached log cabin, with a view of a car park and at night the sound of our neighbours snoring. The furnishings, bathroom and overall presentation was fine if not on the small side. Apparently we should have upgraded if we wanted a view or some comfort.

So to dinner at a mouth watering £51-00 per head. We looked forward to with relish as an event to match a top London restaurant. A previous reviewer summed the experience up beautifully “Pretentiousness’” as I have never experienced before. Yes the food was good but I have eaten far better at half the price. The service provided by one guy from New Zealand and two ladies from Australia was the best thing of the experience; if John Clease were to visit we would have a new series of Faulty Towers.

Yes a great idea to have a luxury hotel so far north in the highlands of Scotland, but when the owners balance quality against value for money then this will become an experience worth pursuing.

  • Stayed: August 2007, traveled with family
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5  Thank rorylabrador
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2007

Having enjoyed several previous visits to this Hotel, my wife and I recently stayed here for three nights on our recent Scottish holiday, and I'm glad to say that it was just as good as ever.

Lovely room(s) (we changed rooms during our stay - which we knew about when we booked), friendly service, and excellent food, and all in a really beautiful location. We would recommend guests try going with the wine selection (offered by the glass) that is recommended with the two main courses. We tried this and enjoyed every drop of each choice (thanks Bob!!!).

Oh, and while you're there, you should do one of the great drives in the World - along the 'wee mad road' to Lochinver, which rises, falls, twists and turns through some of the most magnificent scenery. It's probably marginally better going south to north than north to south, but it's terrific in both directions!

Great Hotel, great location, and lovely rooms. We would recommend this Hotel to anyone. It's pricey, but it really is a great place to stay.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Mr.Mole.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Summer Isles Hotel and Restaurant

Address: Main Street | Achiltibuie, Achiltibuie IV26 2YG, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Scottish Highlands > Ross and Cromarty > Achiltibuie
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Achiltibuie
Price Range: $130 - $252 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Summer Isles Hotel and Restaurant 3.5*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Originating in the 19th century as a fishing inn and crofters' bar, the hotel has been developed over the last 4 decades into an oasis of civilisation in one of the most remote and beautiful parts of Britain. Renowned for its fine food and wine, it is a destination for foodies as well as those who enjoy walking, climbing and exploring in exotic landscapes. There are 13 letting units ranging from simple log cabin rooms to a sophisticated cottage with 3 en-suite bedrooms. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Summer Isles Achiltibuie
Hotel Summer Isles
The Summer Isles Hotel And Restaurant Achiltibuie, Scotland

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