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Castlebay Hotel

Traveller (258)
View from the front of the hotel
Room & Suite (72)
Our view from the Dining Room
Dining (19)
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About

4.0
#3 of 3 hotels in Isle of Barra
4.8 of 5 bubbles
Location
4.2 of 5 bubbles
Cleanliness
4.2 of 5 bubbles
Service
3.8 of 5 bubbles
Value
Tripadvisor gives a Travellers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travellers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
Overlooking the bay and Kisimul Castle, the hotel has 15 rooms, most with sea views, and the busiest restaurant on Barra. The hotel is the oldest on the island and the only one open all year round. We have a room specially designed for the less able-bodied. The hotel featured in the BBC TV series "An Island Parish".We are the only full service Hotel open year round on the Isle of Barra
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Property amenities
Free parking
Street parking
Free High Speed Internet (WiFi)
Wifi
Bar / lounge
Restaurant
Breakfast buffet
Non-smoking hotel
Room features
Room service
Flatscreen TV
Room types
Ocean view
Non-smoking rooms
Family rooms
Good to know
HOTEL STYLE
Centrally Located
Great View
Languages Spoken
English
568Reviews16Q+A100Room tips

Reviews
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Detailed Reviews
Bernard B wrote a review Sept 2020
4 contributions1 helpful vote
4.0 of 5 bubbles
We stayed for one night at the end of a longer trip and could the hotel welcoming, comfortable and clean. The evening meal was good although the service a little slow. In the morning we were concerned that we would not have time for breakfast as we were booked on the 8am ferry same the ticket advised that check-in would close at 7:15am, however, the staff said loading would not begin until 7:30 and we would have enough time. Full breakfast was ordered, cooked fresh, delivered and eaten in time as promised. Very good, too.
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Date of stay: September 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
MungoEd wrote a review Jun 2022
36 contributions13 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Loganair cancelled our flight but arranged everything necessary as a result, including an overnight stay at the Castlebay. The hotel is in need of a bit of tlc but we understand that the new owners have only been in control for few weeks and understandably, they are trying to get on top of everything. We did have an issue with water pressure but a gentle enquiry had the owner and her partner at our room within minutes to inspect the issue. As it was mid-late evening, it obviously was not going to be possible to get a plumber to attend but they were both fully engaged with the problem and offered alternatives which we declined in favour of using the electric shower. In other circumstances, we might have been a little more picky but the reaction of the owner was excellent and we had the clear impression that this and whatever other issues might arise were definitely going to be attended to.
Otherwise, fabulous location and hugely attentive staff in the restaurant although I'm sure portion sizes could be reduced slightly without any adverse comment whatsoever. (A good problem to have.)
Also, one of our flight cancellation party did not have a smart phone and there was no means of programming the roomphone for a wake up call. As a result, the rest of us missed her at the early morning taxi pickup. If there is no overnight staff, perhaps a wake-up calling system might be useful?
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Date of stay: June 2022
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Roguejumbo wrote a review Oct 2021
Hay-on-Wye, United Kingdom83 contributions25 helpful votes
3.0 of 5 bubbles
We stayed for our first 2 nights after arriving from Oban on a self booked driving tour of the Outer Hebrides, . The hotel is situated in probably the best position overlooking the harbour. It is a little dated inside and some may find access difficult especially if carrying heavy luggage. Our room was OK but, like the other facilities, looking and feeling a bit dated. The food at dinner was very good - especially the giant-sized local scallops, and the breakfast was also plentiful and tasty. The cost of the room and the dinner food and wine was on the high side, particularly when compared to other hotels we stayed at later in our trip. The staff were very attentive and helpful at what must be a difficult time for them.
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Date of stay: October 2021
3.0 of 5 bubblesValue
3.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
Room Tip: Ask for a room overlooking the harbour.
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
FionaT wrote a review Aug 2021
13 contributions19 helpful votes
1.0 of 5 bubbles
​We stayed at ​the CastleBay Hotel​ for 2 nights at a rate of £​140​ per night.

We didn't have high expectations for the hotel but the hotel really was below what we believe is an acceptable standard. The rooms were more like a hostel than a hotel. The rooms were very basic and didn't look like it had been maintained or decorated since the 1980s.

The room and bathroom were not clean. It was very dusty and the sheets did not smell fresh. The fixtures and fittings were very clinical and tired​ and the carpet had not been hoovered. ​There were no complimentary tea and coffee facilities and the bathroom toilet did not flush properly. The water pressure in the taps and shower was also poor. The hotel rooms are also not cleaned everyday and we were not offered fresh towels.

