More about Three Chimneys Restaurant With Rooms
Food is great, but the staff aren't very charismatic
The food is excellent - let's start with the postitives. Great seafood in an attractive dining room. However, the personal touch is what elevates the good to the sublime and they fall down on this. With the exception of two staff members all seemed pleasant, but distant and lacking in niceties. Dining room has absolutely no atmosphere - it's very dour...almost impossible to talk at your normal volume without sounding loud. Practically no personality in the owner or any of his staff. Charging £3.50 for a coffee after a £54 set menu seemed cheap to me. Constant commercialism also seemd tacky (their cookbook is in piles eveywhere - if you fancy making restaurant food all piled up at home). The air extraction in the bathroom was also poor, which leads to obvious problems. A constant, slightly rancid meat smell hung in the air all day, which I'd never expereineced before - odd. Breakfast was average and the porridge bad, which is a shame when you consider where you are. Charging £240 per night where a smile is so rare hurts - we would not go back. The Summer Isles hotel is in a different league and the room was £110 less!
Great food but generally poor otherwise
We spent three nights here at the start of a two-week holiday in the Hebrides and Highlands. We completely agree with one of the other reviewers. Yes, the food is great but the restaurant itself is basic, particularly the bar area which is very cramped with people often having the stand or go straight to their table. The staff are professional but very cold and distant, almost stand-offish. Our room was nice and very well appointed. Breakfast was a joke ... cold meats, fruit, cheese, etc. Cooked breakfast is not available. When we next visit Skye, we will undoubtedly stay elsewhere but would probably eat again at the Three Chimneys.
Didn't Want to Leave.
I booked the hotel in March as a 40th Birthday celebration for my husband in mid November. Friends have already viisted the hotel twice, so I was fairly confident we were going to have a good experience. I've been reading the reviews with interest, as I've been very much looking forward to my trip to the Three Chimney's.
Having returned yesterday, I can only assume the reviews with negative responses are written by people who in everyday life are terribly hard to please. We've visted some very nice hotels around the world and we agreed pretty quickly on arrival that the Three Chimney's ticks pretty much all the right boxes.
We were greeted by the receptionist who shook our hands and welcomed us with the offer of tea or coffee, brought to our room, with homemade cake. Our room was modern, calm, very cosy and spotlessly clean. The bathroom was well stocked with an excellent range of toiletries and even a candle to light, should you wish to soak in a bath.
As for the restaurant, well yes the bar area is tiny, however it certainly means interaction with other diners. Is that such a bad thing? Hey, other people can be interesting! If you're looking for a quick meal, forget it. This is a gastranomic experience and it should be savoured. The food is wonderful, the staff were extremely friendly, not at all distant or stuffy. We didn't at any tme feel we had to whisper, in fact three of our tables were chatting freely. I wouldn't even describe the decor as basic. It's very nicely done, the attention to detail in the restaurant and rooms are first class. Let's remember, it's an old stone cottage in the middle of an island. If you want modern, go elsewhere.
Whilst we were at dinner, our room and bathroom was tidied and the bed remade, very impressive.
One review mentioned the disappointment in a lack of cooked breakfast. Well, true, some people do like a full Scottish whilst on holiday. However, there was certainly no lack of alternatives, the porridge with cream and brown sugar being a fine stand in. The range of cheese, homemade breads, fruits, well I've honestly not seen a spread like it.
The only slight downside I feel, is that the more plaudits they receive, the more expensive it will become. Yes it is pricey, but if you don't mind paying for quality then treat yourself! I'd be back for Hogmanay if I could afford it and if the six rooms weren't already full. It was wonderful.
Three Chimneys...not worth the money
I had read rave reviews about the Three Chimneys and was looking forward to trying the food there, but was disappointed to find that it offered the very worst of London snobbery. My wife and I (we are both doctors) visited the restaurant after a day's walking near Neist Point. We hadn't booked, so arrived at the Three Chimneys en spec. We weren't dressed up the the nines, but that still didn't warrant the look of disdain the owner gave us when we walked through the door. 'You do know what we do in here, don't you?' was his response when we asked if he had any tables available. We were eventually shown to a table next to the lavatories (after being stung for two exorbitantly-priced gin and tonics. Our waiter attended us with barely-disguised contempt, all because, I suspect, we were dressed informally. The food, when it arrived was good, but I have had better in many restaurants. The fact that the restaurant was also deathly quiet also made for an uncomfortable eating experience, and we couldn't get out of there. As a professional, I didn't enjoy being judged by a waiter on how I dressed, and I won't be back.
