Arrival/Check-In: Having just disembarked from the Hebridean Princess in nearby Oban, we arrived at 9:30 a.m. fully expecting to park our luggage and amuse ourselves on the island until check-in time. Instead, we were invited to a cushy sofa in the elegant parlor, where we were served coffee and tea while the general manager completed check-in details. She chatted about the island and the hotel as we finished our drinks, then pointed out some of the resort’s facilities as she walked with us to our suite, where our luggage was already on racks.
Guest Quarters: We entered our spa suite through its own wall-enclosed patio, with a hot tub and a large sun porch. The living room was more than spacious, and light flooded in through a wall of windows and a skylight above the two large sofas in front of the fireplace. Near the windows were a round glass table with chairs and a big, well-lit desk. A bowl of fresh fruit was on the table, and two bookcases held current fiction, classics, nature guides and books about Scotland. The style was smart contemporary in creamy colors.
The king-sized bed in the large bedroom was flanked by roomy nightstands with tall reading lights. We unpacked in the walk-in closet, which had a full-sized ironing board and pants press. Between the two sinks in the oversized bathroom, the wide vanity was supplied with custom herbal amenities and thoughtful extras. A glass-enclosed shower was separate from the deep tub.
Services/Amenities: Although our suite was one of several surrounding the flower gardens adjacent to the spa and indoor pool, the manor house is at Eriska’s heart, with several beautiful living rooms, a clubby library-bar, dining rooms and a sun porch. Guests enjoy afternoon tea (served with tiered trays of cakes) inside this solarium or at tables on the terrace. Dinner each night began with aperitifs in the sun porch or library, where we selected from the menu before we were escorted to our table in the elegant dining room. Service was impeccable, but it is the food we will remember. Each dish in the four-course dinners was plated as a work of art. The menu is based on locally sourced ingredients, skillfully prepared. The cheese trolley was among the best I’ve seen anywhere.
Surrounding this classic Scottish baronial mansion are perfectly groomed lawns bordered by trees, and Eriska’s golf course lies along one entire side of the island. The rest of the 300-acre private island is webbed by walking trails, all of which we covered in our three-day stay. We also played croquet and spent a day kayaking in Loch Linnhe, where the island is located.
The Experience: Once we crossed the bridge, we felt like guests at a house party. The atmosphere is casual and comfortable; and although the service is impeccable, it has a genuine warmth that makes guests immediately at home despite the grand surroundings. The décor of the house, while appropriate to its era and style, is not heavy or ponderous and is refreshingly free of the typical tartan walls and hunting trophies. Next time we are in Glasgow or Edinburgh on business, we’ll definitely wind down with a few days here.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Separate tub and shower
- Large vanity
- High-quality towels
- Powerful, unattached hair dryer
- High-quality bed linens
- Large, flat-screen television
- Large desk with convenient outlets
- Large, complimentary laptop safe
- Complimentary in-room WiFi
- Complimentary bottled water
- Stocked minibar
- Ample lighting
- In-room coffeemaker
- Iron and ironing board
- On-site restaurant and bar
- 24-hour room service
- State-of-the-art fitness center
Isle of Eriska Hotel
Benderloch by Oban
Argyll, Scotland PA37 1SD
tel 44 1631 720 371
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