- Address: Ledaig, Oban, Argyll, PA34 1SD, Scotland
- Tel: +44 (0)1631 720 371
- Price Band: $$$-$$$$ including breakfast and afternoon tea.
- Six-hole, Howard Swan-designed golf course
- Putting green
- 17-meter pool
- Spa with steam room, sauna and various treatments
- All-weather tennis
- Croquet lawn
- Clay pidgeon shooting
- Woodland and loch-side walks and wildlife.
- Member of Pride of Britain hotel group
- Dog tolerant but not Dog-Friendly. Wallace, only welcome in my room when I was with him, had to spend too much time locked in a car for my liking.
The Bottom Line
Service is impeccable but, to my taste, a bit formal and frosty. The warmth of the welcome came from the friendliness of the other guests rather than the hotel's own scrupulously correct staff.
Overview of The Big House
Typical of its Scottish "Baronial" style, the house has a massive stone entrance (with rows of thoughtfully provided wellies lined up beside the door). Public rooms, which include a library, drawing room and hall, are heavily oak panelled and furnished in a lived-in, country house style. There is a grand piano that guests are welcome to play, which adds to the feeling that you are a house rather than hotel guest.
Classic country house styleAn oak staircase, opposite a wood fire, leads from the hall to guest rooms named for the various islands off Scotland. Rooms are equipped with large, comfortable beds, several tables, overstuffed chairs or sofas (or both) and heavy draperies. Two hot water bottles were tucked under the covers of my bed to warm it - often a necessity in old Scottish houses.
Flat screen television, direct dial phone, an easy to operate clock radio and a hairdryer is provided, but neither the broadband connection nor the Wi-Fi worked above the hotel's ground floor lounges when I visited.
As something of a hot drink junkie, I was disappointed that the room lacked a coffee and tea making tray, though tea was quickly supplied on request.
Bathrooms are blindingly white, well lit and supplied with fluffy terry robes. Mine had a large tub and new glass shower.
The Stables and spa suites
A full range of treatmentsThe list of E'SPA beauty therapies is comprehensive and includes everything from simple manicures to facials, exfoliation and holistic body treatments. Prices, ranging from about £10 for eyebrow shaping up to £75 for a full body extravaganza of multiple treatments and massage with hot stones, seemed reasonable.
Several spa suites, adjacent to the Stables complex, are large and modern with private terraces and private, outdoor hot tubs, affording a more secluded environment for romantic getaways. There is also a two bedroom cottage with its own sitting room and private garden.
Dining at the Isle of EriskaFull Scottish breakfast and dinner are served in an elegant, oak panelled dining room or adjacent conservatory. The frequently changed dinner menu features comfortably familiar dishes with a few surprises, prepared and presented with considerable style.Afternoon tea with cakes and pastries is served in the drawing room and light lunches are available from the Verandah Bar and Restaurant at The Stables.
I wonder why dinner is not included in the room rate. Although it is fairly priced, guests have little choice since dining off island and returning after dark is not really practical.
The island is the star
Inviting the Badgers for dinnerThe seals and otters were too shy on my visit and I failed to spot the occasional golden eagle or to find the heronry. But I saw deer bounding across the croquet lawns in the evening and badgers provided the after dinner entertainment. In fact, for those of us dining in the hotel's glass conservatory, badgers lurking in the garden provided the dinner show as well.
Every evening, milk and nuts are set out on the steps of the library, which is also the hotel's bar. Soon, the normally shy badgers are at the back door for their feed. Guests who gather in the small bar for an after dinner drink, are treated to this locally famous spectacle prompting loads of banter and chat. It all adds to the sense that you are at a house party - or caught up in an old English movie.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodation for the purpose of reviewing. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.