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All reviews summer isles log cabin set menu cheese board michelin star single track road dining room wine list main building sea view amuse bouche bar next door spiral staircase boat house main course fine dining cheeseboard
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Reviewed 18 September 2018

We drove 75 miles on a Thursday to have lunch at this renowned hotel overlooking the wonderful Summer Isles on the West Coast of Scotland, having checked that they were open on their website in the morning. We set off. We arrived at 12 o'clock and asked if we could book a table for lunch. We were told that we could not have lunch as the restaurant was closed. When we asked if we could have something to eat in the bar, we were told no: they had a party of 15 arriving at 12.30. It became clear that they were not prepared to serve us with anything at all.

We were not welcomed, and it was very clear that no effort was going to be made to give us anything.

We will not be returning!

Date of stay: September 2018
1  Thank Jane M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Simon C, Owner at The Summer Isles Hotel and Restaurant, responded to this reviewResponded 19 September 2018

Dear Catherine M

Thanks for your review.

The order of priority (in terms of finding a table for lunch/dinner) is guests staying at the hotel, people with reservations and
- finally - visitors that "walk-in". All are important and we try our best to cater for everyone.

I wish you had called the hotel before setting off on your journey. We would have been able to let you know that i) the restaurant is only open in the evenings and ii) the bar was already full with a party that had made a reservation.

Making a reservation is highly recommended to avoid disappointment. That said, you were unlucky to encounter a large group. For this number of people (all arriving at the same time) the bar kitchen is at full capacity.

Having written the above, I should let you know that your review has given me "pause for thought". I will speak to the team about the possibility of making a "cap" on the size of any group reservation in order to give a little "wriggle room".

I hope that you managed to find a good lunch in one of the other fine lunchtime alternatives in the area.

Regards

Simon

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Reviewed 18 September 2018

I stayed here for one night as part of a motorcycle trip to North Coast 500. Bit of a pain getting to and from the hotel on a 10 mile single track road, but the location is stunning. My room was very clean and comfortable and I ate in the hotel restaurant where the food was very good. The hotel bar was also quite lively with a number of locals in there.

Date of stay: August 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled solo
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank HeartsGlobetrotter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Simon C, Owner at The Summer Isles Hotel and Restaurant, responded to this reviewResponded 19 September 2018

Dear HeartsGlobetrotter

Many thanks for taking the time to write a review. The combination of very good food, a lively bar and a comfortable night sounds pretty good to me!

I really enjoy the single track road and assumed that it would be even more fun on a bike. I guess you must have to time the passing places pretty carefully and not spend too much time staring at the glorious views!

Regards

Simon

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Reviewed 16 September 2018 via mobile

We stayed here I believe earlier in 2017 as part of a small holiday on the West Coast. Upon arrival we were immediately upgraded which was a nice surprise and set the tone for the holiday.

We were in the external block; our room was easy to access from the car park (ideal for my disabled partner), pleasant and a generous size. Immaculately clean and kept beautifully over our 3 night stay by the housekeeping staff.

Due to unforseen circumstances we had our small dog (West Highland Terrier) along with us for the holiday. He was just as welcomed as us - bowls and a little welcome treat were an unexpected touch.

We dined in the restaurant each night and I cannot praise the chef enough. Beautiful meals with fresh local produce, an absolute delight. Waiting staff were also attentive to my partner's specific dietry needs and kept in communication with the kitchen to ensure everything was suitable.

Beautiful scenery all round and friendly staff at every turn. Would return in a second.

Date of stay: October 2017
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank GuestJ2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Simon C, Owner at The Summer Isles Hotel and Restaurant, responded to this reviewResponded 17 September 2018

Dear GuestJ2

This is indeed a late review but much appreciated. A decent number of the 2017 team remain at the hotel and they will be very pleased to read your kind words.

Since last season, we have become even more dog friendly with our canine friends now welcomed into the bar.

I look forward to your return visit to Achiltibuie.

Regards

Simon

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Reviewed 14 September 2018

What inspired me to look for somewhere to stay after the ferry, in this area is still beyond me, this was the only place with a dog friendly room left; a night here was an intended 6th year anniversary treat for my partner after a business trip to the isles. Boy were we in for a surprise...!!!! Views to absolutely die for. The rooms with mezzanines are the best, and that's where we stayed. The views of the isles don't stay the same for 5 seconds and the bay windows allow you to watch it all from your bed. The thin wall comment is true but was not a problem for us; however, I had sympathy for our guests next door and we may behave differently next time. If you are simply not posh enough for the lounge or restaurant (like ourselves); the bar is perfect and your dog can happily snooze on the floor beside you! How I accidentally found a place, which all sane logic rules cannot be found by accident; is still beyond me. The surprise presence of the Cromarty Queen (this boat is an old friend to us) ensured I gave my partner a greater treat than I could have ever planned for her. We will be coming back. I'm curious if the hotel shuts down for part of the year because we could not find another booking in all of November?

Room tip: The best room would depend entirely on personal taste.
Date of stay: September 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank javelin1uk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Simon C, Owner at The Summer Isles Hotel and Restaurant, responded to this reviewResponded 14 September 2018

Dear Javelin1uk

Many thanks for your review. Its great to read that you enjoyed your stay at The Summer Isles Hotel and the surprise presence of the Cromarty Queen was clearly a big bonus!

