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Reviewed April 6, 2012

Following two nights in a lovely B&B, we spent our last night on Skye here.
The welcome was efficient yet friendly; we were offered tea and cake, but thinking ahead to the meal that evening we accepted only tea. The room we had was delightful - light and airy, with a huge bed, crisp linen and a roomy bathroom. There are modern touches - an iPod dock - but it is simple and elegant, more in keeping with the calmness of the lochside location.
The dinner lived up to expectations... Following a drink in the airy "morning" room in the House Over By, we were escorted to our table in the busy, cosy restaurant. My only criticism of the evening would come here - having been seated it took quite a while for us to be acknowledged again and given menus and offered a drink. However, we are laid back people, and we weren't in a hurry.
There is a full but not overly lengthy wine list, with some interesting choices in among the classics. There is a reasonable choice too of wines by the glass.
We chose the Taste of Skye option: seven courses, complemented by an amuse bouche selection, and a chef's choice. In the main section, I found the rare beef (accompanying the deep fried oysters) outstanding, and I also loved the crab with crisp green apple. My partner raved about the scallop with gingerbread crust and roast rhubarb. The smoked haddock and dulse skink was delicious, but the addition of black pudding an egg yolk, while gorgeous, made it a little too rich for a course that is only one of seven!
We were too full to enjoy the petit fours (boxed and given to us to take away) or even a post prandial whisky. But we loved the breakfast the next morning - home made granola, smoked salmon, fresh fruits, yoghurt and so on, in addition to a cooked option, which on that day was Stornoway black pudding, bacon and eggs cooked to your request.
It isn't cheap, nor is it a trip to a high end hotel. The best of local food and Highland hospitality is what you should expect. We were not disappointed.

Room Tip: We stayed in room 6, which had a lovely view and a fantastic bathroom.
  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank TallulahR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shoreside, Owner at The Three Chimneys House Over-By, responded to this reviewResponded April 26, 2012

Dear TullulahR,

"The best of local food and Highland hospitality is what you should expect. We were not disappointed." This is fantastic! You sum-up everything we aim to be and I am very pleased that you were not disappointed. Thank you so much for writing and for all the excellent details that you included in your review. It is great to know how much these little details were appreciated.

If you are planning another trip to the Highlands and Islands, please keep us on your list of possible places to eat and/or stay. We would love to welcome you back again at any time.

SS.

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Reviewed April 1, 2012

Perfect weather and room, service and food to match. We have eaten once before at Three Chimneys and really enjoyed the meal so decided to try the whole package on this trip and it did not disappoint. The room was very comfortable and stylishly understated with natural quality Scottish materials the tone and experience delivered, but with all modern amenities. The little touches such as Scottish tablet (like a firm fudge) fruit and seasonal fresh daffodils to welcome us in the room combined with the unobtrusive but always available service with afternoon tea/coffee and cake of the day fresh on our return from exploration. The food was as good as ever and particular care and attention to allergies made the weekend a pleasure. The breakfast was a real pleasure with Scottish produce once again at the fore rather than the generic British cooked breakfast. Will be back as soon as we can to sample more quality Scottish produce and welcoming service.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank gairus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shoreside, Owner at The Three Chimneys House Over-By, responded to this reviewResponded April 26, 2012

Dear Gairus,

It is fantastic to learn that you returned to stay with us having eaten in the restaurant on several occasions before. This is excellent news from a business perspective ! Model customers ! Everyone here is very pleased indeed that you enjoyed the experience so much and also, how much you appreciated what we offer and how our style fits the experience of a romantic, 5-Star hideaway in Skye.

Thank you. It is a very special review and we hope you will come and eat and stay with us again in the future.

SS

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Reviewed March 14, 2012

Having had the privilege of staying in some of the finest hotels in the world and also having sampled the culinary delights on offer in some of the world's finest restaurants, I was extremely impressed by both The Three Chimneys Restaurant and The House Over By.
This is an establishment that justifies superlatives on many levels and more than justifies the journey to get there.

Indeed, I would argue that if one was to judge the restaurant objectively and without bias (something that Michelin's cohorts are not famous for and a fact that came as no surprise to the Maitre D'/Front of House chef d'equipe when we discussed this during a pleasant post-prandial chat in the convivial surroundings of the morning room in the House Over By) this restaurant offers a level of culinary expertise and excellence that exceeds that of restaurants that have been graced with a nod..or two/three by said purveyor of Gallic rubber products.

I had flown into London from Tokyo on the 5th March and had then hopped from T5 to Aberdeen where my parents have retired and I quite frankly was not relishing the drive from Aberdeen to Skye when my parents informed me that they had booked a table for three at Skye's finest (sorry, Your Ladyship..!) and a junior suite for that night and that I was to be the designated chauffeur.

