More about Kinloch Lodge Hotel
Not good enough for the money
My wife and I recently stayed here for two nights and overall we were rather disappointed. The location (on the shore of Loch Na Dal) was beautiful, and the room we were in (in the newer Lodge) had stunning views out to the Sound of Sleat and to the mountains of Knoydart. The Hotel had a very friendly atmosphere and the Staff were extremely helpful.
However, given the overall cost of our brief stay, we felt that we were buying a 'privilege' rather than an 'experience'. The new Lodge was very close to the old one, and in many respects it is the nicer place to stay, with superior views to be had from its loch facing rooms. Nevertheless, it was looking very 'tired' from some parts of the exterior, with rusted window frames and stains on the paintwork. The 'Conservatory' or 'Greenhouse' or 'Sun Lounge' (???) attached to the building was full of old boxes, pieces of cardboard, all covered in cobwebs, and looked almost forgotten!
Inside, our room was also in need of some re-decoration. The windows struggled to open (one of the frames seemed to be broken), and the furniture looked well-worn to say the least. The Bathroom was better, but it was in need of modernisation.
The main Lounge in the old Lodge was very pleasant indeed, but closer inspection revealed old pieces of glass left lying close to the windows.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment was with the food and the arrangements for eating it. Everyone goes into Dinner at the same time, and the seating arrangements are, in some cases, rather cramped. Our table for two was immediately next to another one, and although we thoroughly enjoyed two nights conversation with two different pairs of people, it was impossible to have a quiet, private conversation on our own. There was also table for two positioned, on its own, by the wall adjacent to the entrance to the dining room. Not a place where anyone would wish to be seated for dinner. This added to our general impression that guests were being crammed in to maximise profits. The Food was perfectly good to eat, but my wife referred to it as 'School Dinner food'. It looked as though it had been thrown onto the plate in a mad rush to get everyone served as quickly as possible, and there was far too much of it in each course (I had to go without my suite on one evening because I was too full after my main course), and without being picky, it was not of the quality that you would expect considering the price that you were paying. Maybe we were unlucky on the two nights that we were there, but in our view, the food and the arrangements for eating it, and the lay out in the dining room, all definitely need to be improved.
Our experience was perhaps summed up by one of the paintings in the dining room. It was a beautiful portrait in a lovely frame, and was there for everyone to view and to enjoy, but it was left hanging badly torn as if no-one really wanted to get to grips and make a real effort to mend it and restore it fully to a condition worthy of its heritage.
A lovely location it is, but Kinloch Lodge is in need of some re-vamping, and my wife and I felt that it was much too expensive considering the overall quality of what you received.
Disappointing and overpriced
I stayed one night at Kinloch Lodge, in the main building. I have mixed feeling about the place. I guess I would have liked it for a simple B&B but I didn't like it at all as a hotel. It's outrageously expensive for what you get.
The room had a very nice view but it was kind of shabby, the bathroom was kind of repulsive too. Not to mention the brown water coming from the taps. I know it is Scotland but really, I've stayed in more remote and older houses in the Highlands but it is the first time I had to take a bath in tea coloured water. I know it's not unhealthy, it's just not appealing when you're charged £195/$370 for one person with dinner!!!
I was expecting much more for dinner considering the hostess is apparently a well-known cook and writer of recipe books. A carrot soup, cold scallops with honey and a sort of greek yoghurt, and slices of beef on japanese noodles (too salty) with gratin dauphinois (potatoes). Potatoes and noodle, odd combination! It was all right, but definitely not special. And peat water again in a jug! Disgusting.
The dining room and next door sitting room are the 2 nice rooms of the house.
Well, I guess you pay for the Macdonald name and title! But it's overpriced and almost a rip-off. I'm willing to pay high prices when it's justified and I payed less for very well-known tables in beautiful small hotels in Scotland. And I'm titled too!
I cannot contest that this accommodation is beautifully located and the accommodations comfortable, but having been assured that - and I quote - "We have noted your dietary requirements" (vegetarian and gluten intolerance), no gluten-free alternatives were offered.
Having made the decision to 'splurge' on this particular accommodation and being assured that my requirements had been noted, I was significantly disappointed - particularly as the owner is the author of many cook books.
I guess my expectations had been raised higher than they should have been, considering everything else about the place was so good.
