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“Excellent stay, but it will cost you”
Review of The Islay Hotel

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The Islay Hotel
Ranked #3 of 17 Port Ellen B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 10, 2012

+ Excellent location right on the main street in Port Ellen, perfect if you want to check out Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig
+ Our room was spacious, nicely decorated, with jacuzzi and a GREAT bed, with views to both sunrise and sunset
+ Helpful and friendly staff

+/- The prices are high

- Small details: no refrigerator in the room, etc. made it feel a little bit "unfinished" for the prices asked

  • Stayed: July 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Oslolosen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded July 11, 2012

I am glad you enjoyed your spacious well decorated jacuzzi room. This is one of our platinum rooms and is priced to suit the Super king size and the beautiful finish. With seaviews both sides of the very large room it is very popular.
Should you wish to have less expensive accommodation on your next visit you are we can offer Silver and Gold rooms to suit most budgets. All rooms are well finished but are smaller.

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346 - 352 of 407 reviews

Reviewed July 9, 2012

Having previously visited Islay many times I was excited to find that the Islay Hotel had finally opened. I first visited the hotel restaurant in late October 2011 with friends and I was very impressed with the food, service and value. We ate twice at the hotel in October - lunch and dinner and were very pleased with the quality and price of the menu items. We were unable to have dinner a second night as they were fully booked.
I visited Islay again this July with my wife and children, and we were looking forward to eating at the Islay Hotel, as I had told my wife of the wonderful menu and service from October 2011. We were however to be very disappointed, by poor food, poor value and poor service.

I had booked a table for 6pm earlier in the day, and when we arrived at 6pm we were the only people there. The young man at reception directed us to the left into the restaurant. On finding no staff anywhere in the restaurant we proceeded down to the bar where we found a group of staff (4-5) just standing at the bar chatting. There did not appear to be any other customers, and the staff seemed rather displeased that we had arrived. I asked a staff member to show us to our table, which she did. We were given menus, and told that they had not printed any childrens menus, but we were given the choice of 4 childrens items verbally. The adult menu had a nice but not large selection (it was the Sunday roast menu). My wife and I both ordered crab cakes to start and I had sea trout for main and my wife had roast beef.

The starters and childrens food arrived in reasonable time. The crab cakes looked nice but the salad with them was wilted and mushy and clearly 2 or 3 days past it's best. The crab cakes were even more disappointing as they appeared to be mainly potato cakes with a hint of crab. The childrens sausage and chips were fine, and the toasted sandwich was good, however it was accompanied by more of the almost rotten salad and a rather hot mustard dressing which seemed rather unsuitable for many children.

The mains then arrived in good time. The sea trout looked nice and tasted nice but was very small and basic (3 asparagus spears, 3 potatoes and 1 small trout steak) for the £16 pound price tag. The roast beef dish was also poor. Two small slices of beef, chewy (not crisp) roast potatoes, a small yorkshire pudding (maybe from a supermarket) and some veg (which was nicely cooked). There was very little gravy on the beef, so my wife asked for some more, but by the time it arrived she had almost finished her meal so this added further to the disappointment.

We decided to cut our losses and not stay for dessert!
Overall having been expecting the quality and value I experienced in October we were very disappointed. We ate the following day at the superb Old Kiln Cafe at Ardbeg. I would suggest the chef and management at The Islay Hotel should look very carefully at the quality of the food at the Ardbeg cafe which is nearlly half the price of the Islay Hotel.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank Christopher A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded July 11, 2012

I 'm sorry you were disappointed by your meal. Our all day Sunday Roast menu is very popular. We don't offer a printed 'kids menu' as we would prefer to offer smaller portions of our daily menu which i feel makes them feel 'grown up' and enjoy the evening more than eating the usual sausage, chicken nuggets or fish fingers with chips.

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Reviewed July 9, 2012

Myself and 2 friends had planned to stay at this hotel the night before a funeral. We checked in at 8.30pm and decided to visit our grieving friends. We informed the reception staff that we would be late. When we arrived back we found ourselves locked out and no-one around to let us in. We phoned the hotel and could hear the phone ringing, no-one answered and we were only able to leave messages. After waiting for around an hour we ended leaving and having to sleep on friends sofas. We got in when the breakfast chef arrived at 6.40am. As you can imagine we were very distressed, not only had we no sleep, but had to contend with a very sad day.
The owner did apologise and we got a full refund, but I would never stay here again. I was under the impression that there had to be a member of staff on site at all times.......what happened if there was a fire??? I shudder at the thought......

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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7  Thank eli-k72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded July 11, 2012

From investigating the unfortunate incident we now know a member of staff had gone to the pub you were in with a front door key. Unfortunately after 2am our 'phone is not manned. We also understand you were given accommodation in the B& B opposite the hotel. Your fears about a fire are unfounded as we have a pager system to a rota of local trained fire marshals to take charge in such a situation. The 'phone number of the duty manager and any emergency contacts are displayed in the window. I am sorry this occurred but it is unusual for any of our residents to be out after 2am and if they know they are likely to be late they usually take their keys with them to get back in.

