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“Best scallops ever”
Review of Castlebay Hotel

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Castlebay Hotel
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Isle of Barra
Reviewed 15 December 2013

I was last there a number of years ago and pleased that it retained ints traditional appearance and ambience. The food, however, was unrecognisable. The chef's (Polish chap, I think) scallops were the most succulent I can remember and perfectly cooked, simply, with a lightly dressed rocket salad and crispy pancetta. The local venison, again, was simple but showed that perfectly cooked good ingrédients need little embellishment.

Even more encouraging was that the first rate staff were local, friendly and knowledgeable without the faux subservience so characteristic of mediocre hôtels trying to impress.

If Barra is the crown of the western isles, the Castlebay hotel is the jewel in it. All this in December as well.

Room Tip: Just have the dinner and any room will do.
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled on business
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Thank JohnTodd187167
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Noel W, General Manager at Castlebay Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 16 December 2013

Given the quality of the guest feedback of late I am happy to see that we are doing our job well. As you have found its because all my colleagues want to be here and it shows. The Scallops and Cockles we get from the local beaches so you cant get much fresher and your absolutely right our Chef prepares them excellently. The venison of course is local as our most of the ingredients used in our kitchen, by this summer it is our hope to have 99% of our food items from local suppliers.
John it was certainly a pleasure having you visit us again and we all look forward to your return.
The comments are very much appreciated and I will pass your compliments on to my chef and all my colleagues. Mòran taing (many thanks)

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222 - 228 of 383 reviews

Reviewed 10 December 2013

I stayed at the Castlebay Hotel for one night in November 2013. I would recommend it unreservedly for a visit to this truly unique place. I booked a single room which had a backward facing "hillview" but which was perfectly adequate - especially at the reduced Winter rate. I had to laugh at looking out of the small bedroom windows at a little group of seagulls who were seated on the grass outside and being blown over at 45 degrees by the mega-strong wind. They stood their ground however!!

The arrival to Barra by plane is fantastic - great views on the way from Glasgow and landing on the beach is an experience not to be missed. Friendly café staff at the tiny airport and I simply cannot describe how fantastic this place is for peace and quiet - the drive to the hotel was amazing.

Hotel - nice friendly reception -separate pub / bar adjoining hotel open all day (I think) and lunchtime bar / restaurant in hotel itself. Very nice evening meal (I had lasagne) and FANTASTIC full breakfast. Good powerful shower, tea / coffee in room, and comfy bed with small but adequate TV to watch. Nice staff throughout. A jolly good hotel for the price paid.

And as for Barra? Words fail me - this place is amazing. Truly a world away from my home in Essex. Amazing beaches. Most things were closed for the Winter but I would recommend this little place 100% anyway. And on my return to the airport the taxi driver was amazing - pointing out many places of interest on the circular route round the island.

In conclusion - Castlebay Hotel - EXCELLENT. Isle Of Barra - EXCELLENT. I can say without doubt that I will return in Summer 2014 when things are a little less blustery!!!

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled solo
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2  Thank STILLSEARCHING2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Noel W, General Manager at Castlebay Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 11 December 2013

Its indeed a pleasure to read a review such as you have written. You have captured the essence of Barra and its people in your writing. Thank you on behalf of the inhabitants of Barra and of course my staff. A pleasure to look after you, and happy you enjoyed the hillside view. (nice also to see the seagulls entertained you :)). Hopefully on your return you will experience a sea-view room and see even more of the wonders of the Scottish Islands as you awake each morning. We all look forward to your return. Tapadh leat

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Reviewed 7 December 2013

Ok i did not stay in the hotel but i was at the start of a one month trek over the hebrides and the western highlands. I got to Castlebay at the start of a four day storm and looked for somewhere to pitch my tent away from the village but the wind was that bad i returned to the village and called in the Hotel for lunch ( fish and chips ) which was the best i have had anywhere staff were friendly and polite even though i was soaked and in my walking gear. I asked if they could recommend somewhere to pitch out of the wind, the young lady said i,ll check with the owner who came and found me in the public bar and told me i was welcome to pitch on the scrub ground owned by the hotel then came and found me the next day due to weather getting worse and all ferries cancelled for four days and told me he had made a bathroom in the hotel available for my use, im not suggesting he will do this for everybody camping but under the conditions it was a much appreciated gesture and when i return for a canoe trip next year i will be booking into the hotel minus the tent! the weather got worse as the trip went on though.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled solo
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1  Thank lostagainScarborough
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Noel W, General Manager at Castlebay Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 9 December 2013

