Home   News   Article

Height of charm at cosy getaway

By John Davidson

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!

OVERLOOKING the charming Tobermory Bay, the Western Isles Hotel stands proud above the familiar colourful frontage of the Main Street.

It's a hotel with a long history, being built in 1882, and it's a long steep climb up the hill to reach it from the harbour.

Thankfully, unlike my only previous trip to this delightful island, I wasn't travelling by bicycle this time, so I could let the car take the strain.

Once inside the door you seem to enter the Victorian era, with a high ceiling rising up above you and a beautiful open fire ready for winter, with trophy stags' heads adorning the walls - well, it really was a different era then.

It was around midnight when my wife and I arrived at the hotel after what seemed like a long journey straight after work on a Friday.

We were welcomed by a nice young woman on the reception desk as soon as we walked through the door, and served with a cup of tea and shortbread, as well as a well-earned whisky from the local distillery.

We stayed in the best of the 26 rooms the hotel has to offer, but I made sure I also took a peek at some of the other rooms, which, while smaller, are perfectly fine rooms in themselves, full of character.

Continuing the whisky theme, our room was called "Glenlivet" and I swear it was bigger than my one-bedroom flat in Inverness!

It had a luxurious double bed - which unfortunately had a rather annoying gap down the middle of the mattress where it was joined, not ideal for the honeymoon suite - then an open-plan raised seating area with TV overlooking the sea.

My wife Meg was particularly taken by the faded charm of the wallpaper and decor throughout the impressive hotel.

Through a door into what I had assumed was just the en-suite bathroom, we found a whole other world.

Not only was this a bathroom (with two sinks, no less, side-by-side), it was also a dressing room with wardrobe, drawers and a chest, and more than enough room to swing a cat or two.

The other rooms don't quite match this in scale, but all are en-suite and most have both a bath and a shower. Ours had a separate bath and shower, with very hot water and great power.

It was just what we needed after our attempt to scale the island's only Munro, Ben More, which was thwarted by howling winds whipping over the narrow ridge up to the summit. We had a nice walk up to the ridge, nevertheless.

A good feed also helped revive us, and diners at the hotel are given the choice of the dining room or the conservatory bar, which have separate menus.

We opted for the conservatory for the fantastic views out to Calve Island and the Sound of Mull, though we could have been tempted by either menu.

I enjoyed the perfectly tender rack of lamb with smooth mashed potatoes and gravy, a filling and delicious meal that went well with the "local" Tobermory ale, now brewed in Oban.

The food was excellent and the only (minor) gripe I could point to was that my fried egg at breakfast wasn't cooked exactly to my liking, even after requesting it.

But there was a great choice of food in the morning, too, from fresh fruit to full Scottish, and even local smoked salmon, and the very personal service was excellent throughout our stay.

We spent our second day sauntering around the village, looking in all the shops - including the delicious Tobermory Chocolate factory - and taking a walk along the coast to Aros Park.

With a bit more time to get home at the end of a superb weekend, we took the scenic route back using the Fishnish to Lochaline ferry and crossing the Corran narrows at Ardgour to return through Fort William.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More