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“We loved An Cnocan Dubh Lodge”
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Fabulous stone clad lodges with turf roofs on Islay. 5 star eco luxury accommodation for 2-4 guest
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Fabulous stone clad lodges with turf roofs on Islay. 5 star eco luxury accommodation for 2-4 guest
stylish interiors light and spacious living and dining
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Excellent
22 reviews
Fabulous stone clad lodges with turf roofs on Islay. 5 star eco luxury accommodation for 2-4 guest
stylish interiors
light and spacious living and dining
long view over the moor
crafted with care from local stone
well-equipped kitchen
designer touches and original art
organic bedlinen and bespoke tweed furnishing
a warm welcome awaits you
fabulous ensuites
Islay has miles of sandy beaches
sandy beaches in every direction
choose between twin singles or a 6' superking in the second bedroom
sunset view from the hot tub
fascinating clouds
sunset over glenastle
finnish sauna - with a window!
carraig fhadda lighthouse
crystal clear sea at the Singing sands (10 minutes)
The Singing Sands on a lovely May morning
have long walk along the big strand - 8 miles long!
whisky flavoured marigolds? This one's a Laphroaig.
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Overview
Cottage -
2 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms, Sleeps 4
Islay, The Hebrides, Scotland

Reviews from our community

Excellent - based on 22 reviews
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Reviews from our community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
English first
Any
English first
avonside
UK
Level 6 Contributor
213 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 224 helpful votes
“We loved An Cnocan Dubh Lodge”
Reviewed 24 May 2014 for a stay in May 2014
3
people found this review helpful

A perfect place to stay on Islay.
Top class accommodation: well designed, spacious, well-appointed and spotless. Refreshing to have a lodge of this standard willing to allow dogs - usually if you want to take your pet(s) on holiday you have to settle for the shabby end of the holiday rental market but fortunately Coillabus is different. An Cnocan Dubh Lodge is in a beautiful setting on a working hill farm on the Oa, and is peaceful, secluded and luxurious. We loved everything, from the sauna and hot tub, to views across the Oa, breakfast outdoors, comfy beds, and having Rae round to cook (highly recommended by the way - she cooked a fantastic meal).
We loved Islay - probably our favourite of the western isles we've visited so far... We loved the beaches, the bluebells and waving to everyone on the roads, the whisky (Octomore is the best!) and the beer.
Coillabus made our anniversary stay extra special and we had a really memorable holiday with our 2 dogs.
Can't recommend if enough.

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: Overall high standard
Liked least: The perimeter fence isn't dog-proof (for small/medium sized dogs)
Travelling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Older travelers People with pets
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
nouveau27
Musselburgh, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
47 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“A sublime experience”
Reviewed 31 March 2014 for a stay in March 2014
4
people found this review helpful

From our welcome at the houses to our last minute there, our stay was fantastic.The two lodges are truly eco and nestle in the wild Islay landscape marvellously. No detail was forgotten from hot tub glasses to doggie friendliness in one lodge and every techno gizmo required. We are cooks in our family and we turned out some great meals with the accoutrements provided. Highlights were eating langoustines and scallops fresh off the boat; looking at the stars in the hot tub; watching two golden eagles perform an aerial ballet; having a sausage sizzle on the beach in sunshine; the Kildalton cross and church; the Laphroaig distillery tour; lunch at the Ardbeg cafe; buying staghorn buttons in a remote croft on the Rinns of Islay; visiting the weaving mill etc etc..and even just chiiling looking out on a stormy day in the living room with its huge windows. Beds were mega comfortable with great linen and there was constant hot water and warm bathroom floors from the underfloor heating.
Thank you Hester and your helpers.

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: the houses themselves and the setting
Liked least: nothing to complain about at all
Travelling group: Extended Family
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway People with disabilities
Older travelers People with pets
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
629tracey...
Somerset, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Fabulous luxury Winter hideaway”
Reviewed 18 February 2014 for a stay in February 2014
4
people found this review helpful

WOW, what an amazing lodge , we had the best time and will be returning !

We were a party of 2 professional couples who enjoy luxury holidays abroad and this was our first experience of holidaying together in the UK and we could not have picked a better Island or place to stay.

We arrived on the late ferry into Port Ellen and found the directions easy to follow in the dark . We were welcomed by the owner Hester , who had lit the log fire and turned the hot tub on . There was also a cold bottle of bubbles and a vase of red roses for Valentines, a really lovely personal touch.

The lodge is beautiful, extremely warm , the beds are so comfortable , the bathrooms luxurious , the sauna a welcome treat after a long walk, the kitchen is well stocked with good quality utensils and quality crockery and glassware. We were pleased to also find separate towels and plastic champagne glasses for the hot tub.

