We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
“Beautiful and isolated lodge with amazing...”
other travellers have booked this property
Fabulous stone clad lodges with turf roofs on Islay. 5 star eco luxury accommodation for 2-4 guest
Bookings for this home are first-come, first served. Lock in your dates before they are gone
Fabulous stone clad lodges with turf roofs on Islay. 5 star eco luxury accommodation for 2-4 guest
stylish interiors light and spacious living and dining
Check Availability
Request to Book
Make Enquiry
Excellent
22 reviews
Fabulous stone clad lodges with turf roofs on Islay. 5 star eco luxury accommodation for 2-4 guest
stylish interiors
light and spacious living and dining
long view over the moor
crafted with care from local stone
well-equipped kitchen
designer touches and original art
organic bedlinen and bespoke tweed furnishing
a warm welcome awaits you
fabulous ensuites
Islay has miles of sandy beaches
sandy beaches in every direction
choose between twin singles or a 6' superking in the second bedroom
sunset view from the hot tub
fascinating clouds
sunset over glenastle
finnish sauna - with a window!
carraig fhadda lighthouse
crystal clear sea at the Singing sands (10 minutes)
The Singing Sands on a lovely May morning
have long walk along the big strand - 8 miles long!
whisky flavoured marigolds? This one's a Laphroaig.
This property is not available for these dates.
Don't give up! Enquire about other rentals just like this one that are available -
Show all rentals available
Overview
Cottage -
2 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms, Sleeps 4
Islay, The Hebrides, Scotland

Reviews from our community

Excellent - based on 22 reviews
Write a Review

Reviews from our community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
English first
Any
English first
MonsieurC...
Freiburg
Level 6 Contributor
326 reviews
132 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 543 helpful votes
“Mixed impressions in winter ...”
Reviewed 7 January 2014 for a stay in December 2013
8
people found this review helpful

First I have to say that we already tried some comparable lodges - inter alia the ones in Achiltibiue, the Borve Lodges and finally the BLUE REEF on Harris, accidentally built by the same architect as Coillabus and marvellously positioned above a magnificent beach.

Which brings me to the first point: Coillabus sits in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by peat fields and bog (no landscaped garden), with just a glimpse of the sea far away. Acess leads through a farm (often blocked by cattle) with a road rather suited for 4x4, particularly in winter.

And winter brings me to the second point: It's really bleak out there, exposed to the weather and very windy. Particulatly the other lodge on top of the hill (which has at least a great view towards the west/sunset/sea) must be extremely exposed to sleat, hail and battling storms (we had gales with 100mph).

Point 3: When you arrive, there is no contact person (we didn't know Hester lives on the mainland) and nobody who helps you to fiddle with the complicated TV, the quirky settings for the heating (we finally downloaded the thermostat manual from the internet to get some warmth into the rooms) and instead of the advertised "welcome breakfast kit" there finally arrived a young girl with some flowers, 6 eggs, marmelade and a cheap bottle of warm bubble. Not so nice when you expect the promised "romantic luxury flair".

Point 4: When you're only two persons and you come at this time of the year, when you can't use neither the (luke warm) hot tub nor the Barbecue or even sit outside, then 300 pounds per night are an enormous sum and seem largely exaggerated.

Point 5: There's only a small booklet with minimum information about the lodge, together with some outdated advertising brochures, old maps and a few cooking books. At this standard, a booklet with detailed hints for walking tours, excursions and current infos is the least one expects; fortunately we were well prepared and left some material for following guests. Oh, and by the way, the DVD player was broke.

