Skye may be rugged and remote, but there’s certainly no need to give up life’s little luxuries during your stay on the island.
The Bracken Hide
It all sounds great in principle. You arrive at your scenic, secluded cabin in a remote corner of Scotland ready to get away from it all… until the rain starts pouring and you realise you are paying to be stuck in what is essentially a glamorous shed – with absolutely nothing to do.
It is precisely this kind of tourism model that is being shaken up by the owners of Skye’s newest hotel, the Bracken Hide.
At first glimpse, the hotel’s timber cabins that cover the hillside might look like the kind of glamping pods we’ve all seen before. But despite offering breathtaking views across the Sound of Raasay and the privacy of a personal terrace, the comparisons to traditional pods end there. For at the Bracken Hide, you can also enjoy all the amenities of a luxury hotel; including a high-end restaurant whisky/cocktail bar, cinema room, gaming area, wild plunge pool and Estonian sauna.
The facilities are housed in a central, architecturally striking hub that is just a few steps away from the cabins. It is also only 900 metres (or a ten-minute walk) to the centre of Portree, Skye’s largest town and capital. The aim, according to owner Charlie Garton-Jones, was to give guests “the best of both worlds”.
“People say they want a wilderness hotel,” he explains, “but they kind of don’t want to be in the wilderness. Our hotel is surrounded by rugged nature, but you are still connected to the town. People want wilderness, but they still want an expresso machine, underfloor heating and good wifi.”
Staying at Kinloch Lodge, on the shores of Loch Na Dal on Skye is a truly special experience. With looming hills behind, the shimmering loch in front and views of distant Knoydart, it’s a gorgeous spot in any weather.
White-washed Kinloch Lodge is a 16th-century hunting lodge, owned by Clan Macdonald. This year is celebrated 50 years as a hotel, opened by Godfrey Macdonald, High Chief of the Macdonalds, and his wife Claire who built the hotel’s enduring reputation for wonderful food. Today the hotel is run by their daughter Isabelle, and her children’s school photos mix with the ancestral oil paintings in what is still a family home. Guests are welcomed like old friends and made very comfortable by the fire – often quickly finding a drink in their hand.