The hot tub was one of the highlights of our stay !! We used it everyday at least once and in all weather conditions and always with a glass of bubbles or whiskey! The peaty water was always hot and there is something special about sitting in the hot tub at night in a snow blizzard wearing hats , drinking whiskey looking at the moon , though it was a mad dash back inside when you got out but we always had the sauna to help warm up .

The welcome pack was great and we now have a love of whiskey marmalade , which you can purchase in Bridgend.

We made full use of Scott , the local chef recommended by Hester. We had fish pie and vegetables waiting in the fridge for us when we arrived and also had the banoffee pie and a lemon meringue which lasted us for our 4 day stay. Scott also came out to cook dinner for us one evening , with the Help of Hester , who rescued him in the snow storm when his car got stuck. The food and service were absolutely divine and good value for money. We also had his prepared meals for our last evening they were that good.

We ate out at the Islay hotel and a taxi cost £20 for 4 people each way. The staff here were lovely and the whiskey bar something special. We also visited 3 distilleries and the woollen mill. bruichladdich was having work done but it was well worth the visit as Mary was so hospitable , the gentlemen of our party did not want to leave , They may have tried every whiskey they sell! Though they did also look after the ladies by offering gin and tonic and a coffee for the duty driver. The tour at Laphroig was superb , they were so passionate and informative and again the gents did not want to leave , the free glasses and miniature for the driver was a nice touch.

Contrary to a previous review , this place is great in Winter if you want to get away . We experienced all weather conditions and with the big windows it was amazing to be toasty warm listening to the gale's and watching the rain fall.

We did not feel the need for a 4 x 4 , the roads were fine , though a few pot holes but if you drive carefully you can avoid them!

We had a truly magical time on the Island and cannot recommend this place high enough and we have very high standards :-)

Travelling group: Friends
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
optimally...
Different places
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Completely amazing, even in January”
Reviewed 22 January 2014 for a stay in January 2014
1
person found this review helpful

We spent three nights at Coillabus in January, and it was the highlight of our ten days in Scotland. I wish we could have spent at least a week, if not a month. The view is beautiful, fields of heather dotted with distant sheep, in all the subtle colors of Scottish winter. The location is great - lots of beautiful walks around the coast, but very near Port Ellen (as well as Laphoriag, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg).

The house itself is amazing. The hot tub and sauna came in very handy after walks in the countryside. The hot tub was also incredibly refreshing during the cold winter nights. One evening there was icy rain, which one might think would make the hot tub difficult to use, but we actually quite enjoyed feeling the wind in our hair while we soaked in the hot water. (The full moon during our stay was an extra treat in this regard, lighting up the surrounding countryside and making you feel like the only people on the island. The (modern) house itself does a wonderful job of keeping out the damp and cold (unlike every other man-made structure in the whole of the UK), and the heated floors are amazing.

The kitchen is well equipped and the coffee, eggs, tea and milk provided are great. I would also highly recommend securing the services of Russell at Professional Chef Services - a local (internationally trained) chef who will come prepare a meal (the Islay tasting menu is recommended) or provide meals ready to heat up (we ordered a few of these, which were waiting for us when we arrived the first evening).

Travelling group: Spouse/Partner
Your age range 25-34
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management Response
21 Jan 2014
How lovely to hear all this. I love the idea of the icy rain and the hot tub in the full moon.I'm so glad you were able to enjoy the Scottish winter experience- which can really be quite special- and it sounds as if you packed in a huge amount to your three night stay. Glad the dining experience came up trumps for you. But you are right - your stay was too short - come for longer the next time!
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MonsieurC...
Freiburg
Level 6 Contributor
328 reviews
132 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 545 helpful votes
“Mixed impressions in winter ...”
Reviewed 8 January 2014 for a stay in December 2013
8
people found this review helpful

First I have to say that we already tried some comparable lodges - inter alia the ones in Achiltibiue, the Borve Lodges and finally the BLUE REEF on Harris, accidentally built by the same architect as Coillabus and marvellously positioned above a magnificent beach.

Which brings me to the first point: Coillabus sits in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by peat fields and bog (no landscaped garden), with just a glimpse of the sea far away. Acess leads through a farm (often blocked by cattle) with a road rather suited for 4x4, particularly in winter.

And winter brings me to the second point: It's really bleak out there, exposed to the weather and very windy. Particulatly the other lodge on top of the hill (which has at least a great view towards the west/sunset/sea) must be extremely exposed to sleat, hail and battling storms (we had gales with 100mph).

