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All reviews summer isles log cabin dining room wine list amuse bouche cheeseboard fine dining before dinner seafood platter spacious bathroom stunning views langoustines local produce superb location the pub first class long drive
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Reviewed 14 July 2021

This superb independent hotel was the highlight of our 8 night trip up to and around the Scottish Highlands and I am sorry our schedule did not allow us to stay longer than one night. We arrived after a day of driving nearly 100 miles of the most stunning, but challenging, coastline of the north-west highlands to be greeted by a genuinely lovely young lady (the General Manager) as if we were old friends. This small hotel is elegantly but casually decorated, fitting its location perfectly and making us feel as comfortable as we are in our own home. However, the real star of this show was the view of the Summer Isles from our room at the front of the main building (Room 6, the Irvine Room) as we were blessed by arriving on a calm, sunny and warm day. The food was predominantly fish and seafood, as you would expect in this location, and was some of the best food we have ever eaten. The General Manager, who we found out later was still completing her hospitality university course, took our dinner order and, when asked, recommended the perfect wine for our meal and preferences (we don't usually drink whites but this was delicious). After sleeping well, breakfast was equally good and all served by a very young staff (didn't see anyone over the age of 25-ish). At all times we received excellent 5 star service with a modern friendly attitude. I applaud these young people and whoever is training them. I should recommend this hotel to everyone but want to keep this idyllic place a secret for us to escape to in the future! 'Til next time...

Room tip: Room 6 (the Irvine Room) at the front of the main building has the most wonderful view across to the Summer Isles.
Date of stay: July 2021
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
2  Thank 499lorenh
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simon Cotton, Owner at The Summer Isles Hotel and Restaurant, responded to this reviewResponded 16 July 2021

Hello 499lorenh, Many thanks for taking the time write a review. The whole team will be delighted to read your words. It has been a steep "learning curve" over the last 9 weeks and I am so pleased that the friendly/"can do" attitude was evident throughout your stay. We have a great team. I can't promise to keep the hotel secret but the location, tranquility, food and people will remain first class. Don't leave it too long before you return. Best wishes. Simon Cotton

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Reviewed 11 July 2021 via mobile

Wonderful service, very kind staff and a wonderful chef. Burgers were cooked perfectly and didn’t take long to prepare. Amazing seafood platter and any problems were sorted quickly. Very good quality food and a wonderful view of the sea. Amazing

Date of stay: June 2021
Trip type: Travelled with friends
Thank Quest01483518190
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simon Cotton, Owner at The Summer Isles Hotel and Restaurant, responded to this reviewResponded 13 July 2021

Hello Quest. What a lovely review - thank you. Liv is delighted and the chefs have a copy on the wall! Best wishes. Simon Cotton

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Reviewed 10 July 2021 via mobile

This is one of the prettiest venues for a romantic evening, sitting in the last vestiges of the evening sun drinking Kir
Fortunately the brought a Kir Royale unfortunately we had ordered Kirs
But you suck it up because the suns warm
and the evening perfect

The menu was short. Three choices in each section
The starters looked good but

The beef carpaccio also had beef tartare and therefore raw food
The langoustine looked great but likewise they were described as tartare and then the scallops had a raw oyster
So
I would have loved cooked langoustine, or carpaccio of beef or scallops with a cooked oyster but there was nothing that was not raw

So I had 1.5 scallops for £19 They just omitted the oyster

The bread was cold damp and stodgy

Dinner was confusing
There was venison which was perfectly cooked
And turbot likewise
There was an option to have boiled potatoes and mashed parsnip which neither of us eat
I did ask for green beans but the answer was no

So we assumed that there would be enough dinner to eat
There was not Absolutely not

If I were being picky I would say the orange crisp thing tasted of nothing and the gravy standard stock, although good, not game stock

And the smear of what might have been carrot was wasted as I did not guess

So all all we gave it up as a bad job
There were beautiful langoustine being taken past us to the Bistro room and other delicious looking food but we could only have what was prepared in advance earlier
It is a pity the menu with explanation as to what it is is not to be found on the website

We travelled a long way to get there as my husband is a real foody and I can only say that the mealie Jimmy I had in the chippie in Cullen best this dinner hands down
It was the best of its kind and deserved applause
This was I am afraid over priced pretentious and did not serve the customers need

Date of stay: July 2021
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
1  Thank Kay1253
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simon Cotton, Owner at The Summer Isles Hotel and Restaurant, responded to this reviewResponded 13 July 2021

Hello Kay1253. Thanks for taking he time to write a review covering your recent meal in our restaurant. I am very pleased to read that you enjoyed the "spectacular views". I have reflected on the restaurant related points and all have been fed back to the kitchen and the management team at the hotel. Several have been "taken on board" such as being specific on our kir and keeping a close watch upon the level of raw content across any one menu. On the night in question, our homemade bread was brioche which contains lots of butter, eggs, and milk. It is softer, moister and richer than most breads. The stock was homemade beef stock which - we think - goes particularly well with venison. The "beautiful langoustine" was part of our seafood platter which was available on the restaurant menu. Everything is prepared in advance with lots of care and precision. This includes the vegetables. I respect your opinions and wish you well on your foody travels in the future. Best wishes. Simon Cotton