Very poor food in a great atmosphere
During our trip to the Isle of Skye we had lunch at Kinloch Lodge. After reading the books of Mrs McDonald, we expected a real treat. When we arrived, we received a warm welcome and were seated in the drawing room to have a drink and to order our meals.
Everything was alright until we were seated in the dining room and got our meals.
I had ordered "Skye seafood au gratin". I expected a variety of prawns, salmon, etc. baked into a nice, hot gratin.
What I got was simply a large blurp of mashed potatoes that contained four little bits (no kidding - four!!!) of fish, probably haddock, which were full of fishbones. There was a bit of creamy sauce and a handfull of salad leaves over it. The meal was served at little more than room temperature and accompanied by a single large prawn.
My father had the same dish with three pieces of fish and even more fishbones, but his was ice cold, like it had just been pulled out of the fridge.
The price for the "seafood" was around 13 Pounds.
My mother had ordered "Hot smoked salmon and fishcake" (something like that). What she got was similar to the seafood. It was a large baked ball of mashed potato with a little strip of salmon here and there. Price: around 11 Pounds.
So, for almost 40 Pounds (That's 60 Euro), we got a lot of potatoes in different varieties that tasted a little fishy. I guess we payed for the privilege of being served by the clanchief's wife. This place lives from its good name (whyever it got that) and posh atmosphere.
If you are on Skye and want to eat some nice seafood, better go to Portree to one of the many fish restaurants. They may not be as poncy as Kinloch, but you get what you ordered for a reasonable price!
Rooms good, food disappointing and uninteresting
This hotel is beautifully situated and the staff are friendly, however the food is extremely disappointing given that the proprietor is so well known for her excellent cookery books. The tables in the dining room are extremely close to each other and there is no chance of having a discrete conversation. This is a hotel which is suitable for those looking to meet others but not so for romantics wanting a discrete time.
My wife and I enjoyed a 2 week vacation on the Isle of Skye early May'06. During our stay we lunched twice at Kinloch Lodge and absolutely thoroughly enjoyed it on both occasions. First time round we had Pea, Mint and Pear soup to start, followed by Moroccan Lamb and Oxtail & Kidney Pie for main. The soup was exquisite, we could have enjoyed it all through the day until an ambulance arrived to take us away due to the effects of wanton gluttony. The main courses were great stuff too - good quality wholesome cooking of fine ingredients minus the meaningless modern day obsession with fancily arranged high rise food which seems to have more in common with the cat walk than the palette. Second time around we had the Goats Cheese Salad to start, Fish Cakes for main, helped down by Ice Cream for my wife, Chocolate Torte for me. We savoured every mouthful. The ice cream was good enough to quarrel for - quite a superb experience, bordering on the sensual. If choosing the Ice Cream at the end of dinner, you may be well advised to take it up to the bedroom. As we shared our ice cream, we had to apologise tongue in cheek to our neighbouring diners for our "when Harry met Sally" ooh's and ah's. They understood perfectly - they were foodies too - they just grinned at us while they did the same with their chosen desserts.
The welcome you receive at Kinloch Lodge is almost overwhelming, disarmingly warm, friendly and completely 100% open and unpretentious. When you step into Kinloch you are stepping into someone's home. The Macdonalds welcome you as such. In fact, the welcome, hospitality and generosity we received from Tom and Isobella during our two visits was impeccable, beyond scrutiny.
I read previous comments saying that some of the dining tables are a little close, precluding a private conversation. Yes, some of the dining tables are a wee bit close, but to be honest, how many restaurants can you really have a private conversation in? I assume that I am overheard in all of them to be quite frank so it didn't bother me in the slightest. The atmosphere of the lounges is exquisite - peaceful and timeless. In them, you are surrounded by the precious sentimental keepsakes belonging to the Macdonald family - handed down over the generations. You really are welcomed and trusted at this place.
And yes, eating there is not cheap but then good, well sourced ingredients aren't cheap either. I think some people are wrong footed by the presentation of the food which is quite plain and unfussy. A man on a galloping horse might mistake it for pub food because it does not shout at you to grab your attention - it's not showy. But this is food for the palette, not food for the catwalk. And that is what suits us down to the ground. This approach is perfectly in step with the unpretentious and completely welcoming hospitality at Kinloch. Those requiring the formal high church restaurant experience are best advised to head south to the Dorchester, the Savoy, or Claridges and float back and forth along the Thames in a sight-seeing boat for their one week or two week vacation.