Conclusion? This critic may sound harsh, but then the lodge shouldn't be offered in the first place during winter. It's clever marketing to show only pics during spring and summer on the website, when the lodge certainly makes more sense, particularly for TWO couples or a family ( & midgets).
Sure, the interior is modern and stylish and full of comfort (an open peat fire chimney would have been the icing on the cake), but on the whole somewhat "cold" and neutral, too.
Of course I admit that we were frustrated because of the extremely bad weather during our stay; fortunately we had an excellent seafood platter in Lochindaal, nice evenings in the Islay Hotel in Port Ellen (the staff even helped us one late evening to remove a fallen tree that blocked the road to Coillabus) and had a great tweed jacket tailor made in the Islay Woolen Mill.
But for the 1800 pounds that we two payed for 5 days we could have had a REAL luxury hotel, with full service and comfort, a cozy lounge, restaurant, pool table, nice people ... you must know yourself wether "splendid isolation" without a personal host is worth that much to you. There certainly is a reaaon that inspite of all the advertising and public relation the BLUE REEF cottages are FULLY BOOKED in advance for most of 2014 ... and Coillabus not at all. I think it's really the location - the situation that is the problem.
Be that as it may ... we wish Coillabus success, cause it gave and gives work to locals and is a fascinating piece of architecture, though mostly from the outside. And all the people we got to know on Islay were very, very friendly indeed.

GO THERE IN MAY - AND FIND OUT YOURSELF ... we wish you sun and warmth!

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: the wee sauna, the architecture, the bath rooms
Liked least: no host, difficult communication on site ("have no ides - call Hester")
Travelling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Families with young children
People with pets
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management Response
7 Jan 2014
Wouff! At first this had me reaching for the warm fizz but on reflection I think this calls for a Laphroaig - declared by some to be the most medicinal of our Islay single malts - ‘iodine with a pinch of salt’.

We always take guest comments seriously and with respect. We aim to provide an amazing experience for our guests all year round and are constantly reflecting on what we do and put measures in place to improve our services. This is why I have taken time and care to reply to this review at some length.

We don’t however have a pool table. We don’t have a pub onsite (there’s a great one which Mr B discovered just 8 minutes away) . And we don’t have landscaped gardens. We definitely don’t. We have established heather in front of one lodge in harmony with the adjoining moorland including the RSPB Oa reserve and are establishing highland grasses in the lodge Mr B stayed in. It’s not a landscaped gardens sort of place but we believe our lodges sit well in their surroundings and the golden eagle, chough, hen harrier and barn owls that fly past and delight our guests seem to prefer it that way. Coillabus is that sort of place.

Our guests receive a warm personal welcome from myself or my housekeeper and then we leave them alone in privacy to enjoy the moorland and sea views (from their hot tub perhaps). Not because we are uncaring or unfriendly but because that is what we find our guests -particularly honeymoon couples - prefer. Our guests generally want to be alone together. They don't want a host about. If they did they would choose to stay in a hotel as Mr B suggests he would prefer to do. However If they need us we will certainly be there.

I must point out that we do not sell alcohol and we are not licensed to do so. The Prosecco was a personal gift to Mr B from me as he had made our 100th online booking. And hands up-it was not properly chilled and for that I am sorry. My housekeeper (she will be delighted to be described as a young girl) simply did not have time to put the bottle into the ice bucket because she arrived and found the guests were already there. She was there at the agreed time to give a personal welcome to this guest and to show him how the DVD (not broken) and sauna worked and so on. She would have done all this had he allowed her to do so. The weather did affect the satellite TV reception which was why it was erratic. I apologised for this and tried to explain to the guest that any amount of ‘fiddling’ would not help. We do have an unlimited broadband connection and TV can be watched on laptops although of course this is not ideal.

We will be updating our welcome procedure so that even guests who insist they do not need help will be shown how everything works. I will make sure that it is made very clear how to adjust the temperature temporarily. It’s helpful to know that Mr B has adjusted our heating system. I take on board the need to ensure that guest information is improved. The road can get muddy in places in winter – we are on a working hill farm - but a four wheel drive vehicle is not necessary.

We leave a simple but carefully chosen welcome breakfast basket for guests (and we did so for the Bs ). This may vary according to availability but always contains: good quality muesli, Stockans’ oatcakes, whisky marmalade from Ma McKinnon’s in Bridgend and free range local eggs from Portnahaven if our neighbour’s hens are not laying . Tropicana orange juice (with bits) and milk are in the fridge. We hope to add fresh bread from a local baker to this offering. Filter coffee, tea and sugar together with some basic spices and condiments are in the cupboard.