Hugely impressive restaurant
This place seems to provoke some differing opinions, but our experience (of the restaurant- we didn't stay here) was wholly positive. We ate here twice during our week on Skye, booking a second time because we so enjoyed the first. Both times the food was delicious- with good fresh local ingredients imaginatively deal with- the service impeccable and friendly and the whole evening hugely pleasant.
We didn't experience an iota of the 'coldness' remarked on elsewhere: a warm welcome- and they remembered our names second time round- then sitting in the little snug by a warm stove with a first drink, chatting to the staff and other customers set the tone for both evenings and was a much warmer experience than in most restaurants I've been to. That said, the decor and ambience are surprisingly 'smart' by comparison with many places locally and a bit of a surprise given the place is off the beaten track: people tend to dress up a bit to go there and you might feel slightly out of place if you turned up expecting something very informal.
It's always hard to make comparisons, but I think the food in this place is hugely 'serious' in a foodie sense and stands comparison with that in many famous and in-vogue restaurants in London and elsewhere. Add to that the fact they manage to pull it off in such a remote (and beautiful) location and I think if you're a food lover you should enjoy this place a great deal. On the other hand, if the thought of £45 for a three-course menu has you starting to bristle already then you probably ought to go somewhere else...
I have long been searching for an establishment which ticks all the boxes and this is it. So many of the places we have stayed in have been lovely, however there has always been a "it was lovely.....BUT" for example things like hairs left in the bathroom, grotty tiling, uncomfy bed, snooty staff or horrible food.
This place was magical, from the minute we arrived till the minute we left, I could not find one thing to complain about (which is unusual for me!)
The staff were all very polite, not snooty at all, Sarah who welcomed us, was very helpfull and friendly, the other staff acknowledged us with a smile or a hello. The rooms were very comfortable and spacious, beautifully decorated and clean, everything you needed on hand with a small library of books, games, CD's and DVD's to be borrowed from reception. Lovely veiws from the french doors leading out to a garden area with a stream running through and a seat for you to enjoy the view over the bay.
The restaurant was also an excellent experience, we sat in the cosy bar for a drink whilst we looked over the menu and ordered, we found you could have a chat with the other diners or keep your self to your self if you wished, we were served little cheese shortbread fish with our drinks, then were shown to our table. I quite like to try new things, and the menu certainly offers the experience to try something new - dont think I could be a proper toff as I wasnt too keen on the quials egg and caviar but the side of smoked salmon was beautifull, as was the venison - my husband had langustine and then monkfish wrapped in ayrshire bacon with scallops, then some of my venison which melted in the mouth. The sweets and coffee were also first rate - the hot marmalade pudding - YUM. I knew that the food was fresh as I saw one of the kitchen staff, bringing through a lobster from the pantry to the kitchen. We were also served little pre course meals, like chilled carrot soup and lemon somethingorother with homemade gingerbread.
You are served tea or coffee with whisky fruit loaf on arrival if you wish, there is also tea and coffee making facilities with fresh milk in the fridge of the mini bar to use. The mini bar was reasonably priced and restocked whilst you are at dinner and the room is tidied and the bed turned down. There was fruit and chocolates on arrival in the room.
Breakfast was also magnificant, a lovely view from the morningroom, a good selection of fruit, cerial, cheese and meats (smoked venison, duck and ham) fresh coissants also, home made bread toasted and tea coffee, fresh orange juice, cranberry juice and apple juice, this set us up for the long journey home. The moringin room is quite, but again it doesnt have to be, you can if you wish chat with fellow guests or keep your self to your self without speaking in hushed tones. The one thing I do have to complain about was leaving, we will certainly return.
Three Chimneys has such an ego
I have read very mixed reviews of food and the attitude at this place and was very interested to try it for myself. The setting of the restaurant and hotel is beautiful but then Skye does have a repuation for this. This does not disapoint.
Ive got to say however that the Three Chimneys did disappoint.
I made a booking weeks earlier and when i rang to confirm, the staff were so offhand and even rude and made me hold for ages. When they did reconfirm I really felt that they couldn't care less about me. The service to begin with was so unprofessional and for the prices they charge here was way off the mark. The food was very average and it was like no effort was made to create any atmosphere. Me and my guest felt like the staff were doing us a favour by letting us be there! Hello! London prices demand London service. I always judge an establishment by the washrooms and to be frank, they were rather grubby, and this is my overall impression of this place. There are other places to eat on Skye but I think Three Chimneys thinks it's the only one which it may have been years ago. Times have changed and so should they. Employ some people who ARE interested in providing a professional service to customers. If they want to attract an international and discerning clientele, they need to step up to the mark and lose the attitude.
Nice scenery, shame about the restaurant!!