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Reviewed July 6, 2012

We stayed at a local b&b and after viewing what Port Ellen had to offer we chose the restaurant at the Islay Hotel. We were not dissapointed, the food was lovely, I asked for a seaview when booking (and we got one). The service was good, maybe a little more formal training needed, but the young people who served us were very pleasant and conscientous. We enjoyed our meal so much we returned the following night and again enjoyed a very pleasant meal.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Service
Thank monmac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded July 12, 2012

Thank you for leaving your review. Im pleased you enjoyed your meal and service with us at the Islay Hotel.

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Reviewed June 25, 2012

We recently stayed overnight at the 'Islay Hotel'. The staff were very helpful and allowed us to leave our bag at reception even though we weren't due to check in for several hours. The same when we left on the Sunday. We ate in the restaurant on the Sat night and had a lovely meal, looked after by friendly staff.
A bit disappointed on the Sunday when we had lunch on the bar. I ordered a tastier which when it arrived was black on one side, but carefully turned over so you wouldn't notice it! I sent it back and the next one to arrive was rather soggy!! Toasted sandwiches aren't the most difficult things to prepare! My husband had soup which he had eaten by the time the bread, he had to ask for arrived. We also had a drink in the bar, but unfortunately there was no ice as they had ran out! I know the co-op just along the road sells ice! Silly little things I know that took the shine off an otherwise lovely stay.

Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
Thank Alison J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded June 26, 2012

Thank you for leaving your review. I am glad you enjoyed your stay and our friendly staff looked after you. I'm sorry that our ice machine had broken, unfortunately the co-op you suggested doesn't open here until the afternoon on Sundays. Look forward to welcoming you on your next visit to Islay.

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Reviewed June 21, 2012

We stayed 4 nights in the hotel. It was far our most expensive hotel.
Good was the very big and quiet room to the back, also with a nice seaview. Newly renovated everything is well in shape with
very nice bathroom and very large and comfortable beds too.
The bar was very well equipped with the finest scotsh whiskies and with coffee speciallities.

A lot of improvement needs the breakfast and the traininglevel of some staff in the restaurant. For a hotel of this price category we expecteted much more quality in service. The breakfast was without any fresh fruits and we saw the typical scottish breakfast in a much better qualty in far more simple B&Bs.
All in all it was not really worth that amount of money for us.

Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
1  Thank schwabe07321
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded June 22, 2012

Thank you for your review. I'm glad you enjoyed our great bedrooms and bathroom facilities. We are now concentrating on our service training to offer the complete package. Hope to welcome you to the Islay Hotel on your next visit to the Island.

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Reviewed June 19, 2012

I stayed 3 nights here June 8-11 with members of The MacBrayne Circle, who preserve buses which were once owned by David MacBrayne and keep alive the heritage of that company. This was our annual rally & we made several trips to many locations in 3 buses which had all run on Islay in the 50's & 60's. On the whole, I found this a very good base. The room I shared with another member was on the top floor, with good views of Frederick Crescent & the harbour. It was an odd shape, with nooks & crannies & pieces of old fashioned furniture, a feature which I liked, found throughout the hotel. The beds were comfortable, though as it was close at nights, I had to pull down the duvet to reduce perspiration. Bathroom was excellent, good working shower and towels etc. changed every night. There were some hooks & hangers but could possibly have done with a small wardrobe to hang clothes properly. The food was excellent, good selection of cereals, juices etc.& fine cooked breakfast, only drawback I found was some items such as butter were missing from the table at first but the staff provided them - eventually! Dinners had a choice of 3 starters, 4 main courses & 3 desserts with coffee included - I especially enjoyed the Argyll lamb. The only real negative feature which we all found was that the service was very slow, especially on the first day - I remember 1 member, a native of Islay, waiting at least 15 minutes for his porridge! This improved throughout our stay & I think the management & staff did their best, they were certainly friendly, helpful & keen. Admittedly, it was a challenge to cater for a large group such as ours, 29 in all, which included a few from B&B's but I felt possibly one or two more hands on deck would have made a difference, as we had booked at least 2 months in advance. I don't want this to detract from what was mostly an enjoyable experience, especially the entertainment provided on Saturday night by 3 local musicians, whom I joined to keep feet tapping till midnight & again on Sunday when Craig, a young member of staff, delighted us with some fine playing on his accordion!

Room Tip: If you're reasonably fit, go for no.11, a corner attic room, for the excellent view! There is, h...
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  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Alasdair T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded June 28, 2012

Thank you for the review. It was a great weekend. We will be posting some pictures up on-line soon of the buses parked along side the hotel. A real piece of history. Thanks again and we look forward to the next trip.

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Additional Information about The Islay Hotel

Address: 18 Charlotte Street, Port Ellen PA42 7DF, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > The Hebrides > Islay > Port Ellen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 17 B&Bs / Inns in Port Ellen
Price Range: $145 - $351 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Islay Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Recently rebuilt on the site of the old Islay Hotel, offering 13 excellent bedrooms. From standard rooms with walk-in showers to extra large rooms with Jacuzzi bath and separate shower we can accommodate all requirements. Fantastic restaurant with a great selection of Island landed seafood dishes along side our Game supplied by local estates and Argyll Beef and Lamb. Our bar has one of the best collections of Islay whisky on the Island. The hotel is open all year around and are ideally situated next to Port Ellen Harbour and Ferry terminal. We are the nearest hotel to Laphroig, Lagavulin and Argbeg distilleries. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Islay Hotel Port Ellen

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