I thank you for the kind review, and it certainly was no problem in providing you with Barra hospitality.
Although you were a brave sole as the winds on that day reached over 50 mph. :)
The owner himself would have done things no differently had he been here on your visit.
On behalf of all my team in the Castlebay bar and Hotel, we look forward to seeing you again on your next trip.

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Reviewed 22 October 2013 via mobile

Stayed with my wife and daughter for 2 nights, the staff were exceptional and the island had some if the best scenery we have ever experienced. Barra should definitely be on you list of visits before you pop your clogs, best to go off the beaten track to find the best beaches, as nice as the Bahamas, seeing he planes land on the beach is an experience also.

  • Stayed: October 2013
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Thank Colin1067
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Noel W, General Manager at Castlebay Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 2 November 2013

We are very happy that your stay with us was a pleasant one and look forward to your return visit.

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Reviewed 13 October 2013

Traditional hotel in Castlebay. Good position, great outlook from the restaurant overlooking the bay and Kisimul Castle Very good, attentive and helpful staff in restaurant, nothing too much trouble; lovely food, especially the ultra-fresh seafood.
Would stay again.
Recommended.

Room Tip: Get a room at the front, great outlook over Kisimul Castle.
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Michael P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Noel W, General Manager at Castlebay Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 2 November 2013

Its always nice to read that our guest enjoyed their visit with us, and on behalf of myself and the staff, thank you. Please come back and see us again soon.

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Reviewed 11 October 2013

Would you stay here if it was the last room in Castlebay? It was. And we did. So beggers can't be choosers, and our observations about a radiator that didn't work, curtains that fell down and no working central light were greeted with a welcome (and necessary) check-out discount. But these comments were also greeted with some surprise at the front desk, which suggested that guests are perhaps the only regular visitors to this poor excuse for a room. The rest of the hotel looks very nice, and attracts many 5-star reviews so perhaps we were unlucky. As for the guests whose cancellation let us in... they had the lucky escape.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank ConcreteBudgie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TerryMackay, Owner at Castlebay Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 15 October 2013

Dear ConcreteBudgie,

As you say, you were "lucky" to get a room because Barra was full that night, but unlucky in that the only room we had left was Room 7. It is awaiting re-furbishment which is planned to start very soon. However, we are addressing the points you made: new curtains and curtain rail are on order; the plumber (the only one on Barra) is coming to fix the radiator - meanwhile we have an electric radiator in use; and the central light problem was that it is a 2 way switch and both switches were in the off position.

So I hope you will come back next year to see the make-over of 4 rooms, new furniture, new carpets in the corridors etc. Then you can hopefully add to the 42% of reviewers who give us 5 stars!

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Reviewed 2 October 2013

Room very spacious and very clean a very central location on the island lovely views from conservatory over the bay. Had dinner in the restaurant every night food was amazing the best I've ever tasted. Am going to book again for next year.

  • Stayed: September 2013
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Thank cat1979_16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Noel W, General Manager at Castlebay Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 3 November 2013

There is nothing more satisfying to a Hotelier to hear when guest enjoy themselves. Thank you for taking the time and expressing your feelings via this medium. It was our pleasure to look after you on your recent visit and we all look forward to your return visit.

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Additional Information about Castlebay Hotel

Address: Castlebay, HS9 5XD, Scotland
Region: United Kingdom > Scotland > The Hebrides > Outer Hebrides > Isle of Barra
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Isle of Barra
Price Range: £45 - £133 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Overlooking the bay and Kisimul Castle, the hotel has 15 rooms, most with sea views, and the busiest restaurant on Barra. The hotel is the oldest on the island and the only one open all year round. We have a room specially designed for the less able-bodied. The hotel featured in the BBC TV series "An Island Parish".We are the only full service Hotel open year round on the Isle of Barra ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Castlebay Hotel Isle Of Barra, Scotland

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