Having had a reasonably trying journey due to the closure of a main route and the usual "re-routing" courtesy of sat-nav and all the pitfalls that entails, my parents and I ended up on the iconic, but "compact" ( for four vehicles at least) ferry from Strome in which a short and serene crossing was marred by an unpleasant ferryman who had obviously had enough of " city-types" in "German cars" and did his level best to ensure that said piece of Teutonic machinery was scratched or damaged which led to a robust response on my part. Thankfully, another colleague of his was courteous and ensured that the vehicle we were travelling in reached the other side un-molested. However, on reaching The House Over By surrounded by scenery that even the most cynical curmudgeon would be compelled to declare stunning beyond belief (yes that stunning!), all feelings of stress and negativity evaporated.

We were greeted by Linda who was as calm and pleasant as she was efficient and exacting and shown to our room which had the most delightful views as well as all the mod-cons that one would expect from a top-tier boutique establishment. I was also greeted by a delicious cream cake and a bottle of champagne (it was my birthday) and Linda appeared delighted to transfer said cake (which was delicious) to the delightful and atmospheric morning/reading room where my parents and I unwound over the odd slice or three.

I asked Linda whether there was anyone available to assist me with the relatively onerous luggage secreted in the boot of the car and she summoned over one of the most courteous and affable members of hotel staff I have ever had the pleasure to meet (not in the least bit obsequious, but utterly professional,attentive and a good conversationalist) in the form of a smart Queenslander. He carried all the luggage to the room, but more importantly provided me with some company and conversation whilst my parents relaxed(snoozed!!) in their room before dinner which was much appreciated. We also had a good old chat after dinner again in the sitting area of The House Over By and this really highlighted the " home from home" aspect that boutique hotels of the highest order oft promise, but on occasion fail to provide.

As I have mentioned before Linda was quite excellent and even when I asked her to take the cake out of the fridge for another slice in the tranquility of the morning room (after she had tidied up everything from the first round of cake consumption), she did so with a smile which I
noted. She was also gracious enough to accept a few slices for herself and staff which she could have easily declined. Everytime she saw either myself or my parents she had a lovely smile and a warm and welcoming demeanour,which makes all the difference when all is said and done.

The experience at The Three Chimneys restaurant started with the odd miniscule hiccup, but these proved to be trifling in the scheme of things. My mother was not happy with the initially designated table, but the courteous staff swiftly moved us to a table of her choice. Likewise, I was slightly put out that my father who is not a fan of crustaceans and molluscs could not order from the standard menu, whilst my mother and I opted for the 7 Tastes of Skye version.

In any case, my father had nothing to fear as the oysters were cooked to perfection along with every single other morsel that he tried. The quantities were perfectly judged, the ingredients were locally sourced,breathtakingly fresh-tasting and stunningly well-prepared. Every course was genuinely delicious and there was no frippery or pretention, just extremely high quality produce prepared to the very highest standards. Michael Smith and his team are first-rate!

My parents also had the privilege of travelling extensively around the world and also sampling top-tier hospitality before my mother's bout of ill-health and rated the culinary experience very highly indeed. She spent a week at RB's Manoir with my father a couple of years ago and has eaten everywhere from Barcelona to Bray and she thought that Michael Smith's food was just as expertly prepared. I do recall her mentioning meeting Msr. B on a few occasions during her stay and he told guests and cookery school participants that he no longer cared about getting "three stars" as Michelin no longer played with a straight bat or something to that effect. Michael Smith is also more than deserving of similar "recognition" and I am sure that I am not alone amongst his customers in thinking in this.

I would also like to reserve a special mention for young Oscar who was as courteous and enthusiastic when pouring out sparkling mineral water and providing a demanding customer with a lemon twist as he was knowledgeable when discussing the relative merits of Banyuls versus a classic Sauternes as an accompaniment to the fabled Marmalade Souffle with Drambuie Custard that my father is still talking about I gather. I have come across enough sommeliers over the last decade and a half to ascertain that he will go far and I was impressed by his fluency in French which is an asset for any oenophile let alone a sommelier but is a skill that eludes many an MW at multi-starred establishments on this sceptred Isle.

In conclusion, the whole culinary experience was quite excellent. My parents were extremely satisfied and retired to their room with a view and I "chilled" in the morning room and went on to have an interesting conversation with the Maitre d'. I had been slightly irritated by his refusual to allow my father to dine from the standard menu, but all was forgotten after a stunning dinner and he did allow me to substitute the souffle for the chocolate terrine so I was more than satisfied. He was always courteous and professional as well and was quite happy to listen to my warblings on MS's culinary excellence. I was then joined by The Queenslander ( I am embarrassed to say that I neglected to ask his name) who was an interesting and affable "host" once again and who appeared quite happy to chew the fat with me in between attending to his other duties before I too retired for the evening.

