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Isle of Barra Beach Hotel
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Isle of Barra
Reviewed October 30, 2012

I stayed at the Isle of Barra Hotel as a Tour Manager for many years during which time it was in the possession of two enthusiastic families and, despite it's rather dated appearance and facilities was hard to fault for ambience and the quality of its food and service. Sadly the next owner was just an asset stripper and the hotel's reputation disappeared overnight.
Now again in family ownership the owners have worked hard to restore its reputation and although my report is based solely on calling in for a casual cup of coffee on a wet day the welcome I received augurs well for the full restoration to its former glory.

Room Tip: Rooms with sea view are mind-blowing
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled solo
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3  Thank Frank2285
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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309 - 315 of 508 reviews

Reviewed October 19, 2012

I stayed here in late august of this year as part of a Brightwaters tour. Our welcome was a bit dodgy - the hostess commented that we all looked glum - but we had been on a coach all day and two ferries!

However, the hotel is placed in the most fantastic situation - truly gorgeous. Our room was absolutely fine with a great view of the beach. Staff were helpful. I should just say that there are stairs and so forth. Not suitable for those who require wheelchair access.

Evening meals fine - and the glorious sun streaming in from the West. Breakfast? Well, poor. The sliced sausage - did it come out of a can? Improve the breakfast.

Otherwise, a hotel which is situated in the most amazing and enchanting area. A good hotel.

I would come here again and have recommended it to others.

Be sure to get a beach view, though!

Anne

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank Anne56London
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2012

We stayed for two nights and were made very welcome by the owners and staff.

As other reviewers have pointed out, the en-suite room was quite unusual - the walls are painted concrete blocks and have a motel feel, however it was clean and comfortable. We booked a non-sea view room to get the best of their September offers - it was good value for money for B&B - we didn't have an evening meal there.
Full marks to the management - we reported that the bed in our room was damaged and by the time we returned it had been replaced.

I understand that work is steadily being done to upgrade the hotel by the owners and that it has had a large part of the upgrade already. It was designed in the seventies to resemble an upturned ship, a quirky architect's idea that has sort of worked for this very distinctive hotel in a fantastic position by the beach.

The views of the sea and the beach from the dining room are fantastic.

Anyone with mobility problems might like to check with the hotel what is possible in terms of access to rooms. There is a ramp to the front door but once inside there are wide and well marked steps leading to the bedrooms and other amenity areas.

The breakfast could have been more imaginative with, for example some choices of fruit and choices of jams, maybe some oatcakes or wholemeal bread, but it seems that they are catering for large parties so maybe the logistics of serving large numbers quickly make this too difficult.
Our cooked breakfast was fine but I am sure I am not alone in preferring healthier options.


The Hotel has a wee shop which had a good supply of postcards etc. The island of Barra is not well served with shops so, if in doubt, buy from the Hotel.

I would stay again.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank bazB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2012

I stayed in this hotel Sept.2012 with a Coach Party of 21 for two nights. The location was lovely ,some staff were more pleasant than others, a fine welcome and farewell was given on board our Dodds Coach from a hotel staff member. The hotel was clean although in need of up-dating.
The dining was poor,particularly the first night of our stay,with potatoes you could have strained through a sieve, a magnifying glass was needed to find the veggies and the tail end of a fish wasn't my idea of a good meal. A breakfast request of egg and bacon was served as one egg and one fatty rasher. All meals appeared rushed (with a limited serving)with what seemed to be, the intention of getting us out of the dining room as quickly as possible. The separate order of cheese and biscuits for one, at a cost of £9.50 was mostly inedible.
My request for a glass of Merlot wine was met with "we only do one red wine" which wasn't what I requested.
I felt the whole experience of staying in this hotel as a part of a coach party(these travellers were wonderful people) was that of being lower down the guest scale and treated as not very welcome guests.
I wouldn't stay here again.

Room Tip: A smaller hotel in Barra or B&B may be preferable
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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7  Thank patricia d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2012

I spent a couple of hours in the bar of the isle of barra beach hotel enjoying a coffee and a can of Irn Bru.

The bar was very happy for me to hide out from the rain on barra and use the sockets to power my laptop while in there.

A lovely coffee was made at a fair price. Im sure they do bar meals as well.

Will use this place again next year when i return to the isle of barra, and now i can say ive had a soft drink in the most westerly pub in Scotland.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled solo
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2  Thank nightfireuk2001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2012

We have had a truly fantastic stay at this hotel it is quirky and comfortable. The cinema room is great! And staff, food and service are excellent. The views and the location are incomparable. We loved it and will return.

