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Accomodation in ISlay

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Accomodation in ISlay

Postby JimHall » Wed Dec 22, 2004 1:27 pm

Four of us are going for a couple of days in April/May. Any idea where to find cheap rooms and any other tips you mighht have as this is our first visit. :shock:
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Postby lexkraai » Wed Dec 22, 2004 4:39 pm

Last time I was on Islay, I stayed in a B&B in Port Ellen, which I can recommend fully: warm welcome, great choice of breakfast (fresh fish every day).

Rhona & Hamish Scott, 53 Frederick Crescent, Port Ellen, tel +44-(0)1496 302694.

Hamish used to be a distiller at Ardbeg, so whisky-stories assured!


Cheers, Lex
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Postby Tom » Wed Dec 22, 2004 6:36 pm

thats where we booked to stay too lex!
but then the car broke down... we didnt make it to Islay, but next year if we make it to islay i'll be booking there again.
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Postby Admiral » Thu Dec 23, 2004 2:06 am

My wife and I were booked in to stay with with Hamish & Rhona back in 2002, but we had to cancel our trip. :(

Pity - I was really looking forward to it.

My mum-and-dad-in-law stayed with them last year and enjoyed themselves tremendously.

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Lawrence » Thu Dec 23, 2004 8:46 pm

Admiral, did they bring you a really nice Islay bottled present?
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Postby Admiral » Fri Dec 24, 2004 12:12 am

Yes, I certainly sent them over with a shopping list, but it was for malts that were impossible to get in Australia, rather than just Islay goodies.

They returned with a Ledaig 20yo and an Oban Distillers Edition which were both warmly received!

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Jeroen Kloppenburg » Tue Dec 28, 2004 3:40 pm

If your going with 4 people, The Inns in Bowmore are a good option too. Its a bunch of self catering apartments with multiple bedrooms.

You have views over Lochindaal, and its right in the middle of Bowmore by the pier.

More info: http://www.islay.com/the_inns/holi_theinns_english.htm or http://theinns.co.uk/
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Dec 30, 2004 2:14 am

I stayed at the Abbottsford, which I understand has just changed hands. It is right next to Bruichladdich, whose staff is extremely friendly and supplied me with a post-breakfast sample daily. Two miles down the road is Port Charlotte; the Port Charlotte Hotel has the best bar in Islay, in my limited experience, and a fine (and rather upscale) restaurant as well. There are a couple other pubs and restaurants in Port Charlotte.

If you want to be really central, Bowmore is your best bet, but lodging seems to be a bit thin on the ground. Port Ellen is close to Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg, but I found it to be a rather unattractive town.

You can scare up more info at http://www.isle-of-islay.com.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Dec 30, 2004 3:54 am

More thoughts...visit every distillery you have time for. They're all different and all interesting. I would rank Bruichladdich as the one absolute must, then the three Kildaltons (Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg); Caol Ila, Bunnahabhain, and Jura are each interesting in their own way. Jura is fun just for the trip (the tour is good too, with lots of good samples--in fact, Jura and Bunny are the least interesting whiskies here in my mind, but both give great tours). Bowmore used to give a really good tour, but I understand it's become pretty commercial.

If you don't stay at the Abbottsford, Port Charlotte is still a good base, unless you really want to stay in Bowmore. The Loch Indaal Hotel in PC has inexpensive rooms and a townie bar (Port Charlotte Hotel is a much nicer bar, very expensive hotel--both have real ale). Bowmore has several good pubs and restaurants.

Other things you should see or do: The Kildalton Cross, out the road past Ardbeg, is #1. Take a drive out the shore of Loch Gruinart to see migrating geese and the Kilnave chapel and cross. Go out on the Oa (Oh!) and take a walk out to the American Monument (on a clear day you can see Ireland), or down to the beach if you have time. Visit Finlaggan, the ruined seat of the Lords of the Isles. See the picturesque village of Portnahaven, and have a pint in the charmingly rustic pub there. Visit the Islay Ales Brewery, which has been open for just a year now.

The tourist info center in Bowmore can give you lots of info, including phone numbers for all the distilleries. You can see all eight in three days if you are motivated to do so. Be sure to call and make reservations for tours as soon as you can.

Here's my Laphroaig story....I had a one-on-one tour at 10:00am (it was October). At the end of the tour, they take you into the hospitality room for a dram. But Iain Henderson, the legendary distillery manager, then in his last weeks at Laphroaig, was conducting some business there. So the guide took me into Henderson's office, where I sat enjoying a 15 in his big leather chair at 11:00. I was savoring it, trying to make the moment last, when I suddenly realized that I had to rush off to catch the tour at Ardbeg. Down the hatch!
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Postby JimHall » Wed Jan 05, 2005 8:52 pm

Thanks to all of you.
Although we don't go until early May this has given me some great info ......... i'll let you know how it goes.
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Postby robs42 » Thu Jan 06, 2005 12:02 am

I don't want to seem like the type of person who has unhealthy enjoyment of the outdoors (you all know the stereotype), but you should seriously consider camping. The campsite at Kintra (the only one on the island in fact) is situated right next to Loch Indaal and its two mile stretch of beach. I stayed there last festival and it was heavenly - having a BBQ on the beach followed by a great tasting session. Plus it is undeniably cheap.