During our first lunch visit we had a look at the newly renovated rooms in the old lodge building (housing the restaurant) overlooking the loch. They were roomy and well appointed, and yes to confirm a previous observation, one of them did indeed house a rather plain wardrobe. What shock and horror. How is one to cope I ask? Again, all I can say is to point out that this is an unpretentious place. Sure, the rooms aren't cheap either, but then it strikes me that the MacDonalds are ploughing their takings back into the business rather than into life's frivolous vulgarities.
So taken were we with Kinloch Lodge and the Macdonald hospitality that we planned to return to stay there in 2007, but alas this is not to be. That said, there is nothing more certain than we will return there. It's just a question of time.
Longer term, we hope to retire to the Isle of Skye. If that grand plan comes off then I envisage Kinloch Lodge being a regular fixture in our diary. Great place.
Superb Food in Glorious Setting
My husband and myself were lucky enough to stay in this glorious place. It is a cosy, warm home with some of the most delicious food we had ever eaten.
From the moment we arrived we were made to feel like proper guests. The staff looked after our every need and nothing was too much trouble.
I cannot wait for our return visit in 2007 - already booked!
Nothing was too much trouble
The hotel is in a wonderful isolated location on the edge of the loch. It is in the South and possibly more scenic part of the island between the bridge and the ferry
The rooms, both private and public, are very comfortable.
The staff were the most helpful and accommodating we have come across. Everything was done with a smile!
The food and the wine were first class. There is a kitchen shop on site and they run cookery classes peridically.
Yes expensive, but worth it!
Please don't let other reviews here put you off going to Kinloch Lodge as I almost did. Yes it is fairly expensive but the service here was by far and away the best I have ever experienced and bearing in mind I've been traveling at least once a month the past five years on business, I know good service when I get it.
The food is great, maybe not to everyone's taste, but if you can't work out when you've eaten too much then maybe its a sign you need to take a bit more control in your life and either a) skip a course or b) don't eat as much! I've eaten at several Michelin star restaurants and whilst it may not be quite at that level it is exceedingly good.
The building. Its old, accept it. Yes there are pictures that have a couple of holes in them (my girlfriend never noticed them), the outside may look a little bit tired, but if you've been exposed to the type of weather we had in November for the past 400 years you would't be looking too great either!
In summary if you like hotels with old characterful buildings, great food, fantastic location and wonderful staff then go to Kinloch. Otherwise go and find the local Hilton.
Absolutely Superb, Location, Food, Rooms , Staff
My husband bid for this generously gifted auction prize as part of my Birthday gift. 3 nights Dinner B&B, plus 2 mornings of Cookery Demos .He knew my fondness for Claire MacDonald’s recipes in The Scotsman every Saturday.
To say it far exceeded my expectations would be an understatement! David the Manager gave us a lovely welcome and showed us to our room in Kinloch Lodge - annex to the hotel. We had a lovely large cosy room with fantastic view, large cosy bed and Egyptian Cotton luxury robes. On returning to our room after dinner, lovely small candles had been lit , a wonderful romantic touch! Our beautiful drawing room, with open cosy , crackling log fire was tastefully furnished , with magical family portraits, it was both luxurious and relaxing. A well-stocked honesty bar complimented the ambiance! The staff were friendly, welcoming and relaxed. However, they delivered top class customer service. The food was divine, fresh local produce, excellent portions, served on piping hot plates! For lovers of food and cooking, the cookery demonstrations were inspiring, and hilarious! Claire MacDonald is a lady in every sense of the word; she exudes warmth and humour and can talk on any subject thrown into the arena. Had she not been a cook she could have become a fantastic politician! Her assistant / accomplice Minty is equally warm and humorous. The two of them together are one great double act! The 3 hours passed in a flash and we all enjoyed tasting the marvelous food at the end of the demos. Tips abounded and conversations flowed. My husband has recently started cooking and was so inspired he practically bought everything from her small, but very well stocked shop! The Location of Kinloch is Outstanding ... Romantic, Tranquil and completely Relaxing. Can't wait until we return again.... Thank you to the MacDonald Clan and all Staff at Kinloch! Five Stars with Bells on!!