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“alistair and jayne aberdeen”

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Fair Isle Lodge & Bird Observatory
Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“alistair and jayne aberdeen”
Reviewed 27 June 2013

lovely stay 4 nights that extended to 7 due to fog at airstrip
susanah and her husband were excellent hosts
good clean ensuite accommodation
centrally located good bar with local beers
a breakfast to die for good homemade bread
my wife who is a fussy eater was well catered for
get yourselfs over to enjoy a gem island even if you are not a bird twitcher
gust talks and local musicians

Room Tip: all have good views
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank alistair w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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38 reviews from our community

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English first
Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 June 2013 via mobile

We were booked into another B&B on Fair Isle for 2 nights, but due to a problem there the Bird Observatory agreed to accommodate us at very short notice. This then extended to 4 nights due to fog preventing flights in or out of Fair Isle. All this was achieved with no fuss and excellent communication. What's more, we were delighted to be "stranded" there for an extra 2 nights. There is a communal feel but plenty of space to do your own thing. Staff are friendly, enthusiastic and happy to involve you in activities at the observatory and on the island as a whole, but (non-birders note!) there is no pressure to do anything other than enjoy the wonderful surroundings. And the food is tasty, home-cooked and plentiful. Thanks to Dave & Susanna, and ALL the others for their hospitality. We'll be back.

  • Stayed June 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Ian C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bristol
Level 5 Contributor
79 reviews
74 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 May 2013

The bird observatory is a great place to stay - warm and with plenty of food! The warden and other guests are inevitably a bit focussed on birds, which is understandable enough, but to the exclusion of everything else?

The drying room wasn't very effective, but rooms are warm enough to dry clothes if necessary.

Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank Matthew44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ware, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
63 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 November 2012

We stayed on Fair Isle for two nights and absolutely loved it. The island is so beautiful and the bird life stunning. Sitting right next to a group of puffins is something we'll never forget.
The Bird Observatory Lodge is a nice place, friendly staff, clean and simple. We aren't serious bird watchers with all sorts of equipment but we like to go out, take in and admire the nature (including birds) and are always keen to learn more where we can. What we hoped for at the lodge was to be able to join guided walks that tell you a bit more about the birds around, their behaviour etc. This, however, was not offered. I would say it is more a place for the keen bird watcher to find like-minded people and exchange experiences. If you are not that it is still a good place to stay though!

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank AnPaKe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wormit, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
130 reviews
59 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 August 2012

First of all, let me tell you that we are neither keen walkers nor keen bird watchers, but we thoroughly enjoyed exploring the Island and seeing the birds. It is possible to walk all round the Island in a coiple of hours. I did not realise the Fair Isle is a world famous site for birds. The Island is owned by the National Trust for Scotland, and when you visit, you can see why: it's a real gem. The tourist brochures, leaflets and websites do not do it justice.

The Bird Observatory and Lodge is not a luxury hotel, but it is a five star experience. The staff pick you up from the airport or ferry and transport you to the Lodge, which is ideally situated with fabulous views over the harbour and cliffs. Lounge, dining room and bedrooms all have fantastic views. The rooms are spotlessly clean and furnished with modern furniture. All have ensuite facilities with a good shower and complimentary shower gel/shampoo soap and body lotion. There are also bathrooms available if you prefer a bath. These have hairdriers fitted.
Mealtimes are informal. You line up and are served your food canteen style, and everyone (including the staff) sits at one long table. There is no choice of dishes, but they will cater for special diets (diabetic, gluten free, etc). The seating arrangements allow you to chat with other guests, discuss your day, and pick up tips for walks, etc. the food is good home cooking. As well as breakfast, lunch and dinner, home made cakes are served mid morning and suppertime. And all this for £60 per day! Tea and coffee are available on a self service basis, with an "honesty box". A similar system is used for snacks ( chocolate biscuits, crisps, etc). There is a well stocked bar, which is very reasonably priced.
The resident Rangers will invite you to join them on various bird- related activities. We saw him ringing a bird that had been caught in one of the traps, and were invited to watch them catch and ring storm petrels.
There is no need for a fitness centre, the walks can be tailored to your personal fitness level!
I can't praise the staff highly enough. This is the best weekend away I have had for ages , and I have been to Madrid, Amsterdam, Paris, Milan and Barcelona!