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Reviewed 5 July 2021 via mobile

A wholly disappointing experience in the restaurant. The menu was extremely limited, with only four (quite similar) options for each course, and no sidedishes whatsoever. We asked for vegetables and chips but we were told this wasn’t possible. The portions were small and pretentious. The service was generally sloppy and inexperienced. We have no problem spending good money on fine food and a great experience, but sadly both were in exceedingly short supply.

Date of stay: July 2021
Trip type: Travelled with family
1  Thank Hazel M
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simon Cotton, Owner at The Summer Isles Hotel and Restaurant, responded to this reviewResponded 5 July 2021

Dear 369hazelb, Thanks for taking the time to write a review. Sorry to read that the restaurant was not for you. Best wishes. Simon Cotton

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Reviewed 4 July 2021

The descriptions of the location of this beautiful place could not be more accurate. It is a totally unspoilt corner of Scotland and the view from the hotel is stunning. We were blessed with a few days of the most amazing weather.

Our welcome to the hotel was warm, and we were shown to a lovely room, much as described, and very clean and well prepared.

We had a great stay, and young Simon (I think), front of house, was extremely helpful during our stay.

I feel I must comment on the dining arrangements however. We were told there was a restaurant and bistro available, which indeed there was. There is a sample bistro menu on the website which we felt would be a change from the more formal restaurant menu so we booked it for one of our nights. In fact there was not (or is not currently) a separate menu, and the bistro is rather scruffy, and we were told we had been booked in the restaurant anyhow.

The restaurant arrangements were rather chaotic, it was hard to tell if some of this was Covid related but there seemed to be a complex set of rules as to whether you could have your cocktail in the lounge or not, and when you needed to be moved to your table. This led to the drinks orders being forgotten sometimes.

The restaurant menu was very limited, around two fish courses, one meat and a seafood platter. It only evolved very slightly each day (usually by a dish disappearing and not being replaced). The two desserts and cheese menu didn't change at all so with a three night stay.........We enquired about a vegetarian option (just for a change) and were told that was not available as they had not been advised in advance of vegetarian requirements. That is pretty unheard of these days. The food itself was beautifully cooked, but not really sufficient after a days hearty activity in this beautiful area.

Please don't let the above put you off this place. I am sure that as things get back to normal there will be more choice, and the location is so beautiful, the hotel lovely and the staff are trying really hard. But do check what the kitchen will be offering when you go. Incredibly, we could find only one other dining option within an hour's drive so you are likely to be eating here for your entire stay.

Oh and a request to the hotel. I don't mind paying £300 a night for B&B, but I don't then expect to be told that "speciality coffees" (is cappucino really so special these days ?) aren't available at breakfast. there was no problem with such requests after dinner the night before.

And during Covid, your room is apparently only serviced if your request it. That makes sense but unfortunately we weren't told at check in and had to learn it from another guest.

Enjoy your stay here, but do ask them to be specific about dining before you go. It was a shame the owner didn't choose to meet us or we would have given him our feedback directly

Date of stay: June 2021
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank FarnhamTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simon Cotton, Owner at The Summer Isles Hotel and Restaurant, responded to this reviewResponded 5 July 2021

Dear Farnham Travel, Thanks for taking the time to write a review. My overriding thought as I read your comments is one of communication - in both directions. Dining arrangements, food preferences, room servicing and meetings with me ("old Simon!") could all have been covered with a little more communication. Until last Friday, we were offering a single consolidated restaurant and bistro menu whilst one chef recovered from a nasty fall. I am pleased to report that he is now fit and individual restaurant and bistro menus have returned. The logistics regarding pre-dinner drinks are simple and covered at "check-in". Guests are asked to arrive at least 30 minutes ahead of their reservation time if wishing to enjoy a pre-dinner drink. If arriving at or around the reservation time, guests will be guided directly to their table. Servicing rooms is covered at check-in and in our COVID Protocol which is in every bedroom but - if any doubt - a simple request would have rectified this situation. I take your point regarding "speciality coffee". The whole front of house team is familiar with the mechanics of the coffee machine and there is no logical reason why such coffee should not be available at breakfast. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I am at the hotel for at least 2/3 of my time during the season. I don't choose to meet or not meet guests. I introduce myself to everyone that I "bump into" during their stay. This is typically, in the lounge bar before dinner, when guests are drinking outdoors, when I am gardening, when I walk my dog or when a guest asks to meet me. I am sorry that we did not meet on your visit. Thanks for you many positive comments and I hope you will return (and we will meet!) in the future. Best wishes. Simon Cotton

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