The Summer Isles Hotel stands in the strung out village of Achiltibuie, some 10 miles north-west of Ullapool as the crow flies, but considerably further along the single track roads that extend west of the A835 in this part of Wester Ross. Achiltibuie is a sublime spot, offering spectacular views south-west over the Summer Isles, but it is not a village anyone ever comes to by accident. One very good reason why many people do find their way here is the excellent Summer Isles Hotel. This offers comfortable accommodation and excellent dining, combined with a small and lively bar offering food on a less formal basis. The hotel is open from a week before Easter to the end of October. You can read our dining review for the Summer Isles Hotel here.
The road through Achiltibuie trails along the gently sloping hillside some distance above the shore of Badentarbat Bay, and the Summer Isles Hotel can be found on the left or inland side roughly half way along the extensive length of the village. Residents' parking is immediately in front of the hotel, while a separate and larger parking area is available just beyond the hotel for those visiting the Summer Isles Bar.
You enter the hotel up steps to the front door, which brings you into a hallway. There are three main public rooms in the Summer Isles Hotel itself. To your right as you stand in the hall is the guest lounge. The comfortable chairs and sofas are arrayed around a room that occupies part of the original house, and this side of the large conservatory extension that has greatly enlarged the ground floor of the hotel. To the rear of the lounge is the whisky snug, a small bar whose shelves bear evidence to the hotel's commitment to all things Scottish. Here you can usually find the products of every distillery in Scotland, plus a number which are no longer in production: together with a range of other drinks.
To the left of the hall is the hotel restaurant. This again extends from the original house into the conservatory extension and, like in the lounge, the large windows and raised position of the hotel ensure truly magnificent views over the Summer Isles.
The Summer Isles Bar is attached to the side of the hotel. Here you find a small traditional public bar offering a wide selection of drinks, a small dining room, and a patio or beer garden. The bar is an essential stopping off point for anyone who finds their way to Achiltibuie.
Guest accommodation at the Summer Isles Hotel comes in a variety of different forms ranging from cosy log cabins to luxurious suites. There are three guest rooms on the upper floor of the main hotel itself. Further bedrooms are in extensions to the side of the hotel, including a grass roofed wood building and a row of traditional styled cottages. Meanwhile the log house suite is a detached house made entirely of Norwegian pine which sleeps 4; the boat house suite is a converted stone croft sleeping 2; and William's Cottage is a detached house two minutes' walk from the main hotel set in its own grounds which sleeps 6. Some of the accommodation can be let as self catering during winter months when the hotel is not open. Rooms are comfortably furnished and offer contemporary styling and good levels of equipment.
For an old building, disabled access is not bad. There is ramp access to the main hotel itself, and level access to the Summer Isles Bar, and there are disabled facilities. One guest room has level access and a nearby designated disabled parking place.
The Summer Isles Hotel is a Scottish hotel which over the decades has evolved a reputation for excellence that would be the envy of many. New owners took over in March 2008 with the stated aim of maintaining the style, traditions and ambience of the hotel. We found the Summer Isles to be a superb little hotel offering comfortable accommodation and outstanding dining, combined with very high standards of service. On the strength of our visit it seems safe to believe that there will remain a very good reason to visit Achiltibuie - beyond simply the beauty and seclusion of the place itself - for many more decades to come. You can read our dining review for the Summer Isles Hotel here.