If you can make it, come to Shetland and visit Fair Isle.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank JacquiandJohn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sheffield
Level 5 Contributor
35 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 July 2012

I`ll be honest, I really can`t be doing with a bathroom down the hallway any more, so when we went to Fair Isle the FIBO (Fair Isle Bird Observatory) was the only choice for us. But as it happened for, what it is (it`s a hostel not a hotel), we were well satisfied. My ratings are for a hostel and as such it gets 5 stars.
FIBO has only just been built, so everything is lovely and new.
The room was reasonably large and comfortable, and it was en suite !
The meals are eaten altogether in one sitting, so there won`t be any romantic candle lit dinners here and there isn`t really a choice of dish either, but bearing in mind it`s mass catering and everything has to come by ferry, the food was actually pretty good. My wife doesn`t eat meat but she was also happy, which obviously makes me the husband happy too !
We found everyone to be pretty friendly, everyone gets on no problem.
Ever since we decided we`d like to go to Fair Isle we felt we should go by ferry, though it`s a pretty small one (see photo) and the sea can get a bit rough, but surprisingly I felt fine on the Good Shepherd, despite sick on the large ferry to Lerwick on a rough crossing a few days before (the other times we`ve been on the latter it was fine though). We flew back (to Tingwall) though, partly because the weather forecast was bad and partly because the flight on a little Britten Norman Islander sounded interesting (see photo), and it was, great views of the west side of Shetland from 1000ft. The plane is a bit more expensive than the ferry though, about £4 v £35 each, and, theoretically, there`s a 15Kg baggage limit on the plane. FIBO will pick you up and drop you off at either the ferry terminal or the airfield.
Fair Isle is a fasinating place to go, even for a non "birder", though at 3m x 2m there`s only so much to see. I`d have thought that a non birder would find 2 or 3 days the kind of stay to aim for. Make sure you see the Puffins, everyone thinks they`re cute, except the fish, obviously.
Go to Fair Isle, not many people have, so it`s always a conversation starter !

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank JustinSmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
126 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 109 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 July 2012

Other reviewers had mentioned the warmth and comfort of the FIBO but I wasn't sure that I would agree with them. They did not however exaggerate...excellent beds, fresh decor, ensuite showers and warm radiators/towel rails. A must if you have been outside all day. We flew from Tingwall (the council operated airport in Lerwick ) and stayed for two nights (family of 5 with three teenagers). The days were packed with activity if you wanted it; a 7am trap run and ringing session, an evening archaeology walk with the v nice lady (Pat) from the museum, puffin watching, walks to the north and south lighthouses, visits to the fair isle knitwear ladies whose star for us is the hugely talented Mati Ventrillon. We had clear blue skies for all three days and felt very lucky. A quiet time (July ) for migratory birds but we were happy with the range of birds that we did see and watching the puffins at close range was probably the highlight for us.
FOOD-
as previously mentioned..really tip top and I am a fussy vegetarian. Lots of meat for those who want it but interesting and delicious alternatives. Breakfast- (always porridge and cereals)one morning I had a delicious, delicately spiced oatmeal and onion patty with egg, supper some tiny squashes and courgette in batter with a reduced tomato sauce and new potatoes and choice of three veg. Final evening was Chinese. I'd let them know if advance that I had special dietary requirements. We had a nice packed lunch (cheese and pickle sandwiches, apple juice, piece of fruit and a kit Kat) provided by the bird obs (included in price). People who had gone back for lunch had macaroni cheese. My daughters enjoyed the cocoa and cake at 9pm!

Staff-you have to remember that it is a hostel and that the staff who work there, live there and share facilities. These people are generally volunteers or working for the rspb so there is a certain amount of Them and Us which can be rather disconcerting. This comment does not apply to the warden and his wife who are rather more solicitous and friendly.

Flight information-
We flew back on the Saturday at 11.30am which flies back into sumburgh rather than Tingwall. This is worth noting as it makes life easier with connecting flights. If you have time to kill go to Jarlshoff next to the sumburgh hotel (all walking distance from airport). Allow plenty of time at check in at sumburgh. A quiet airport but the check in staff were painfully slow and the security also. I had the same clothes on that I'd flown up in and the same rucksack and belongings and yet everything seemed to set off their alarms. It took us over an hour to check in & clear security for a Flybe plane taking about twenty people with three people on check in. We might have just had a bad experience but I thought it worth mentioning as similar airports like Kirkwall are the opposite.

Room Tip: I would avoid the downstairs room (16?)as it is off a busy hallway and is rather chilly. All the oth...
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
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    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank HONORIA1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Fair Isle Lodge & Bird Observatory

Property: Fair Isle Lodge & Bird Observatory
Address: Fair Isle Lodge and Bird Observatory | Shetland, ZE2 9JU, Scotland
Region: United Kingdom > Scotland > Shetland Islands > Fair Isle
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Speciality Lodging in Fair Isle
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Observatory Guest House provides a great base for exploring the stunning coastal scenery and fascinating history of Fair Isle, with comfortable en-suite full-board accommodation and wonderful views from the lounge-bar out over the sea to Fair Isle's iconic Sheep Rock. As part of Fair Isle Bird Observatory the Guest House also provides visitors with unique opportunities to see bird ringing with the wardens, learn about the wildlife of the isle and perhaps find a rare bird or two passing through on migration. ... more   less 

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