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The Portree Hotel

Islands

Somerled Square, Portree, Isle of Skye. IV51 9EH.

Tel: 01478 612511

http://www.theportreehotel.com

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Our review

Dominating the main square of the Isle of Skye’s largest town, Portree, the eponymous hotel is a traditional stone-built property that dates from the late 19th Century. It’s said that the town’s Gaelic name, Port Rìgh, which translates as "King's Port", supposedly refers to a visit by Scotland’s King James V – accompanied by a fleet of warships – in 1540. The hotel is also steeped in local history and many members of the hotel’s young, local team will enthusiastically relate how their relatives (going back as far as great-grandparents!) have worked or frequented the establishment over the generations.

And one can see why. The greater portion of this recently renovated hotel’s ground floor is devoted to the Antlers Bar and Grill, a large and lively pub that remains very popular with Portree’s inhabitants. Although there are no kings to be found here today, this comfortable and well-lit area is complemented by Scottish design touches – such as the mounted antlers for which it is named – and will warmly welcome your very own ‘royal family’.

Utilising much local and Scottish produce, the hearty menu includes traditional ‘pub’ fare alongside more contemporary gastropub options such as ‘cold-cut’ sharing boards. True to its name, there’s a solid grill offering that includes Scotch venison, beef and salmon steaks; in addition to Isle of Skye lamb and an array of burgers. For the less carnivorous among you, vegetarian options are available (try the ‘Spiced Cous Cous and Pine Nut’ veggie burger!) as well as a children’s menu for those lucky enough to be under 12 years old. It’s worth noting that foodservice hours in the off-season are more limited (12pm-2:00pm lunch / 5:30pm-9pm dinner), however these are extended during the summer months.

Residents will also enjoy delicious, cooked-to-order breakfasts that are sure to set you up well for a day exploring the island. For a property in this price bracket, the hotel’s traditional Scottish breakfast menu has fantastic range: there are three different fish options (salmon, haddock and kippers); two vegetarian options; traditional cooked breakfasts and, of course, the Scots favourite – porridge served with your choice of cream, honey or both! If that’s not enough to whet your appetite, perhaps you can be enticed by the “Stornoway Black Pudding and Haggis Stack”, which is topped with smoky bacon, a poached egg and whisky dressing. It’s as good as it sounds.

Through double doors from the grill is the West Highland Bar, where one is greeted by a log burning stove, cosy booths and a fine array of malt whiskies, gins and beers of the cask, keg and bottled variety. On Saturday nights, live music is performed here on a small stage that, via some well-placed cameras and microphones, is shared throughout the ground floor’s televisions and PA system – a great touch.

Guests arriving at the property via the main reception door are greeted by the comforting aroma of the log-burning stove; a high wooden reception desk and fireside wing backed chairs add to a cosy, ‘country lodge’ theme which continues throughout the hotel’s public areas. Fittingly, on the first floor one will find the aptly named ‘Shooting Lodge’, a front facing and attractive lounge that is complete with an antler chandelier, tweed & leather furnishings and a series of large windows overlooking Somerled square. A peaceful alternative to the hubbub of the downstairs bar, the Shooting Lodge, its accompanying bar and adjacent dining room can be utilised for private events or simply relaxing with a drink while planning your next excursion.

Bedrooms themselves are of a much more modern style; however Scottish touches such as tweed cushions, curtains and chairs are accompanied by contemporary art depicting local landmarks; this all lends personality to the warm colour scheme, which is consistent throughout the rooms. Some even retain attractive exposed brickwork and fireplaces; while even the more compact top floor rooms feel cosy and well laid out. ‘Double Superior’ rooms are larger and have front facing windows, overlooking the square, while ‘Double Standard’ rooms are smaller, with side or rear facing windows. Only two family rooms are available, so be sure to book well in advance – especially during the high season. Bathrooms throughout are compact but modern, very well lit, and boast brand new fixtures – including well-proportioned, hot showers.

Of particular interest for the modern traveller, bedside sockets include USB charging slots in addition to the standard 3-pin plug sockets and all rooms include an iron and ironing board; hospitality trays and televisions equipped with Freeview. However it is worth knowing that due to the age of the building, Wi-Fi isn’t available in the rooms, but can be utilised in the downstairs public areas.

Overall the property offers a very friendly ‘town hotel’ experience, at a very attractive rate, a great atmosphere for those who want to stay up a little later getting to know the locals and a comfortable night’s sleep for those who’d rather recharge their batteries before tackling the next day’s activities.

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