Whether we like it or not, modern Scandi influence is seeping in. From embracing the Norwegian hygge-style weekends to getting “back to basics” with nature and wild swimming, there is something wholesome in this self-indulgent check-in.
Piggy-backing this trend is also the acceleration of the “glamping pod” – a trend that has hit the Isle of Skye hard. It is certainly evident as you can’t drive along the roads in Skye without seeing sign after sign for pods.
However, there is another option. For, dotted around the Isle of Skye are some truly wonderful hotels that embrace the fundamental premise of comfort, well-being, self-care and a slower pace of life.
And among the leading lights is the Duisdale House Hotel – a four-star hotel that is as warm and cosy as they come.
An award-winning base on the Isle of Skye’s southern Sleat Peninsula, Duisdale House Hotel offers scenic, often misty, views of the mainland to the south and resides in a quiet corner of the island.
Set in a 1860s converted Victorian home and gardens, complete with hot tub and “swim spa”, the hotel is ideal for couples, with or without the dog, looking for a relaxing weekend.
Duisdale is one of three hotels under the Sonas Hotel Collection on Skye – a family-run hotel group that excels in hospitality and hotel dining.
While Skye can be exceptionally busy in summer and its single-track roads chock-a-block with motorhomes and tourist spots queued out, the hotel offers a wintry package for the quieter times on the island.
What shines through at Duisdale is the balance between its cosseting atmosphere created by the staff (big shout out to Frank in the restaurant and Clara at the front desk) and the interiors with elements of luxury found in the evening’s fine dining.
The heart of the hotel is surely the two-AA Rosette restaurant that has a locally-sourced menu that makes the most of Scotland’s great seafood and seasonal produce. Witl1 fish sourced from tl1e main town of Portree and from Mallaig, a hop, skip and ferry ride from the hotel, and vegetables from the north-west area of Dunvegan, you’ll have a journey around the island from just sampling the courses.
Of course, scallops and black pudding were essential additions to the starters, but also includes a courgette and basil veloute with goats cheese ravioli, or confit cluck leg rillette with blackberry. The main courses are made of sn1rdier stuff; however, portions are as boutique as the hotel so tl1ere will always be room for dessert and possibly another glass of wine.
Another honourable mention of the hotel is the ease at which you find yourself relaxing and enjoying your own party’s company. With divine wines and strong cocktails featuring mostly local whisky, you can warm yourself by the fire in either the Chart Room Bar or in the living room with your favourite tipple.
Dominated by four huge settees, the living room welcomes you to bring a book, watch the fire crackle or engage in conversation even with the other guests – something that actually feels quite natural in the setting.
Visit during the first Saturday of the month and you’ll be able to listen to Coinneach Maclean, the local Skye historian, as they recount many tales and mysteries of Scottish history.
There are standard rooms, but opt for tl1e Deluxe for extravagant headboards and views over the garden, or upgrade to the Seaview Deluxe or Master Suite – ticking all tl1e boxes for a special weekend in Skye.
Of course, travelling between November and March, you have to allow for the castles being closed, the art galleries and shops seemed closed on weekends and the weather, which is unpredictable at best in summer, does not improve. But, those who prefer quiet roads and can appreciate the absolutely snmning beauty of Skye witl10ut rays of sunshine should probably avoid Skye in summer anyway. Go in winter and you can take the slow road clockwise, stopping off at coffee shops and viewpoints without the crowds.
If you love good coffee and you brought the dog along, visit the Coffee Bothy that has an atmosphere bursting from its tiny walls (don’t forget your reusable coffee cup) and tasty pastries and cakes. Or, if you just love your barista coffee to go, visit Lean to Coffee, for their cortado flat white or honey chai latte for tl1at caffeine kick.
The Dark Sky Romance package with two nights accommodationfrom £112 pppn. Ts&Cs apply. https:/ /skyehotel. CO.Uk/ duisdale /
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