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“A truly "Wow" experience!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Arkell House B&B

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Arkell House B&B
Certificate of Excellence
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“A truly "Wow" experience!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 July 2014

Made a last minute decision to visit Rathlin Island on Wed 24th July based on the good weather forecast on Tue. My partner had a quick search for accommodation online and there was availability at Arkell B&Bso we booked it. I had no time to read any reviews about it but was glad just to have anywhere. First plus - Hilary rang to let us know there was a problem with one of the ferries and to plan with this in mind. We took pour bikes and got on the 8am ferry as the later ones were booked. We met her husband Alan on the ferry and Hilary came down to meet us all. Second plus - they offered us breakfast which was very welcome. We also got to leave our bags there and change into the cycling gear. I was really impressed by the house itself. The colour scheme, cleanliness and homeliness was so unexpected. As there were guests in the room - it was only 8.30am! - we didn't see the bedroom. As we were eating Hilary and Alan filled us in on life on the island because as I said earlier I hadn't time to prepare in advance. We headed off on the bikes and came back around 4pm. We took Hilary up on her offer to cook dinner for us as the alternative was limited. As we were hungry just then she gave us her homemade salmon pate and homemade bread to keep us going. Based on this we were glad we ordered the dinner and boy we were not disappointed. We had 3 courses including fresh mackerel and homemade panna cotta and a bottle of wine! It was absolutely delicious, of a standard found in the better class restaurants and she made it all so homely and effortlessly! Then up to the bedroom. Wow and wow again! Really well thought out and unusual décor - a mixture of functioning pieces of antique furniture and modern necessities, fantastic views as it was at the top of the house, there were toiletries in the bathroom which is useful to know when travelling light on the ferry, one of the most comfortable beds I've ever slept in. We had all the windows open as we were so lucky with the weather. As there is hardly any traffic on the island it is really quiet. We went to bed early after being up so early to get the ferry and cycling. I had the best nights sleep in years. It was a proper holiday experience - good exercise and rest, good food and hospitality. The bill was very reasonable for everything. Hilary and Alan work extremely hard to make their business work but it's their enthusiasm and ability to make everyone feel welcome and at home is the secret to their success. Since I got home I've read other peoples reviews and they are all true. Good luck to you both.

Room Tip: We had no need to use wifi but I'm sure if we had a need to we would have been accommodated. Hi...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Helen M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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104 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (26)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Bangor, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
20 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 July 2014

From Hilary met us with a big smile at the ferry we had a great time. Made very welcome Gypsy our dog even more welcome. Room was really lovely & beds very comfy. Breakfast & dinner excellent Hilary is a really good cook & with Alan real assets to Rathlin. Booked to come back.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Rita R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Belfast, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 July 2014

We stayed at Arkell B&B for a weekend in April 2014. Hilary collected our bags at the ferry which really set the tone for the hospitality we experienced over the whole weekend. Hilary had already responded promptly to our emails so we knew standards were high. The food, the chat, the company, the accommodation, the lunch Hilary brought to us as we did our long walk on the Saturday timed to perfection so we could enjoy the spectacular views - every detail was attended to and exceeded. Thank you Hilary and Alan for a wonderful and memorable weekend. Alex and Teresa

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Teresa M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 June 2014

We took an impromptu visit to rathlin and phoned Hilary the night before, she was very accommodating and asked loads of questions to make our stay personal and very enjoyable. We had an amazing lunch and after a very peaceful nights sleep we wakened to the smell of home cooked bread and a full irish breakfast. Hilary and Alan are both perfect hosts and we can't wait to return. The island is great also and with so many ferries you can come and go most of the day. The only downside was the one and only pub on the island was not welcoming at all and the staff need to take a leaf out of Hilary and Alan's book when it comes to hospitality and cleanliness.
Thanks for a great stress buster Stephen and Alison Campbell

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Alison C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 May 2014 via mobile

We had an excellent time in this gorgeous guest house.Long may hilary and alan reign.Tasteful furnishings,spotless,great craic ,Best views you could wish for!!Really its all been said many times but after some of the places my husband and i have said this was a gem

Stayed May 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
3 Thank James P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 May 2014

We - Sonia's striders - spent a lovely overnight at Arkell House. Usually this is a B and B but the owners let us have it for the night whilst they were away overnight so we had a lot of space! The whole place was beautifully furnished and spotlessly clean. The owners met us coming up the road and were so welcoming and helpful. We will definitely return and next time we will avail of the offer to make us dinner! We were disappointed with the catering facilities of the Island.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Sonia L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
berkshire
Level Contributor
24 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 March 2014

This review is unusual in that I had neither bed nor breakfast at Arkell House but yet had a great, if brief experience there.

Ten of us turned up on the doorstep one windy Sun morning in March '14 - 4 adults & 6 children.

We had decided to make the short crossing from Ballycastle as part of a shared family weekend.

The 10:30 a.m. sailing over had been a classic - the tiny 'roll-on/roll-off' ferry (2 cars!) had rocked and rolled with the heavy swell on the short crossing (45 mins). We had one mal-de-mer casualty and most of the children were pretty well soaked from standing on the weather side to watch the huge wave break over the side !

Knowing we didn't have long before our ride back home we headed down to the main island pub, only to find it "closed for the winter" ! Luckily for us the host of Arkell House, Hilary was nearby and invited us to come in; we were soon joined by husband Alan - who had been on the same crossing with us.

So our entire sojourn on Rathlin (~40 minutes !) was spent in their kitchen/diner. We had mugs of tea and biscuits, entertaining conversation with our hosts, a fine view of the harbour from the picture window and (and this is the bit that makes me wish there were extra stars to give out), Hilary unbidden took the hoodies/tops off the soaked youngsters and dried them in her tumble-dryer.

We left for the short walk back to the harbour warmed-up, refreshed and wishing we could have spent more time at Arkell House !

I honestly don't think I have encountered such a natural and warm welcome at any place I have ever stayed.

Notes to people intending to travel to Rathlin :

1) Go there if you can at all, I really wish I could have stayed a day or 2 not just 40 mins, since it looks amazing in terms of tranquility, isolation and natural features/ wildlife ( I think there are a lot of seals, pufffins etc).

2) There are 2 boats : the slow (45 mins, roll-on/roll-off mini-car-ferry) and the fast (30 mins - catamaran). On a windy day with heavy swell and big waves, surprisingly I found the fast boat the more comfortable.

3) Check carefully with the ferry company before you travel ! We did have some anxious moments when we arrived first when the guys from the slow boat said he thought the other (fast) boat might not come back at 12:00 - that would have meant missing flights out of Belfast later that day ! In fact there seemed little doubt that the boat would sail - but if the weather does turn very stormy then it is possible to spend longer on the island than you thought - not a bad thing of course (see 1 above).

4) At busy times, it is definitely worth booking in advance by calling the ferry company number - we found the lady at the office most kind and helpful ! It is possible to make a reservation without obligation in case your plans change.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank epee27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Arkell House B&B

Property: Arkell House B&B
Address: Arkell House B&B Rathlin Island 1 Church Bay Rathlin Island, Rathlin Island BT54 6SA, Northern Ireland
Region: United Kingdom > Northern Ireland > County Antrim > Rathlin Island
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 B&Bs / Inns in Rathlin Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Arkell House B&B 2.5*
Number of rooms: 3
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Arkell House B&B Rathlin Island, County Antrim

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