The Kylesku Hotel stands in the small village of Kylesku, some 30 miles north of Ullapool and reached from it via the good quality roads which have been carved through the landscape of the north west Highlands in recent decades. The hotel enjoys an utterly sublime setting overlooking Loch Glencoul and Loch Glendhu, and it is great to be able to report that it fully does justice to its location: offering outstanding food, excellent service and comfortable accommodation. The hotel is open from early March to late October each year. You can read our dining review for the Kylesku Hotel here.
The observant visitor will notice there is a date stone showing "1883" on the outside of the hotel. Parts of the building are actually two centuries older dating back to a drovers' inn built here in the 1680s to serve highlanders moving their cattle from grazing further north to markets in central Scotland. The cattle would have to swim across the neck of the loch at Kylesku, while the drovers crossed by boat. From the 1800s a more formal ferry (though probably still a rowing boat) carried passengers across the narrowest part of the loch here, and in more recent times its successors landed traffic from the far north at the slipway immediately below the hotel.
As part of the road improvements along this coast, the beautiful Kylesku Bridge opened in 1984 and the Kylesku Ferry ceased operations. Through traffic was taken out of the village, though it is a well signposted diversion of only a few hundred yards from the main road for anyone wanting to enjoy Kylesku and its hotel. Being at the end of the road, the Kylesku Hotel enjoys a marvellous sense of peace and tranquility which was never possible when the ferry operated from here. Now you can wander the area in front of the hotel without risk from ferry traffic, simply enjoying the occasional comings and goings at the slipway or taking in the views over the loch or to the south west, towards the towering bulk Quinag.
The hotel entrance is set roughly in the centre of the frontage and accessed via a set of stone steps up from the the road opposite the head of the slipway. Towards the far end of the hotel is the bar entrance, which can be more easily accessed than the main entrance, though still with some steps both into the bar and then into the rest of the hotel. The main hotel entrance leads into the reception lobby. From here a door leads to the left into the guest lounge. This is in two parts. To the rear is a wonderfully snug area where you can sit round the wood burning stove, while to the front a conservatory style extension offers comfortable seating and the chance to sit back and enjoy the marvellous scenery and the birds and, occasionally, otters that call the loch home.
To the right of the entrance lobby is the hotel's restaurant. The front part of this is also within the conservatory extension, and as a result many of the tables benefit from the marvellous views. Carrying on through the dining room brings you to the hotel's bar. This is split level, offering an upper area for bar meals and informal dining: and the lower area, focusing on the welcoming and superbly stocked bar itself.
The Kylesku Hotel has eight double/twin guest rooms, some benefitting from those wonderful loch views. Six of the rooms are en suite and two have their own private facilities. A family room offers a 6ft wide bed and bunks. Rooms are located either on the ground floor of the accommodation wing, which extends to the south of the hotel above the road; in the attic above it; or in an annex. All rooms have flat screen TVs, hair dryers and tea and coffee making facilities. New owners took over the Kylesku Hotel late in 2009, and have since done much to upgrade the accommodation, especially the bathrooms: and further improvements are planned.
Kylesku is a place we've been passing through or visiting since the end of the 1970s, when the bridge approaches were under construction but the ferry was still in operation. As a result the Kylesku Hotel has been part of our personal landscape of Scotland for decades, and we have stayed here and eaten here at various times over that period. It is good to find that it continues to offer a comfortable place to stay combined with an enjoyable bar, great people and outstanding food. You can read our dining review for Kylesku Hotel here. And did we mention the views?