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“First-class accommodation”

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Ceol na Mara Guest House
Ranked #1 of 4 Tarbert B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 31 August 2014

This is a superb, comfortable guest house in a wonderful location, very friendly and welcoming, and rightly known for its breakfasts, with several specialities of the house in addition to, or instead of, what would normally be expected. Twice saw a pair of red-throated divers close to the by-road leading to the guest. Nothing more to be said, other than to echo the very positive comments of other recent guests.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Keith R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (184)
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47 - 53 of 184 reviews

Reviewed 30 August 2014

Arranged by McKinlay Kidd, our two nights here lived up to the expectations we have come to expect from them. Total tranquillity, no light pollution, service that totally exceeded expectation without expecting further payment. Delicious porridge as a starter for breakfast, then the full cooked choices. Good clean accommodation and a friendly atmosphere - we could spend days here just taking in the scenery. Only a few minutes drive to the Harris Inn as our choice of venues in Tarbert for dinner.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Michael_Studham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 August 2014

Everything was absolutely perfect, except the breakfast: It was just brilliant!

(The Müesli was the best I've ever had.)

Tastefully decorated house, cozy, clean, well appointed rooms and spacious bathroom, good beds, perfect quiet location, and, most importantly, the host couple is very friendly, warm, helpful and calmly.

If it should ever come again to this wonderful island, I will of course again live in Ceol na Mara.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank HansM1972
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 August 2014

I almost don't want to say how lovely this B&B is as I want there to be room when I pay a return visit! We had the top two rooms with our friends from France and the interconnecting sitting area was very useful. The beds and bedding were very comfortable and the en suite spotlessly clean.John was very welcoming and also very helpful securing us bookings at the two hotels in Tarbert for our evening meals.We would love to stay longer next time but resisting the beautiful breakfasts would be impossible and we might have to pack a second set of larger clothes!!

Room Tip: We had the two rooms at the top of the house.
  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank EnglandBookworm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 August 2014 via mobile

We stayed at this guesthouse with our three children and a friend and had three rooms. The place is spotlessly clean and very nicely decorated, the owners were extremely nice and helpful. The breakfast fantastic. Maybe the Ceol Na Mara is too perfect for a stay with children - we stressed ourselves a little out of fear they would stain the carpet or break some of the stylish decorations. Highly recommended especially for adults seeking a peaceful stay in a beautiful and clean environment.

Stayed: July 2014
Thank wolfstern
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2014

My husband and I spent two nights at this interesting B&B. We had a lovely room, adequate in space, clean, and with lovely linens. Shots of sherry and Scotch were pre-poured in our room on arrival. It is a nice thought, and typical of this hard drinking culture ... just not the best welcome for someone trying not to drink. Had we been asked first, we would have declined. On the other hand, there were lovely mint chocolates in the room that were a real treat. When I asked where I could buy them, John sold me a whole box from his own stores (most of which made it back to Canada!)

The breakfast choices were excellent, though we did find it very slow the first morning. However, we asked what time others were eating on the next morning, and ate when it was quieter, which made for a delightful breakfast. John had time to talk to us while he served, and was full of interesting information about Harris. Anything we wanted more of, from juices to coffee to toast was cheerfully provided. The portions were generous, and we learned to ask for smaller servings.

We struggled with the Sky TV system in our room, but happily reverted to our e-books, and to John's collection of books in the lounge about Lewis and Harris. I am sure that if we had asked, John would have helped us find stations ... but we enjoyed the peace!

When we called before we left Canada to see if we could have an early check in (my husband was struggling with a bad back), Marlene said we could leave our bags early, but check in was late afternoon.She did not suggest the use of the guest lounge as an option. We were a bit worried about what my husband would do if his back was acting up, but when we arrived early, there was a warm welcome, and the room was ready.

Somehow, this experience seemed typical of John and Marlene.... a bit of a gruff exterior, but warm hearts. We certainly could not fault them on any element of the actual service. In fact, on our second evening, they assured us we would not need a reservation at a local restaurant they recommended. When we got there, there was a big party taking up the whole small restaurant. The restaurant offered us take away, which we agreed to (we were a fair distance away from Tarbert or any other potential food). We went back to Ceol na Mara, where John set us up in the breakfast room, got us beverages, cutlery, napkins, and generally made sure we were OK for dinner.