Well there we have it. We had an excellent meal and a thoroughly enjoyable overnight stay and the delicious porridge, double cream and brown sugar the next morning set me up for the drive back to N.E.Scotland as much as the kippers did for my parents. Indeed, my mother had wanted to stay another night on a whim, but sadly Linda informed her that they were unsurprisingly booked out for the next evening. Maybe another time.

In conclusion, it is indeed superlatives galore, but I would like to raise two very minor points which had no effect on the quality of our stay, but I feel compelled to mention as this is a place that strives for excellence and achieves it. The bathroom in my parents' room was spacious and well-appointed right down to the V and B fittings that my parents' have in a couple of the bathrooms in their Aberdeen property. However, there were a few areas of mould/ discoloured grouting around the tiling enclosing the shower tray area. This is a trifle
in the scheme of things, but I noticed this nonetheless and any hotelier in this league would probably want to know about it.

Likewise, in a boutique hotel with first-class, courteous, attentive and very polite staff, I was ever-so-slightly irritated by the lady on reception on the morning of our departure (10th March,2012). I do not expect everyone to display the levels of attentiveness and bonhommie that Linda et al displayed, but I do expect a smile of acknowledgement or a word if a member of staff happens to be looking right at me. It is a very minor issue indeed, but I passed said member of staff on several occasions that morning on the way to my car and whilst looking at me directly on each occasion, she failed to even smile. I also could not help but notice that she was friendly and acknowledged other guests who had come into the reception area around the same time. Perhaps, she did not like the look of me, who knows? It is a shame that Linda was not on duty, as I would have conveyed my positive thoughts on the short stay to her, however given the individual on duty, I did not bother and went straight to my car. My parents settled the bill with her whilst I was waiting in the car and my mother's solitary " the lady on reception was ok, but it is a shame that Linda was not on duty......" says it all .

A miniscule issue again and the only inconsistency encountered in what is a superb establishment that is a testament to culinary excellence and the finest Scottish hospitality.

RoKha

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank RoKha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shoreside, Owner at The Three Chimneys House Over-By, responded to this reviewResponded April 26, 2012

Dear RoKha,

Thank you very much for this extremely detailed review of your experience at The Three Chimneys & The House Over-By. All-in-all, it is a fantastic description in every way and very much appreciated, as you can imagine.

I think you misunderstood the mood of the Receptionist on duty the morning of your departure. Sarah has been with the Company for 12 years and is in charge of training all of her Team. She is my daughter and hugely responsible for her role and extremely well-known to many hundreds of our guests and customers. She has taken your comments very personally and apologises if she appeared unfriendly.

You have made several very useful comments and all of these amount to fantastic feedback for everyone here. It is greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking so much personal time to write to TripAdvisor.

If you are planning a return trip to Scotland in the future, hopefully, you will keep us on your "must go" list and visit us again, possibly at a different time of year, when you can explore more of the beautiful Isle of Skye.

Thank you again for your review.

SS.

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Reviewed March 1, 2012

We've heard from friends and family for years about The Three Chimneys and finally we able to visit Skye on our recent visit to Scotland. Then service, setting and local cusine were all outstanding. We stayed at the House Over By which was top notch. Thanks to all the staff who made our stay so memorable. Especially for the late night discussion on single malts! Well worth the effort to travel all the way from Chicago!

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2  Thank MaryCate1603
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shoreside, Owner at The Three Chimneys House Over-By, responded to this reviewResponded April 26, 2012

Dear MaryCate,

I am very pleased indeed that we lived up to your long-awaited and much-anticipated, expectations. Thank you so much for writing and for your lovely review. I am glad you enjoyed a wee dram after dinner!

Perhaps one day you will be able to make another journey here and enjoy much more of what we have to offer.

Happy travelling!

SS.

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Reviewed February 27, 2012

Three Chimneys, five stars

One and two star reviews for this place? You’ve GOT to be kidding me! As others have pointed out, it’s hard to imagine they’re talking about the same establishment. Even if Three Chimneys was having an off-day, or if it didn’t quite match someone’s personal tastes, I still find it VERY difficult to believe that it would ever objectively warrant the lowest ratings.

If you research thoroughly beforehand so you understand what you’re getting, I honestly can’t see how you’d end up disappointed. For anyone who appreciates warm, professional-yet-unpretentious service, a rustic and wildly atmospheric setting, and fantastic fresh ingredients cooked with care and imagination, it should go on the ‘bucket list’.