Very good but expensive
I'm not entirely sure where people get the idea that staff at the Three Chimneys are rude from. I can only imagine these people go in with an attitude in the first place - a conclusion easy to come to when people demand 'respect' when they're paying so much money. Respect is a two way street.
I had a message left on my phone to reconfirm my booking and when I called there was no hint of rudeness or ego.
This is the fourth time we've eaten at the Three Chimneys and we have always found the staff approachable and pleasant - this time even finding time to joke with my girlfriend's father when he ordered a half-bottle of wine instead of a full one by mistake, and being only too willing to return with the wine list to make another choice.
The food is good. Not earth shattering it must be said, but very good. And yes I have eaten as good food or better for less money, but this place is about so much more, with an excellent location, and a lovely building in which to eat.
I can imagine some being over-awed by the 'atmosphere' and so finding it a touch oppressive, but all I can say to those thinking of eating there is that if you relax and talk normally rather than whispering there will be no evil glances directed your way. Two of the tables opposite us started engaging in a long, friendly conversation and no-one batted an eyelid.
This restaurant is simply what you make it. This is Skye, not London, so expecting London 'service' (if that is a good thing) for this price with deferential staff and a rude sommelier is only going to end in disappointment. But if you go expecting good food, in a great location, and with your friendly face on you will have a lovely and relaxed evening.
I wold say overall that it is a touch overpriced, but I have always enjoyed it.
How does this place keep going?
I'm glad other people here experienced the same problems with staff rudeness at the Three Chimneys that our party of six did, and it's not personal! The owner of this restaurant could barely stir himself from behind the bar to greet us when we arrived, and when we left he simply didn't bother to even raise his head or say goodbye. The food was reasonably good, although nothing special, but served in such a churlish manner, in a atmosphere so reminiscent of a morgue, that it was difficult to enjoy.
Wonderful return visit
Having booked to revisit The Three Chimneys after a fantastic stay in 2002, we had been tracking the reviews on TripAdvisor with some nervouseness over the last few months. We loved it originally but feared the worst from the poor reviews mixed in with the good on the TripAdvisor site. Thankfully, none of the criticisms we'd read here was what we experienced this last week. Shirley and Eddie Spear, the owners, were very much in evidence and greeting visitors with a friendly chat, recommendations of places to visit and explanations of where the ingredients are sourced. Young staff at Reception were equally enthusiastic and charming. On a rainy night, one even insisted on running over to the restaurant to retrieve one of their guest umbrellas so we could walk the few metres from the rooms to the restaurant without getting wet !
We arrived at The Three Chimneys on our first day to find a very warm welcome with friendly reception staff successfully juggling twin processes of serving tea for us with serving early supper tea for a young 4 year old visitor. Our room was spacious and so relaxing with a serene view out over the loch. It's a long old drive and this was just what we needed to find at the end of it ! Rooms have a lovely sofa, easy chair, huge bed, minibar, plasma TV with CD and DVD player, fruit, shortbread, tea-making facilities. All of it nicer than so many corporate upmarket hotels. But this isn't a hotel, more like a restaurant with rooms so don't pay too much heed to whinges about the kind of services it does / doesn't provide. The rooms are perfect and very stylishly done.
Welcomes in the bar and the restaurant in the evening were equally warm and courteous. Drinks arrived promptly and when we asked, great recommendations of good value wines to accompany both meals (we stayed 2 nights); these were absolutely spot-on. We weren't rushed and our 8:30 booking was well timed on both nights; there was no sense of being rushed or that others had been; pauses between courses were accommodated and everyone else around us seemed to be enjoying their meals too. Staff were delighted to pour our wine and equally happy to leave us to pour it for ourselves as we prefer.
The dining rooms might appear quite stark to some, with stone walls and locally designed dark wood tables and chairs, but the whole setting provides the comfort in which you can eat the freshest and tastiest dishes. Crab, langoustines, salmon, halibut, cullin skink (a kind of haddock chowder) were gorgeous. If heavy draped tablecloths and fancy silverware are your thing, maybe this isn't the place for you. There are no pretensions just fantastic food and very good service.
In a different hotel, earlier in our trip, we'd overheard a guest there complaining about the lack of full cooked breakfast / boiled egg at The Three Chimneys when he'd stayed. The breakfasts may be cold continental in style, but they are gorgeous - fresh fruit, cereals, locally smoked fish and meat, a good range of local cheeses, fruit juices, berries, yoghurt, porridge if you want it.
Three Chimneys is definitely up there with some of the very best Mich** restaurants in Europe - we've been lucky enough to experience them. If the issue identified in TA reviews really is one of consistency, it needs sorting but we have nothing but praise for Shirley and Eddie Spear and their team. I'd say our 2006 experience was even better than the 2002 one and we're hoping it won't be 4 years before we travel back there again.