On this occasion I was not on site to welcome our guests as I had just left on the boat in order to celebrate Christmas with my family. When I phoned to add my welcome Mr B said that there was no breakfast basket. I was astonished as I had put the non-perishable items in to the basket myself. He agreed there was marmalade, eggs, muesli and oatcakes but insisted there was no breakfast basket only eggs and warm ‘Cava’. I asked if there was orange juice and milk and he said there was not and when I asked him to check again he said yes, there was fresh orange juice and milk in the fridge. He then continued to say there was no breakfast basket. I found this a bit confusing.

If Mr B would have preferred a cooked breakfast or indeed an evening meal I would have arranged for our chef to prepare this for him. We take pride in our chef service and have a top class award winning chef who will cook, serve and clear a specially chosen gourmet meal for guests who want this –if and when they want this service.

I am glad that Mr B enjoyed the hospitality of the two excellent pubs at the Lochindaal Inn and The Islay Hotel. There are lots of small hotels on Islay which offer such facilities. Few have landscaped gardens but some have pool tables. They are great places to stay and I do think Mr B might have enjoyed the camaraderie of staying in one of those. What we offer is not for everyone. At Coillabus we offer something different and Mr B is very right in comparing us to a luxury hotel to which we offer a flexible alternative. We aim to provide the luxury of a top hotel and that includes quality organic linen, goose down pillows, Hypnos beds , sauna, hot tub and carefully chosen contemporary Scottish art on the walls. We offer un-landscaped, un-pool tabled, secluded and stylish five star luxury in an extraordinary setting with amazing views (I do insist on the amazing views) and we attract guests who value this experience.

Mr B stayed at Coillabus Lodges for Christmas 2013 during some of the worst weather the UK has faced for many years. Despite this the Calmac Ferries sailed and on Islay the Hydro kept the lights on. There’s no doubt at all that the Oa can be a wild place – that’s perhaps what our winter guests love about it - they enjoy experiencing the weather in comfort from the huge window of their lodge. Many still venture into the hot tub and find it fun – it can feel cool until you get in although it is certainly not luke warm but heated to a recommended and safe 40 degrees.

And the weather is not always wild -we have some sparkling winter days on Islay. Our winter rates (outwith the festive season when these guests stayed ) allow guests to enjoy five star luxury from £37.50 per person - when four people stay for a week. Islay has a great deal to offer as a winter break destination- the distilleries are open for tours, fewer visitors means locals have more time to talk to you (as Mr B found) and there’s nothing like a brisk winter walk on our eight mile long Big Strand. Although we do not have, and do not claim to have, a seaside location as such, Islay has miles of sandy beaches just a short drive away.

Mr B paid high season rates (£1500) for his 6 night stay over Christmas-not £1800 for five nights as he states. Our rates are very similar to those of Blue Reef Cottages –just a little less. The use of photos taken on sunny days on our website is not ‘clever marketing’ and was never meant to mislead anyone into believing that these represented the weather in December. It’s just easier to take good pictures in the sunshine. I apologise if a false impression was given to Mr B and I did not think to explain that he might have windy days in the Hebrides in December. Many guests tell us that the lodges and the views look better in real life than on the website . I am planning a photoshoot at the end of January – primarily so that we can showcase our food – but there will soon be winter shots on the websiteas well as shots taken in the summer.

We do not consider ourselves to be in competition with Blue Reef Cottages- Blue Reef is on Harris and we are on Islay- and the Campbells have been very helpful to us . The similarity in architecture is not ‘accidental’. Blue Reef is well established and as such is booked up well ahead. We certainly have had guests who like the style of the architecture who have stayed in both places and enjoy the variety of top quality experience offered on our two islands. The lovely cottages at Blue Reef do indeed have a wonderful position above the beach at Scarista just as ours command long views over moorland, loch and sea. Our views are fascinating and everchanging and we do certainly get more than a ‘glimpse’ of the sea from both lodges. In poor weather the view can be restricted and perhaps this accounts for the comments of this guest. But poor visibility was the least of the problems in many places throughout the British Isles at this period – not just on Islay -guests from Surrey in the other lodge felt they had actually escaped bad weather by coming to Coillabus.

