A lovely old-school hotel many miles from any town, set in spectacular landscape. Anja was a friendly and helpful host, and our room (Hope) was charming with a gigantic and comfortable bed. Nice breakfast, dinner and a good selection of single malts. Would recommend.
We arrived early at this wonderfully located hotel, in the middle of the ‘Flow’, that huge area of peat plateau, to find that we had booked for a month later! Fortunately, Alan had one room left. And a lovely room it was, spacious, beautifully furnished, and quiet, with a bath tub with plenty of hot water. Our dinner was really excellent, scallops followed by beef, and chocolate tart to finish. This place is a gem, favoured by fishermen, and with an efficient and hard working staff. It deserves support!
We booked two rooms for an overnight stay. On arrival we found only 1 room was booked with no space in the hotel for our second room.
The manager/owner took no responsibility for his mistake and offered no apology. We had received an email to confirm the booking yet nothing......
Room was nice and bathroom clean. However there was the most awful noise in the water system which sounded like a hammer drill!! Went on and off all night as other guests used their bathrooms.
The above spoilt our stay and we will not return.
We were looking for a base for a 4 day break in Sutherland with our dog. A short email exchange with the owner to confirm that dogs were allowed (everywhere except the restaurant) and we booked.
The hotel appears to be in the middle of nowhere and not much to look at driving past but it's a real gem. Its south of Tongue so about 30 mins off the main NC500 route which is a good thing. Easy to get to and with good availability. The staff are wonderful - we were checked in by Anya, who was very efficient and helpful.
We dined in the Ghillies Bar where dogs are allowed and the menu was the same as the restaurant (it will change slightly later in the season). A very friendly bar frequented by one of the local Ghillies (Walter) who is a great font of local knowledge while Isla and Anya worked incredibly hard to keep the bar and the restaurant on track.
I don't know who the chef is but the menu offers a good selection of superbly prepared food. The scallops and seafood bisque was outstanding. Breakfast was hearty and set us up well for a day of exploring.
The hotel itself has an old world feel and charm with several open fires, plenty of chairs/armchairs and a few sitting areas. There's also no doubt of its heritage as a fishing/hunting lodge. Walter appeared to be much in demand as a fishing guide.
The room was very comfortable and well appointed. Its not the most modern hotel but we expected that and were actually delighted with what we got.
We used the hotel as a base for hillwalking (Ben Hope in the sunshine was a treat) and exploring the north coast. We always returned to the hotel looking forward to a comfortable, relaxing evening. The people make the difference and there's no doubt that Anya and Isla worked hard to make sure that everyone enjoyed their stay. Hopefully the hotel will have a great season as the world recovers.
We'll definitely be back - there's another Munro on the list!
Altnaharra is not somewhere you go by accident, or because you want the kind of hospitality experience you would get in a modern city centre hotel. It's extremely remote and the village has few permanent residents, the school having closed a few years ago. But as a base for walkers and fisherfolk (we were there to climb the two Munros), it has a special charm. It is 25 years since I stayed in this hotel and I realised that its lack of modernisation (for example, it lacks matching cosmetic sets - see other review) is one reason I like it.
Our bedrooms were warm and comfortable and my bathroom was clean and functional, with a good shower.
Two positive things stood out:
1) The evening meals were really excellent. We worked through most of the main courses over 3 nights and the lamb, beef and filleted haddock were all very good, with substantial portions and tasty vegetable accompaniments. The desserts were great too, though we usually just had a starter and main. I don't know (we didn't ask) if there were vegan / veggie options.
2) We got a great welcome from Anya who presented a rare combination of kindness, efficiency (re. billing) and humour (about the slightly strange nature of the place). She is overworked and the Covid crisis has not been kind to places like Altnaharra but she is doing her very best in difficult circumstances.
Picnic lunches were priced by item which suited us, letting us add a sandwich to the fruit and snacks which we had brought with us without building up spare bottles of mineral water etc. Thermoses of soup were available and would have been welcome in colder conditions.
In summary, Altnaharra is in a slightly precarious position, generally and especially now because of the pandemic. It lies off the beaten track (the North Coast 500) but is within range of excellent day trips to the Far North.
I am glad such places exist. The good food was a pleasant surprise. It deserves to survive.