I have "taken on board" your comments regarding the lounge and the restaurant. I can see that both may appear quite formal against the bar but everyone is most welcome and many guests enjoy the contrast during their stay.

Our season runs until 28th October. Only the bar will remain open (for two or three evenings per week) throughout the Winter. Feel free to come along for a drink and bring your dog!

Regards

Simon




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Reviewed 6 September 2018

As background, I am required to travel all over Europe as part of my job and so experience hotels and service of all levels. I tend to only provide reviews for those which offer amazing service, or those which have disappointed and I wait a few weeks to ensure I am giving a balanced review. Sadly, Summer Isles Hotel, which represented a holiday for my wife and I, falls into the latter “disappointed” category. For the Hotel’s reference, this review reflects a stay on the nights of 22nd and 23rd July 2018.

Room confirmation - we arrived early with a view to leaving our bags somewhere and heading out for a walk in the amazing countryside. However the staff were clearly shocked that anyone would even think of arriving prior to the prescribed time. However, they did thrust a ring binder of local walks into our hand after we asked.

Beware the generic room confirmation email. Even if you have spoken directly with hotel staff in detail about a specific room at the time of booking, it is the generic room confirmation email which will be replayed to you by them as evidence that you did not book that particular room. Ironically, the room we had specifically booked (in the main hotel rather than the eventual external block) had not been double-booked and was available, it was just not being offered to us and it stayed empty for that first night. By the time we knew this, we had unpacked and settled into our “outbuilding”.

The external block of rooms are comfortable, however having to head outside in all weathers to go to bed is not quite the same and the walls between the rooms are very thin – you can hear your neighbours very clearly. Internet access in these outbuildings is worse than the main hotel – see below.

Dinner - we stayed for two days and so had the opportunity to compare dinner over two nights. The food on day one was great – exactly what we had hoped for. However day two must have been prepared by a different team in the kitchen, or perhaps a disaster had occurred, the same dish looked and tasted completely different. On the second night (23 July 2018) we arrived at 6.45pm, 15 minutes before dinner, for drinks, but were told that things “were tight that night” (we could only see 6-8 additional diners over the entire night vs. the first day) and that we would be shown through to the dining room straight away – no time for the planned pre-dinner drinks. However, the kitchen staff took so long trying to make the food look good that after one hour we had only had our starters and by 9pm we had only just finished our main courses. At this point, having arranged a 9pm call, believing that two hours had to be sufficient for a dinner, I had to abandoned the meal.

I believe another reviewer described the largely student-age staff as “startled chickens” or similar, and this is a really good description. They huddle together, speaking in their home languages (very few are from the UK) trying to work out what has to happen next. We saw several expensive drinks being poured away due to misunderstandings, caused either by language or by lack of comprehension of their own bar, and several complaints about timing.

The entire dining room had to come to the defence of one German guest who was accused by the staff of not providing her food allergies and preferences (…. she had provided these) when in reality the waitress had delivered and announced a mackerel fish dish as “smoked duck”. Even after all guests had become quite vocal and made it clear what had happened, there was no apology from the staff to that guest.

Internet access - occasional working whilst being away is a necessary evil for many people – in our case it enables us to have holidays and breaks. We arrived with realistic expectations of Highlands internet access, however when it was non-existent we were "fobbed-off" by staff along the lines of it needing to be reset. We had to go to the effort of a contingency plan which involved the local Community Centre and the local coffee shop, which both managed to have strong internet access. It was on the final night that we bumped into the manager who could tell it was causing trouble and he at least admitted that the copper cables were broken and this was as good as it would get. His staff also need to be that honest with the guests. To his credit, he granted me access to the hotel office, turned off all other computers and allowed me to download my report. This internal level of internet access really does need to be rolled out to the guests.

It seemed odd that this was the first time we had met the manager – should he not be mixing with the guests pre-dinner in the lounge or checking on progress during dinner, particularly at greater than £350 per night for dinner bed and breakfast for a couple – you can stay at some world-class hotels for that price.

In summary, if it was not for the amazing local views and scenery, this hotel would not survive. Sadly, the hotel is not enhancing the local experience, particularly at the price charged. My strong recommendation is to book a cottage in the area instead and eat in one of the various great local restaurants. On leaving, the eventual bill (…. and don’t expect your bill to be available until the office opening time) was inaccurate – an item had been omitted – which we obviously pointed out. However the staff were so embarrassed by the last two days’ experience that they chose not to correct it.

Date of stay: July 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
6  Thank David C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Simon C, Owner at The Summer Isles Hotel and Restaurant, responded to this reviewResponded 9 September 2018

Dear David C

This season, our average rating is 4.5 which gives enormous pride but we are not complacent. On the rare occasion when a guest is disappointed, I take great care to understand why things have gone wrong. Where possible, action is taken in order to improve the service provided.

You scored the hotel at 2.0 which is way out-of-kilter with the most of our guests. You have gone to great length to list a whole series of issues which I started to review. However, you did not stay with us on 22nd and 23rd July. I think I know when you stayed with us and the room in the main building was booked on both nights of your stay. Based on these two key inaccuracies, I have decided not to respond in detail to this review. Instead, I am happy to speak directly and the hotel will provide my contact details if you would like to have a related conversation.

Simon Cotton

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