Last year I cycled from there to a tour at Laphroaig, followed by a tasting session, to a tour at Ardbeg. The cycle back to the campsite was slightly wobbly to say the least, but it is all quite near which was useful as I'm not the fittest of people.

Anyway, it's just an idea and I can appreciate it if camping's not your cup of tea, but it is well worth considering.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Jan 06, 2005 1:07 am

Not to quibble, robs...well, okay, to quibble...Kintra is on Laggan Bay, outside Loch Indaal. Unless Laggan Bay is considered a bay of Loch Indaal.... I guess you'd have to ask a local. Anyway, it sounds idyllic. What could be better than a dram of Ardbeg, say, on the beach?

How are the facilities at the campground? Are there decent showers and such?
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Postby Admiral » Thu Jan 06, 2005 4:02 am

Decent showers??

Australians were always led to believe that UK folk didn't shower at all! :wink: :D
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:56 am

Given those electric shower units that produce a thimbleful of water per minute, you're not far wrong. It takes me ten minutes to get wet. And it takes forever to rinse the shampoo out of one's hair...although that's less and less of an issue with me these days. Hopefully the shower manufacturers will follow the publicans' example and raise the flow to 35 ml/min.
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Postby robs42 » Thu Jan 06, 2005 2:12 pm

Firstly (and most importantly) there is a shower/toilet block, and I don't recall the showers being particularly hopeless.

On the matter of Laggan Bay / Loch Indaal, I imagine it's like saying Machir Bay is on the Atlantic - i.e. the Bay is just a feature of the Loch. At any rate, at night you can just about make out the lights of Port Charlotte on the other side of the Loch.

I should also mention the fact that the site is situated on grassy sand dunes, so you can either get a beautifully sheltered site, or one totally exposed to the wind - it's down to what you find when you arrive.
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Postby JimHall » Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:34 am

Thanks rob42
Normally camping would be perfect for me.
The party i am going with consists of two forty year olds, a fifty year old and a 70 year old.... making camping less appealling... i may do that in the future ...this time i will get B&B .
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Postby si_peacock » Thu Apr 07, 2005 3:29 pm

Jim

Really hope you enjoy the trip and that the weather is great for you. Partly altruism on my part but also a little selfish as I think I'll be there about the same time. Will be on Islay for a few days from the 14th May.

If you haven't booked accomodation yet (I'm sure you have) then I can endorse the comments about the Port Charlotte Hotel. It's nice and central with the most amazing food. The bar is great too, and the staff there are so helpful - answering any questions, no matter how daft!

Also can recommend all the tours although I appreciated Laphroaig more than the others due to the care and attention that Iain put in the first time I was there. Great to see malting on site too.

It sounds like you are taking a car but if not then certainly stay somewhere central. We went for the day as foot passengers once and the taxis weren't that cheapest. Which is fair considering the petrol prices on Islay.

Enjoy it

Si
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Postby JimHall » Thu Apr 07, 2005 10:15 pm

si
Thanks for your post.
We are not taking a car but have been given a good taxi/minibus contact. we put our visit back one week so will be there 19th and 20th May I am also reading Peat smoke and spirit in prep for my trip we won't get to all the distilleries but have prioritised the ones that we really want to visit.
i may even go back later in the year or may visit Speyside instead... really looking forward to my first trip to Islay though.
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Postby si_peacock » Fri Apr 08, 2005 8:49 am

Jim

Jealous that you are visiting for the first time. Great experience. Can recommend a meal at the Port Charlotte Hotel - not cheap but well worth it. Only a small restaurant and they make guests a priority so if you're not staying there then I'd advise you to book soon.

The people have been fantastic whenever we've been. I know that some of your party are elderly - if they are fairly mobile then a trip to Machir Bay is awesome. Nothing between you and Canada apart from the odd seagull. Totally deserted beach on the west coast of the island. You have to walk maybe half a click from the road but worth it. Incidentaly, it's also very close to Kilchoman where they are building a new farm-scale distillery. They've got a website and are trying to attract visitors.

Really hope you enjoy it mate

Si
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Apr 11, 2005 5:28 am

Pub meals in the PC are also good, and reasonably priced, if you're not up for the full restaurant thing on a given night.
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Postby JimHall » Mon May 23, 2005 11:11 pm

Just to update my original post.

I have just returned from the trip which was fantastic. We stayed in the end with Margaret and John McNeil at their B&B "Lambeth House" in Jamieson St. Bowmore..... which was absolutely FAB
As well as them I would like to thank Christine Logan at Bowmore for all the drams that she provided us with. Also have to mention the tour at Ardbeg which was conducted by Stuart Thomson Himself (the best tour that I have ever been on ) the trip to Islay was worth it just for the Ardbeg Tour.
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