Sometimes, we all deserve a little bit of luxury.
A secret escape, to recharge and get away from daily life. Somewhere remote, where the way of life can be likened to willow branches swaying to nature’s soothing melody, instead of darting dragonflies dancing to Stravinsky’s The Firebird.
Such a place can be found in the Northern Hemisphere, in a little village called Uig, on
the very remote Isle of Skye, Scotland; a truly beautiful island with some spectacular landscapes, dramatic hills and peaceful waters – where on a clear night you could be witness to the majestic display of the Northern Lights.
A beautifully kept, family-run establishment, Uig Hotel is an old coaching Inn dating back to 1831, oozing with character and indeed warmth. In the winter, the log fire is always burning, instantly heating your icy-cold cheeks and toes as you order a warming wee dram from the welcoming bar staff who will happily chat away the hours with you.
If you don’t feel like engaging in conversation, take a pew and gaze out the window at Uig Bay, or marvel at some of the scenic photography gracing the television screen adjacent to the bar. These are merely a taster of the breathtaking beauty to be found in the area, and the landlord will happily supply you with details of how to visit some of
these hidden beauties, such as the Rha falls, tucked away along the road and found via a short, uphill climb along a mud-track – although beware, as it can often be slippery, and is best suited to surefooted walkers.
Other sites not to be missed include the Fairy Glen, a short drive (or a leisurely walk) over the hills behind the hotel, where you’ll encounter clusters of incredible up-down hills and pools. Let the magic, and your imagination run away with you, and you might find yourself away with the fairies.
Hiring a car on the Isle of Skye is a must if you’re going to do some real sight-seeing, and you’ll also need some decent (waterproof) walking boots. Help is at hand in nearby Portree, where you’ll find an outdoor shop with some helpful staff to assist you in finding the right shoes and any other gear you might need for hiking across the island. Another incredible day out not to be missed is an excursion to the Fairy Pools. But be warned – it’s a trek, and in wet-weather is not for the faint-hearted; depending on recent rainfall and the speed of the river across the path, you may find yourself having to take a leap of faith, or risk a tumble into the rapids (unless you can walk on water, or are very brave). It’s recommended to visit in summer, when the water levels are low enough to cross, and you can visit these magical waterfalls where access is only granted by Mother Nature at certain times of the year. Despite that, it is possible to soak up the breath-taking views from the safer side of the water.
Following a rejuvenating and yet pleasantly exhausting day in the fresh Scottish air, be sure to reward yourself on your return to the hotel; by recovery with a local tipple from the bar. There’s a choice of 8 whiskies from the Talisker brewery, and a healthy selection of local ale from the Isle of Sky Brewery. You’ll be ravenous, too, so ensure you make reservations for dinner. The restaurant is popular, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on the local langoustine, lobster and venison. Of course, you can’t visit Scotland without sampling some real haggis, neeps and tatties either – also available on the lunch menu.
After an energetic day of gallivanting across this wonderful land, fall gratefully and blissfully into crisp, clean sheets in a simple and tastefully-decorated room, complete with tea- and coffee-making facilities and en-suite bathrooms refurbished to a high standard with a luxurious feel.
The Uig Hotel has 3-star Scottish Tourist Board status, although it deserves so much more. The attention to detail, attention to guests and the overall experience earn this hotel a great reputation. But it’s not all airs and graces. It’s the personal touch and the feeling of being welcomed like a long-lost relative.
With such high-standards set by the management, they even cater for children – from high-chairs to cots and a children’s menu – but in all honesty, wouldn’t you rather keep this little piece of tranquillity to yourself?