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“Snug harbor at Bowmore”

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The Island Bear Bed and Breakfast
Ranked #9 of 13 Bowmore B&B and Inns
San Francisco
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Snug harbor at Bowmore”
Reviewed May 30, 2013

The Island Bear is a quirky, cosy, wonderful place. The location is perfect for seeing all of Islay with access to the limited amenities on the island. We spend a few days there without a car and it worked out great. Bobby is the consummate host. He made reservations for us, organised a taxi, and even whipped up full-on Scottish breakfasts each morning. Although the place is only a few years old, all the custom furniture and antiques give the impression that it's always been part of the island.
Good luck on the sweet shop, Bobby! It will make a great addition an already fantastic property.

Room Tip: book early. there are only three rooms.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank AkamaiFreddy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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58 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    47
    9
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (14)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Germany
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed May 21, 2013

Bobby has put together a really special place here. We stayed for three nights (there were two of us) and enjoyed the feeling, the quality and the hospitality at the Island Bear. I'd classify the style and presentation as 'quirky' - mainly a maritime theme, with great attention to detail, lots of nice little finds and a very individual presentation. Just lovely! The quality and size of the bedrooms is excellent. Everything is very well put together, the bathrooms are great (with shower/bath - heavenly after traipsing around the island). Breakfast was delicious. Plus it's only about twenty steps from Bowmore distillery, and has a couple of good restaurants around it. What more could you ask for for your stay on Islay? The whole package is definitely to be recommended.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Dtietze
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bowmore, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed May 9, 2013

I was on Islay together with several friends doing the grand tour to all destilleries on the island. Some of us stayed at the Harbour In and others stayed here at the Island Bear.

The rooms were excellent. The breakfast was excellent. The staff was excellent.
In short this is a perfect B&B on Islay.

Room Tip: All rooms are great
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Eirik S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed April 21, 2013

My wife and I recently had an excellent 2 night stay with Bobby at the Island Bear. We were on a "mostly" business trip to Scotland and slipped in a short dream visit to Islay to experience some of the West Coast and a few of the fine peated single malt whiskey distilleries located there. We booked directly with Bobby only a few weeks in advance of the trip and our emails were answered quickly and completely. Bobby even asked if he could arrange our distillery tour bookings after some difficulties doing it ourselves. The room had everything we required in a clean, tastefully executed compact suite and to our surprise, was very nicely appointed with antiques, a settee and even nicely coordinated Scottish Wool upholstery. Bobby is a skilled interior craftsman as well as a fine innkeeper, photographer and cook. A lovely and filling cooked to order breakfast with ample coffee sent us on our way to the distilleries each morning. Stay here in this nice central Bowmore location and you will love it as we did. We would definitely return.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Ray M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Preston, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 25, 2013

Having just returned from a three night stay at The Island Bear, I thought that I should endorse everything that Other Travellers have already posted.
The rooms are absolutely lovely, being well appointed,warm, with a comfy bed, and crisp white bedding,and faultlessly clean.
Breakfast both looked and smelled and tasted divine,all made to order, at a time to suit, with copious amounts of help yourself filter coffee from the machine on the dresser.Quite delicious.
..and there is plenty to take in whilst staying.Fantastic photography,local history.Plenty to read and the space to do it.
Thank You Bobby, for making my stay so special.
Ps..the card machine is up and running.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank christine h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
1 review
Reviewed March 7, 2013

We were a group of friends who, after talking about it for a long time, popped up to Islay for a weekend and a bit of a whisky pilgrimmage. We debated about various places to stay, and although the Island Bear was very new, and not yet reviewed on tripadvisor or by the tourism board we were very lucky that Bobby had room for our reasonable sized group.

The place is perfectly located in Bowmore to allow easy access to the any region of the island, and very easy to find on the main street (although Bowmore pretty small anyway!). The rooms themselves were absolutely lovely, and you can tell Bobby has worked tremendously hard on them. As we took up each room that Bobby had, I can vouch that they are all a decent enough size and all well appointed. Most importantly they were comfortable.

Bobby whipped us up a fantastic breakfast each day and was very helpful both leading up to our visit and during. We will definitely be trying to get back to Islay, and I will be doing my best to make sure Bobby has room for us again!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank London_Wombat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed January 4, 2013 via mobile

We had been looking for a place to stay on Islay, and wanted somewhere in Bowmore for it's central location. We scoured the internet, and The Island Bear website cropped up. It was still under construction, but it featured some really nice pictures of the rooms and a quick check of the map showed it to be in a central location in Bowmore (Bowmore is quite small, so everything is pretty central). Islay is a welcoming, friendly place, and The Island Bear is right up there in the hospitality stakes. Bobby is a very accommodating host. Breakfast is at a time to suit the guest instead of at a time to suit the house. There are several options available, including cereals and juice if you don't fancy sausage,bacon,eggs etc, or all of the above if you feel hungry. The food is all locally sourced too. The rooms are spotlessly clean, and very well appointed. I got the impression that Bobby was waiting out of sight until we had left the room so the towels could be changed. One morning, heading out to the bus stop to catch the Royal Mail delivery van (really, a couple of the bus journeys each day are handled by the delivery van) to a distillery, it looked as though we may fall foul of the incredibly complicated bus timetable and miss the bus. Bobby's immediate reaction was to offer to drive us where we needed to go. Brilliant.
The Island Bear didn't do evening meals, but there were several nearby restaurants including The Harbour and The Holy Coo, and round the corner was The Bowmore Hotel, aka "Lucci's". The portions there were massive, and the Saturday night we visited turned into quite a session in their malt lounge.
Islay is a quiet place, a welcome change of pace from city, or even small town, living. People still say "hello" to strangers as they pass in the street, and motorists wave at each other as they pass.
I would recommend Islay to anyone looking for a relaxing break, and would definitely recommend The Island Bear as your base.
By the way, the TV is not complicated to operate, and during our visit there was no card machine for payment. That's probably remedied now though.
Bobby, thanks for a great stay.

  • Stayed October 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank William H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Island Bear Bed and Breakfast

Property: The Island Bear Bed and Breakfast
Address: The Island Bear Shore Street, Bowmore PA43 7LB, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > The Hebrides > Islay > Bowmore
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 13 B&Bs / Inns in Bowmore
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Island Bear bed and breakfast is an ideal place to stay on your visit to Islay. Centrally located on Shore Street in Bowmore it is easy to find and is perfectly positioned for all the necessary holiday conveniences. The Island Bear is open all year. The Island Bear is not big but we feel this enables us to give you more individual attention. We have 3 en-suite bedrooms - two doubles and one twin/double, and a large dining and lounge room which gives you plenty of room to enjoy your breakfast or relax in comfort after a busy day. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
The Island Bear Bed And Breakfast Bowmore, Islay

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