The one real complaint we had was the noise in our room at night, coming from the room above us. We could hear them walking about, talking, listening to music and watching TV. Next morning we found out it was two adult women, who I am sure had no idea how much conversation and noise was carrying down to our room. They left the next morning, and we told John about the noise. He went out of his way to ensure the next guests (including children) were quiet ... with success.

Many of the guests who came and went were repeat guests, who expressed their delight at being back. The setting is certainly lovely, and very convenient for seeing Harris.


Room Tip: If stairs are a problem, ask for the one ground floor room. Take ear plugs in case other guests are...
  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
4  Thank Helen W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CEOLNAMARA2014, Owner at Ceol na Mara Guest House, responded to this reviewResponded 12 August 2014

Although we welcome any constructive criticism which might help us to raise the standard of our service and enhance the experience of our Guests, we were rather disappointed at the number of negative comments and errors from this reviewer.
The overwhelming majority of our Guests are pleasantly surprised to discover a small decanter of Whisky ( Scotland’s national drink ) and sherry awaiting them in their room after a hard day’s travelling. Contrary to the reviewer they were NOT pre-poured but rather were in sealed decanters. If the reviewer had an issue with alcohol all they needed to do was ask us to remove it which we would have done without hesitation willingly but we find the reviewer’s comment - “ typical of this hard-drinking culture “ both inappropriate and offensive to not only ourselves but also to Scotland.
With regard to the comment of “ slow “ service at breakfast, we pride ourselves on the fact that ALL breakfasts are made to order and not pre-prepared so there may be a slight delay if several Guests all come down together. Most of our Guests – who are in no rush in the morning - seem to accept any slight delay as a more-than-reasonable price to pay for freshly prepared.
Having been in the Guest House business now for over 15 years, that is the first time any Guest has described us as having a " gruff exterior .... typical of John and Marlene " ? and I would dearly like to know on what basis you make this very personal and derogatory comment.
I do sympathise when the ladies above them were making too much noise on the first night but as you did not inform us about that until the following morning there was little we could do except solve the situation on the following night - which we did. Again I wonder why you deem this to be worthy of global concern when we did all we could.
Finally, we have had the privilege of accommodating many hundreds of Tourists from Canada, and I have never heard any of them referring to their experience at Ceol na Mara Guest House as having “ undesirable features “
It may be worth keeping in mind that Guest Houses in Scotland are not only businesses but also the family home.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2014

I spent two nights at Coel na Mara this July with my Husband and children and I cannot praise this place highly enough. It was perfectly located to enjoy the delights that Harris has to offer, whilst being only a few minutes drive to the port of Tarbert. Marlene and John were the perfect hosts - managing to be there exactly when you required some assistance or advice, but without making you feel like you were imposing on their home. The bedrooms are beautifully appointed with stunning views over the bay with welcoming guest lounge areas on every floor. Breakfast was a pleasure and the perfect way to prepare for the day ahead exploring the wonders of the island. We will definitely be back!

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank JayVeeTee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ceol na Mara Guest House

Address: 7 Direcleit, Tarbert HS3 3DP, Scotland
Region: United Kingdom > Scotland > The Hebrides > Outer Hebrides > Lewis and Harris > Isle of Harris > Tarbert
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 B&Bs / Inns in Tarbert
Price Range: £132 - £145 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Ceol na Mara Guest House 4*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Enjoy the privacy and seclusion of this recently re-furbished early 20th century Hebridean house set in 55 acres of unspoiled crofting land at the north end of the beautiful Isle of Harris in the Western Isles of Scotland. All rooms have spectacular views over Loch Kindebig, yet only a few minutes from the Ferry Terminal at Tarbert and many fine eating places. Enjoy a unique taste of the Hebrides at this top quality Guest House in the Isle of Harris. Centrally situated to allow easy access to all parts of Harris as well as Lewis. Residents lounges on each of the three floors. Two double en-suite rooms : One twin en-suite : One double with private facilities : Separate Dining Room. All rooms with sea view : silent fridge : complimentary dram : organic toiletries : flat screen TV & free wireless broadband : ipod / iphone docking station. Five star breakfast menu featuring the very best of local produce. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ceol Na Mara Guest House Isle Of Harris/Tarbert, The Hebrides

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