But Surrey doesn’t close for winter and neither will Coillabus. And I fail to see the logic that lodges closer to a beach should open in the winter while those with moorland views should not. We have already welcomed many wonderful guests this winter and last (and more expected) who have been delighted with their experience at Coillabus. Haste ye back.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Samssss
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Beautiful and isolated lodge with amazing facilities”
Reviewed 10 December 2013 for a stay in December 2013

We stayed here in December and had a truly memorable four days. It being winter we were impressed at how warm the place was, with the sauna and hot tub being very cosy extras. The lodges are both close enough to walk to lochs as well as the sea where we saw lots of fantastic wildlife but far enough from one another to give that sense of complete isolation and privacy.
I would really recommend this stunning and original lodge.
Thank you Hester!

Travelling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management Response
10 Dec 2013
Thanks for taking time to write this lovely review. I'm really glad you enjoyed the seclusion of Coillabus. This was part of the inspiration for building the lodges - to make a place where people can find themselves and each other in absolute peace and privacy. And I am impressed with your winter walking on the Oa. I must more time for that myself. I have a plan to walk round the coast of the peninsula in 2014 as my guests are putting me to shame.
All the best
Hester
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SBlack201...
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
45 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Perfect”
Reviewed 28 November 2013 for a stay in November 2013

Stayed for 5nights during a romantic winter break. Hester was wonderful in providing all the info needed to get there, including good stops along the way.

Cannot fault the cottage at all. In a chilly Scottish November it was always warm and cosy, beautiful location, completely private. Decorated in local fabrics from the Islay woollen mill. Everything was easy to use, including hot tub and sauna. Kitchen had everything, cooked most nights and did not lack all the mod cons. Marmalade was amazing. Fresh roses and lilies on arrival and some bare essentials like milk and eggs. Bathtub was enormous. Even the weather was well organised and bright sunshine shone through those big windows almost every morning!

Islay itself was beautiful. Would highly recommend both the Island, but more importantly Coillabus, to everyone.

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: Views and hot tub
Liked least: Nothing
Travelling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Large groups
People with pets
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management Response
28 Nov 2013
Thanks so much for coming to Coillabus and posting this review. I'm delighted that you found Coillabus a good choice for your winter romantic break. And yes, we really love the whisky marmalade from Ma Mackinnon's in Bridgend!
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MargotRud...
Toronto
Level 6 Contributor
188 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
“Unique, Unforgettable Accommodation”
Reviewed 30 September 2013 for a stay in September 2013

It is impossible to rate Coillabus too highly - the setting, architecture and interior design set it apart from any other self-catering accommodation we have experienced. From top of the line European cooking utensils to luxurious bed and table linens, Portmeiron china and local soaps and bath salts, the cottages are thoughtfully provisioned. There is a hot-tub from which you may watch magnificent sunsets or simply experience the mist coming in. An indoor sauna helps you to relax after a day of hiking or whisky tasting. Best of all is the view from the windows of the great room. This is a place to return to again and again - eco-friendly and luxurious, remote yet convenient, whether you are an active cyclist or simply a casual stroller. The cottages are probably not suitable for very young children or the very elderly or infirm. Hester will do everything to make sure that your stay on Islay is memorable. Her directions to what is a very remote location were perfect!

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: Location, views and kitchen equipment
Liked least: Nothing to complain of
Travelling group: Extended Family
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management Response
30 Sep 2013
I'm so glad you enjoyed your time at Coillabus Lodges. We do love welcoming guests from Canada. So many people from the Oa on Islay have descendents there. We're glad you felt at home here.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Enter dates for more accurate prices
2 guests
Adults2
Children0
Apply
Do you own a holiday rental? List it here.
Extra income
Earn money by renting out your home. With no up-front fees and no contract, you keep more for yourself.
Easy to manage
Confirm bookings in one click and track everything from enquiry to check-out – even while you're on the go.
Trusted by travellers
With millions of reviews and protected online payments, TripAdvisor helps travellers book your home with confidence.
Set up your free listing