Room Tip: Fantastic location, beach and sea view rooms are a must.
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank ColinMcCready
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2012

Isle of Barra Beach Hotel.

Stayed at this hotel having arrived on the evening of Sunday 12th and left on the morning of Tuesday 14th. of August 2012, having bed, breakfast and evening meal, as a member of a David Urquhart coach tour.

Besides the fact that both evening meals took an inordinate time to be served, both of three courses, taking an hour and a half to served, with an apology only on the second night (one of the fish fryers was inoperative thus causing a delay). It is interesting and unusual that this hotel offers political propaganda in addition to its advertised facilities and services.

On the Monday the interesting and enjoyable coach tour of Barra included a visit to the grave of the author Compton Mackenzie. In the evening in the hotel, in the small cinema room, after dinner, there was a showing of the film "Whisky Galore" adapted from Compton Mackenzie's famous book of the same name.

A verbal introduction to this film was given by "Guy" the owner/manager of the hotel. After a very few facts concerning Compton Mackenzie as an author, he announced, with emphasis, that Mackenzie was a Fascist. His residence on the Isle of Barra was simply that on the outbreak of the Second World War he voluntarily removed himself to Barra, (in the form of an internal exile presumably) as part of an arrangement with officialdom so that he would not be arrested as a Fascist.

Interestingly "Guy" went on to "explain" that the Fascist Mackenzie was a founder of the Scottish National Party and thus this showed the nature (implying strongly it being of a Fascist aspect) of the Scottish National Party. At this point I interjected that he had little real knowledge of the Scottish National Party and that its policies and ethos showed it to be a left of centre party within the political spectrum. In reply to this I was informed by "Guy" that I was a national socialist (ie. a Nazi). He then abruptly began the film and left the cinema room.

The following morning "Guy" was not on duty so I had little opportunity, before leaving, to have a meaningful discussion with him regarding the public political remarks he had made the previous evening.

It would seem in the hotel industry that two subjects should not be liable to dictatoral comment from the management ; religion and politics. All individuals have a right to their own beliefs in these areas and should not be subjected to comment or abuse within the hotel trade.

Kenneth A. Shirra.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with friends
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9  Thank Kenneth_Shirra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oldgreymatter, Owner at Isle of Barra Beach Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded August 24, 2012

Dear Kenneth
Thank you for your overtly political review of the hotel. Ordinarily we would not answer such a controversial review and leave it up to the reader to make whatever they wish from the content however the allegations you make are serious and need a level-headed response.
Firstly we apologise for what you describe as the inordinate time taken to serve a group of 43 people a 3 course meal (129 dishes) of one and a half hours. As you correctly point out one of our two fryers was out of action and for those that do not know and love the remoteness of Barra, it is just impossible to replace fryers overnight so, please accept our apologies for this delay.
Now to the Whisky Galore facts and your very serious declaration of political propaganda.
a) The film was requested by the coach driver with the support of your fellow travellers.
b) I was asked to do an introduction and give some background on the writer Sir Compton MacKenzie; no-one was compelled to either attend or listen to the film or me.
c) Your apparent interpretation of what I said is Kenneth I am afraid both wrong and way off the mark. However this is neither the appropriate or right forum to discuss Compton MacKenzie so here I will only say that he was a very complex, brave and able man with, like most people many sides to both his life and character.
d) I certainly did not call either you, who I do not know or the Scottish National Party fascist, this is once again your own construction which leaves me quite astounded.
e) As you rightly put it, I abruptly started the film as your sudden, loud outburst in the cinema startled both me and other guests present so, to avoid any further potential problems, I instantly moved things forward.
As to your comment on no opportunity for having a meaning full discussion with me, I was available in the hotel well into the night but you did not raise any issues whatsoever with me. All that said, I remain available at the end of the telephone line and you are welcome to call at anytime but please don’t expect me to just accept your view of history or the politics therein. As you rightly say Kenneth, all individuals, including hoteliers have a right to their own beliefs but is it either fair or right that they are subjected to abuse by anyone publishing on the internet and elsewhere as you have done, incorrect and to say the least negative interpretations of their words and views?

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Additional Information about Isle of Barra Beach Hotel

Address: Tangasdale Beach, HS9 5XW, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > The Hebrides > Outer Hebrides > Isle of Barra
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Isle of Barra
Price Range: $122 - $176 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 38
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
On the beach with wonderful views of the Atlantic ocean. Restaurant with locally sourced ingredients, fish and meat. The hotel has an extensive wine and malt whisky lists. Guests enjoy a free cinema with over 2000 different films, bicycles, canoes and other extras. Car and electric bicycle hire is also available to guests ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Isle Of Barra Beach Hotel Scotland

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