No.1 headed to the Isle of Skye to check out a former hunting lodge that has been transformed into a luxury boutique hotel.
Boasting some of the most magnificent scenery in the whole of the UK, the Isle of Skye attracts visitors from all over the world. The mind-blowing views and tranquil setting saw it voted one of the top four islands in the world by National Geographic Magazine. Given that so many tourists travel thousands of miles to see this Scottish gem, No.1 decided that a stay-cation was in order.
A little over four hours from the central belt, passing some of Scotland’s most beautiful landmarks including Glencoe, we arrived at the Duisdale House Hotel. Built in 1865 as a hunting lodge, it was transformed into a boutique hotel in 2008. Owned by local couple Anne and Ken, the Duisdale is one of their three hotels. With views across the Sound of Sleat, the hotel has picked up numerous awards over the last eight years.
We checked in and made our way to our home for the night. Our luck was in as not only did our room have views over the 35-acre gardens, we were also greeted by the sight of a hand carved four poster bed complete with a mountain of fluffy pillows and Egyptian cotton linens.
After we settled in, owner Anne, recommended that we take a trip over to Elgol where you can see the magnificent rocky mountain range, the Cuillin, with views across the Atlantic to Rum and Eigg. Elgol is only accessible by a single-track road, but is well worth the journey for the views alone.
After a day’s exploring we headed back to the hotel and decided to unwind with a long hot soak in the bath.
After an hour steeped in aromatic bubbles we headed to the bar for a little light refreshment before dinner. Our barman for the evening, Daniel, filled us in on the huge selection of Scottish gins and whiskies.
After some deliberation I decided to go with his recommendation and opted for a Boe gin with Mediterranean tonic and a slice of orange. The combination was incredibly refreshing and we could easily have spent the evening working our way through the collection.
Before dinner we enjoyed some delicious canapés at the fireside before making our way to the AA Red Rosette candle-lit restaurant.
At a mere £49 per person for a five-course meal (yes, you read that correctly, five courses!) the menu featured lots of locally sourced produce.
We decided to start with the truffle risotto accompanied by a soft poached egg and the duck liver parfait, duck rillettes, poached pear and toasted focaccia. The parfait was outstanding and a quick taste from across the table revealed that the risotto was cooked to perfection. Next up was the leek and potato soup, a firm favourite of ours; we quickly agreed that this version was far superior to any we had tasted previously.
A quick breather and it was onto the mains. I opted for the Black Angus fillet, which was accompanied by the Pommes Anna, wilted kale, confit shallots and Shiraz jus. The steak was mouthwateringly juicy and flavoursome, while the Pommes Anna were absolutely divine and even the kale (normally my least favourite veg) was devoured with delight.
Across the table quick work was made of the Mallaig hake fillet, which came with wild rice, sautéed fennel, cucumber, mange tout, caviar and champagne sauce. The feedback was as positive as my own and we readily agreed that the food was out of this world.
Much to my companion’s disgust, I insisted on a shared dessert. The hot chocolate soufflé with milk ice cream, which was utterly decadent and I quickly began to rue my decision to share. As we sat back and reflected, we deduced that it was easily one of the best meals we have ever had.
The next day, after 12 hours sleep, we worked our way through some porridge accompanied by a dram of whisky on the side, a full Scottish breakfast and an eggs Benedict before we headed off revitalised, refuelled and ready to explore.
We concluded that the Duisdale has all the charm and individualism of a privately owned hotel, but the same world-class facilities you’d expect from a five-star chain.
- Duisdale House Hotel, Sleat, Isle of Skye
Tel: 01471 833202