The ​customer service was not friendly. ​There was no front of house presence and there was no friendly welcome. The restaurant and bar staff were glum and not very obliging.​ ​We asked for some coffee cups as we purchased our own tea and coffee from the local Coop. The staff asked us to 'come back later as they were a bit busy'. We pressed this issue and the staff reluctantly provided us with some coffee cups. We also requested a jug of tap water. The staff suggested that we use the water from the toilet tap in our room! The hotel bar is dingy and the atmosphere is not relaxed. There are many inconsistencies with their Covid-19 policies. We noticed that the bar staff ask some people to wear masks (despite not wearing a mask themselves) but turn a blind eye to others​. It is also clear that they follow certain 'rules' to tick a box as the hotel is filthy.​

It's a shame for tourists as they aren't getting a true representation of Scottish quality in a beautiful part of the world.​ ​I believe the hotel owners have become lazy and feel they don't need to improve their hotel as there is limited competition.

I'd recommend finding a B&B nearby as at least you will get what you pay for.
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Date of stay: August 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
1.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
1.0 of 5 bubblesService
Room Tip: This hotel is not accessible to people with disabilities.
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Katey wrote a review Jul 2021
4 contributions1 helpful vote
2.0 of 5 bubbles
The property needs updated badly. The reception area is dusty and untidy, the general feeling of the hotel is unkempt and old, the room we had was adequate. The restaurant - beautiful view but really that’s all it had going for it. The food was terribly basic and along the lines of mass produced wholesale quality. The chicken on my Caesar salad for example was cubed and processed. I asked for the local Barra Gin at dinner and was told they had none. The general feeling was just of scrimping to save money on a dilapidated hotel. They didn’t offer an early breakfast for the early ferry travellers and there was no coffee/tea making facilities in the room. They cited it was ‘due to COVID restrictions’ however every other accommodation we had encountered offered this. The staff just seemed disinterested and unwelcoming. The room cost £175 - absolutely overpriced. I would not stay here again.
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Date of stay: July 2021Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
JackieF62 wrote a review Jul 2021
Tring, United Kingdom9 contributions1 helpful vote
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Again, few hotels on Barra which reflects the high cost of a very average sea view room.
On arrival discovered no tea and coffee making facilities in the room due to the fact rooms not being serviced (COVID). When I asked how to obtain a cup of tea I was informed I could purchase from the bar. I did argue the point that this was very unfair A) as refreshments in the room are normally complementary and B) that out of office hours how could I get a cup early morning or late evening. At 10pm the same evening I was brought a tray with a kettle etc.
We had a trip to St Kilda and had booked our evening meal for 20.30 that day. On arrival to be seated in the restaurant I was received with a look of annoyance at the time of our arrival on the face of the lady in charge who had not noticed it was written in the book, she did apologise.
There is little or no cell phone signal on Barra and though we tried to use the public phone boxes we were unsuccsessful in contacting the car hire company to inform them of our ferry departure time. My husband was politely explaining the situation and asked if the hotel would make the phone call on our behalf - this request was met with an uninterested, irritated expression and a somewhat reluctant agreement to try to contact the car hire company for us.
There was no passion, needs tlc and better leadership.
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Date of stay: June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Ralston M wrote a review Sept 2021
Glasgow, United Kingdom134 contributions69 helpful votes
2.0 of 5 bubbles
The steps up to the hotel almost tell it all: weeds, litter and an overflowing waste bin!
The "superior" room we had booked into was simply unacceptable with wallpaper peeling and ill fitting and rather dirty bed linen. Around the window area was very dirty. Thankfully the very polite receptionist showed us to the much vaunted best room which was certainly better but there were still faults that simply should not be evident for the £190 per night we had paid for the "superior" room,. The bed valance was ill fitting and dirty, there was a broken dressing table stool and all furniture was tired and needing replaced. The spa bath did not work properly and there was no decent hot water until 5.00pm. But what a marvellous view! That certainly helped. Breakfast was good. Dinner prices were maybe a little overpriced and at these costs better than rather scruffy tables and paper napkins should be offered.
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Date of stay: September 2021
1.0 of 5 bubblesValue
2.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
3.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Charlie B wrote a review Aug 2020
Peterborough, United Kingdom49 contributions68 helpful votes
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Had soup for starter which was accompanied by 4 slices of stale Happy Shopper type brown bread and two wraps of butter. It was grim on all accounts.

Main course was fish and chips with salad- chips were greasy as hell and the salad of lettuce etc looked like it died 2 months ago. Fish was actually ok.