As you’ll have probably gathered, we absolutely adored it.

Our room in the House Over By was spacious, comfortable, spotless and equipped/stocked to a high standard. Whilst the room itself had a simple and homely ‘country’ feel, the bathroom was super-modern, with white ceramics, heated chrome towel rail, bathrobes/slippers/luxury toiletries/little candles/etc provided. If you’re very particular about certain things, it’s a cinch to check it out beforehand – eg, pine furniture is a deal-breaker for you? Then view some room pics on TA and hotel website before you book, or even ask the hotel to send you one, don’t go there ‘blind’ then moan in a review that the pine furniture ruined it for you.

Yes, on paper it is very expensive for an inn in the middle of nowhere, there’s no denying that….. however, when combined with the restaurant, it’s the sort of unique overall experience that’s hard to put a price on…. comparing it to a posh hotel because it has similar rates, eg, the Balmoral or The Howard in Edinburgh, is not really the point, they’re completely different animals. Neither is it appropriate to compare it to a B&B elsewhere on Skye… after leaving Three Chimneys, we also spent a night in an utterly wonderful B&B nearer Portree, The Spoons, (actually recommended by Three Chimneys staff) where the room was approx half the price of 3Cs and although smaller, equally pretty in its own way – but it’s 19 miles away from the restaurant. As always, it’s swings and roundabouts. Having made a restaurant booking at 3Cs the focus of our Skye excursion, we personally wanted to be able to saunter back to our room on foot that night, rather than get a taxi. Also, Three Chimneys, whilst it’s a restaurant-with-rooms not a hotel, has more hotel-like facilities, staffing and services. It’s the proximity to the restaurant and the ‘extras’ you’re paying for in the 3Cs tariff, not just the room and breakfast. I’m not saying I prefer one style over the other, just that it’s horses for courses/budgets - depends which arrangement suits each traveller best on a particular occasion. I suppose what I’m trying to articulate is that the accommodation at 3Cs has different facets to either a luxury hotel or a B&B that are, in my opinion, reflected fairly in the price.

The restaurant was all we had hoped for in terms of ambience, even better when it came to food - and our expectations were pretty high to start with. What can I say. Fish and seafood dishes in particular were sublime, easily as good as anything we’ve ever had in UK, France or Spain. Presentation was beautiful. I’m salivating just thinking about how gorgeous it all was, and it’s slightly put me off ordering seafood in my local eateries since our stay, as I know I’d be forever comparing to 3Cs.

The memorable setting beside the water was peaceful, and to our minds majestic and ruggedly beautiful. It’s very odd that a few bad reviews describe the location as a let-down – again, why would you not check in advance that it’s what you’re after, especially when you’re contemplating paying those prices? Numerous helpful traveller snaps on TA and elsewhere show exactly what the surroundings are like, 3Cs can’t very well change where it is! You can even go look it up on the 360-degree Street View of Google Earth - it’s as close to actually standing outside the property as you can get, you can almost peer in through the windows! Really, there’s scant excuse these days for anyone turning up at 3Cs then publicly complaining that the location is not what they expected.

The truly wonderful, friendly staff bent over backwards to be helpful at every opportunity, and swiftly attended to a couple of minor things we wanted changed, with no quibbles and a genuine smile. It never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t politely address and resolve any issues face-to-face with staff on-the-spot, but rather choose to travel home stewing with resentment and do a hatchet-job on TA instead!

We shall whole-heartedly recommend Three Chimneys to anyone who asks us about our Scottish trip, and advise them to ignore the more strident negative reviews. Actually… on second thoughts, perhaps instead we’ll advise them to actively seek out the obvious howlers so they can enjoy a wry chuckle!

From our perspective, all I can say in summary is that Three Chimneys was simply divine.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank MoneypennyLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shoreside, Owner at The Three Chimneys House Over-By, responded to this reviewResponded April 26, 2012

Dear Moneypenny,

Thank you for your fantastic and detailed review. I apologise for taking a long time to respond, but I have been catching-up with my TripAdvisor duties as quickly as possible recently. We get a lot of reviews, both on this page and on the Restaurant page. Double trouble!

It is so lovely that you express your sympathy towards us for some of the other, more critical, reviews that appear on this site. Sometimes they are hard to swallow, but reviews like your own one, help to make up for it! I feel most sorry for our staff when the reviews are personal, or unwarranted. They all work exceptionally hard and all, without exception, take their role here very seriously and professionally.

Thank you very much for writing and please, try and come and visit us agin sometime in the future. You will welcomed warmly.

SS.

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