Looking for a post-lockdown getaway? Let Andrea Pearsonbe your guide with this selection of hotels on some ofScotlands most remote and beautiful islands...
Contrast the romance of the Orkneys Islands ancient past with the taste of contemporary Scottish cuisine at The Foveran, the islands beloved restaurant with rooms overlooking the sparkling waters of Scapa Flow.
The family-run hotel is a foodie paradise having twice won the Orkney Food Festival Best Evening Meal Award. Chef and proprietor Paul Doull sources local livestock, fish, and a surprising array of fruit and vegetables grown in the long hours of summer daylight to create seasonal menus. Kirkwall Bay scallops, lobsters and langoustines are among the star attractions, along with grass-fed beef, Grimbister Farm cheese and North Ronaldsay mutton which gets its distinctive texture and flavour from feeding on seaweed along the rugged island shoreline.
Finish the day with a dram of famous Highland Park whisky from Kirkwall. The kitchen also keeps the tradition of baking bere bunno or bannock, using stone-ground beremeal flour from the Barony Mill.
All eight of the rooms have recently been renovated to create the perfect stop between visits to some of the islands Neolithic sites.
2. Jurassic lark
Perhaps Scotlands most romantic island, Skye offers rocky skylines, sandy beaches, castles, ancient monuments, and other-worldly geology if you are very lucky you might spot an actual dinosaur footprint. The four-star Marmalade hotel in Portree is a beautiful blend of historic manor house and contemporary architecture. Any time here is best spent sitting back to allow the dramatic landscapes envelop you like a huge tartan blanket.
The rooms and suites are contemporary and exquisitely stylish, but it is the views from the generously-sized windows that really make you realise that you are not in Kansas any more. Drink in the wonderful landscapes while enjoying complete comfort in your room with Nespresso coffee machines, Bose music systems, and beds draped in luxurious linens.
And new for this year is a stylish and Covid-safe outdoor seating area where the evening can be enjoyed around a roaring fire in the firepit.
By day, explore the lush gardens to enjoy the views over the harbour village and the Cuillins. Every stay in the hotel is completed by fine dining in the hotels excellent Chargrill restaurant.
Scarista House on Harris is quite simply one of the most beautiful and remote places to stay in Scotland, with amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean, heather-covered mountains, and a three-mile long sandy beach.
This comfortable, elegant hotel and restaurant is set within a 200-year-old manse with 3ft-thick walls, atmospherically creaky floorboards, and real fires.
Cooking is a serious business, and the menu is meticulously created using as much organic, wild and homegrown produce as is possible, while all bread, cakes, biscuits and ice cream are homemade.
Scarista House is the only Outer Hebrides restaurant to be featured in Alastair Sawdays Eat Slow Britain, and it is listed in the Michelin Guide. It is also the kind of place to bring the dog (by arrangement) for a good run on the beach and resident pooches Brodie and Maud are very welcoming.
Ever dreamed about having your own island? A stay at the Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa and Island can make this a reality.
And you dont even need to negotiate yourself on and off the CalMac ferry this island is joined to the mainland, just north of Oban, via a small, private bridge. Relax in your private island hideaway as Highland cattle graze, badgers visit, and otters and grey seals swim in and out of the sparkling seaweed along the shorelines.
Or live the sporting life by joining in traditional activities such clay pigeon shooting, archery or Viking-inspired axe throwing. With a nine-hole golf course and the chance of croquet on the lawn, it is very much a lairds weekend.
5. For peats sake
For a truly indulgent break away filled with luxuries and seven miles of bleached white sands, it might be hard to beat the wonder that is the Machrie Hotel & Golf Links. Islay is, of course, peated whisky heaven and a birdwatchers paradise, but The Machrie now adds a championship links golf course into the mix.
Originally an 18th-century farmhouse, The Machrie reopened in 2018 with 47 new rooms, suites and lodges enjoying stunning views across the links or to the sea. Find apres-golf (or even anti-golf) treats at the hotels gym and spa or book a trip with Islay Sea Adventure to see seals, white-tailed sea eagles, and occasionally a basking shark.
On fine evenings, dine on the outdoor terrace overlooking the sea and top the day off with some of Scotland very finest whiskies. Slainte.
6. Coll of the wild
The little island of Coll, all 13 miles by three miles of it, offers the epitome of social distancing. And if the call of Coll gets you in summer 2021, The Coll Hotel as the only hotel and pub on the island is where you will probably find yourself.
The hotel is known for delicious, freshly-caught seafood expect lobster, crab and langoustine as well as delicious Hebridean grass-fed lamb. As is the case with many a small island kitchen, homemade just about everything is the order of the day.
A stunning array of chutneys, marmalade, jams, pickles, breads, ice cream, and pastas are all made at the hotel. By day, explore the could-be-the-Caribbean beaches or take the binoculars to spot birds in the remote but spectacular RSPB reserve.
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