Generally I’d recommend this restaurant if you are starving hungry and nowhere else is open- but with hindsight I’d prefer to go hungry because despite the poor quality food and rubbish service it’s not even cheap....in fact it’s expensive
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Date of stay: August 2020Trip type: Travelled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Terry Mackay, Owner at Castlebay Hotel
Responded 8 Sept 2020
Dear CharieB625, Thanks for the review. I so wish you had expressed these thoughts to my team when you were served. (or afterwards). At the time, someting can be done - like replacing the salad with vegetables and replacing the chips with mash. I'm glad you thought the fish was "catually ok". The soup is made in our kitchen - not bought in as in some restaurants. Again, if you had complained at the time, we could have provided an alternative starter. We also bake our own bread to go with the soup, so I don't undertsand your comment.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
npgsheffield wrote a review Apr 2023
Sheffield, United Kingdom120 contributions79 helpful votes
2.0 of 5 bubbles
This hotel has great potential but was very disappointing. We were given a room with a rear view of a shed despite the sea view rooms being empty. If they want good PR and reports then offer a room with a view when such rooms are free, as they were for for the whole four days we stayed. The room was not serviced, due to staff problems, but two staff always seemed to be sitting around. The service,whilst friendly, was disappointing and getting coffee etc replaced had to be requested. There are no staff on site after 11pm. One day there was no hot water and the heating was in need of upgrading. The breakfast was good and plentiful and the room was clean and comfortable with an ok bed. The cost was very high for what was offered and reading other reviews it appears that complacency exists because of limited alternatives/ competition meaning that minimal effort is made. The whole building and facilities are worn and out dated; the staff need training for the modern era; the wifi needs improving (only available in the front lounge not in back rooms). But the location is fantastic - despite steep steps for access - and the whole building has massive potential for redevelopment as a good quality modern hotel, restaurant and bar fit for the 21st century. All very frustrating, but hopefully the new owners will provide investment and a more positive strategic direction
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Date of stay: April 2023Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thomas W wrote a review Aug 2021
Houston, Texas6 contributions6 helpful votes
1.0 of 5 bubbles
We were meant to stay two nights in the Castlebay Hotel's MacNeil room, presented on the website and over the phone as the smartest room in the smartest hotel on Barra. This was meant to be a treat as the highlight of our honeymoon. Unfortunately it was extremely disappointing. The hotel is nice enough and in a great location. The room was shabby, the bed was not made properly and the bedclothes and frame were stained and with un-ironed sheets etc. The furniture was tired and damaged. The bathroom was small, dingy and the bath very scratched, even though the "jacuzzi bath" was one of the listed selling points. The staff did eventually come and fix the bathroom fan, which would not turn off, but it took several attempts. The staff were generally friendly and helpful but a little bit disengaged. Overall it was disappointing - it could be a really special hotel, but needs to have money spent on the rooms and more ownership taken by the staff over the guests' stay.
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Date of stay: August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Adventurer536884 asked a question Sept 2023
18 contributions21 helpful votes
Are you dog friendly yet
Answer from ChrisB8
Lancashire134 contributions81 helpful votes
I cannot answer, we didn't stay. direct question to the hotel surely?
archie m asked a question Jun 2023
Lochgilphead, United Kingdom
Is it pet friendly
Answer from ChrisB8
Lancashire134 contributions81 helpful votes
really don't know as we couldn't eat there. we didn't stay there but at another property.
mojo500 asked a question Sept 2022
Dumfries, United Kingdom728 contributions121 helpful votes
Does the hotel have wi fi in rooms?.
Answer from CLMoo7
Chesham, United Kingdom50 contributions17 helpful votes
Yes
Liz M asked a question Aug 2018
Cardrona, United Kingdom7 contributions16 helpful votes
Do you have availability for a double room one night 25th September?
Answer from garym186534
Glasgow, United Kingdom149 contributions95 helpful votes
Email the hotel direct. 😄
Matthew B wrote a tip 16 Apr
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom30 contributions15 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Try the Indian restaurant!!"
Read full review
Seth_Ewin wrote a tip 3 Apr
Edinburgh, United Kingdom2 contributions1 helpful vote
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Don’t trust the weather forecast, just go with it."
Read full review
franktm282 wrote a tip Jan 2024
Stornoway, United Kingdom52 contributions26 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"A large number of steps from the main road."
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AuldBlether wrote a tip Jan 2024
Edinburgh, United Kingdom99 contributions35 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"If you’re not keen climbing all the steps to the front door, you can park up the slope to the side And walk along the front of the building"
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Eugene D wrote a tip Jan 2024
Washington DC, District of Columbia2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"If not using private car consider train from Glasgow to Oban to catch ferry. Trip through mountains is gorgeous on little train that would. "
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Not the right property for you?
There are more places to choose from in the Isle of Barra area.
LOCATION
United KingdomScotlandThe HebridesOuter HebridesIsle of Barra
NUMBER OF ROOMS
15
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CASTLEBAY HOTEL - Updated 2024 Reviews & Photos (Isle of Barra)

Frequently Asked Questions about Castlebay Hotel
Which popular attractions are close to Castlebay Hotel?
Nearby attractions include Kisimul Castle (0.2 miles), Isle of Barra (0.4 miles), and Buth Bharraigh (0.03 miles).
What are some of the property amenities at Castlebay Hotel?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free wifi, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge.
What food & drink options are available at Castlebay Hotel?
Guests can enjoy an on-site restaurant and a lounge during their stay.
Is parking available at Castlebay Hotel?
Yes, free parking and street parking are available to guests.
What are some restaurants close to Castlebay Hotel?
Conveniently located restaurants include Cafe Kisimul, Vatersay Community Hall Café, and Restaurant at the Heathbank Hotel.
Does Castlebay Hotel have any great views?
Yes, guests often enjoy the harbour view available here.
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