Point 3: When you arrive, there is no contact person (we didn't know Hester lives on the mainland) and nobody who helps you to fiddle with the complicated TV, the quirky settings for the heating (we finally downloaded the thermostat manual from the internet to get some warmth into the rooms) and instead of the advertised "welcome breakfast kit" there finally arrived a young girl with some flowers, 6 eggs, marmelade and a cheap bottle of warm bubble. Not so nice when you expect the promised "romantic luxury flair".

Point 4: When you're only two persons and you come at this time of the year, when you can't use neither the (luke warm) hot tub nor the Barbecue or even sit outside, then 300 pounds per night are an enormous sum and seem largely exaggerated.

Point 5: There's only a small booklet with minimum information about the lodge, together with some outdated advertising brochures, old maps and a few cooking books. At this standard, a booklet with detailed hints for walking tours, excursions and current infos is the least one expects; fortunately we were well prepared and left some material for following guests. Oh, and by the way, the DVD player was broke.

Conclusion? This critic may sound harsh, but then the lodge shouldn't be offered in the first place during winter. It's clever marketing to show only pics during spring and summer on the website, when the lodge certainly makes more sense, particularly for TWO couples or a family ( & midgets).
Sure, the interior is modern and stylish and full of comfort (an open peat fire chimney would have been the icing on the cake), but on the whole somewhat "cold" and neutral, too.
Of course I admit that we were frustrated because of the extremely bad weather during our stay; fortunately we had an excellent seafood platter in Lochindaal, nice evenings in the Islay Hotel in Port Ellen (the staff even helped us one late evening to remove a fallen tree that blocked the road to Coillabus) and had a great tweed jacket tailor made in the Islay Woolen Mill.
But for the 1800 pounds that we two payed for 5 days we could have had a REAL luxury hotel, with full service and comfort, a cozy lounge, restaurant, pool table, nice people ... you must know yourself wether "splendid isolation" without a personal host is worth that much to you. There certainly is a reaaon that inspite of all the advertising and public relation the BLUE REEF cottages are FULLY BOOKED in advance for most of 2014 ... and Coillabus not at all. I think it's really the location - the situation that is the problem.
Be that as it may ... we wish Coillabus success, cause it gave and gives work to locals and is a fascinating piece of architecture, though mostly from the outside. And all the people we got to know on Islay were very, very friendly indeed.

GO THERE IN MAY - AND FIND OUT YOURSELF ... we wish you sun and warmth!

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: the wee sauna, the architecture, the bath rooms
Liked least: no host, difficult communication on site ("have no ides - call Hester")
Travelling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Families with young children
People with pets
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management Response
7 Jan 2014
Wouff! At first this had me reaching for the warm fizz but on reflection I think this calls for a Laphroaig - declared by some to be the most medicinal of our Islay single malts - ‘iodine with a pinch of salt’.

We always take guest comments seriously and with respect. We aim to provide an amazing experience for our guests all year round and are constantly reflecting on what we do and put measures in place to improve our services. This is why I have taken time and care to reply to this review at some length.

We don’t however have a pool table. We don’t have a pub onsite (there’s a great one which Mr B discovered just 8 minutes away) . And we don’t have landscaped gardens. We definitely don’t. We have established heather in front of one lodge in harmony with the adjoining moorland including the RSPB Oa reserve and are establishing highland grasses in the lodge Mr B stayed in. It’s not a landscaped gardens sort of place but we believe our lodges sit well in their surroundings and the golden eagle, chough, hen harrier and barn owls that fly past and delight our guests seem to prefer it that way. Coillabus is that sort of place.

Our guests receive a warm personal welcome from myself or my housekeeper and then we leave them alone in privacy to enjoy the moorland and sea views (from their hot tub perhaps). Not because we are uncaring or unfriendly but because that is what we find our guests -particularly honeymoon couples - prefer. Our guests generally want to be alone together. They don't want a host about. If they did they would choose to stay in a hotel as Mr B suggests he would prefer to do. However If they need us we will certainly be there.

I must point out that we do not sell alcohol and we are not licensed to do so. The Prosecco was a personal gift to Mr B from me as he had made our 100th online booking. And hands up-it was not properly chilled and for that I am sorry. My housekeeper (she will be delighted to be described as a young girl) simply did not have time to put the bottle into the ice bucket because she arrived and found the guests were already there. She was there at the agreed time to give a personal welcome to this guest and to show him how the DVD (not broken) and sauna worked and so on. She would have done all this had he allowed her to do so. The weather did affect the satellite TV reception which was why it was erratic. I apologised for this and tried to explain to the guest that any amount of ‘fiddling’ would not help. We do have an unlimited broadband connection and TV can be watched on laptops although of course this is not ideal.

We will be updating our welcome procedure so that even guests who insist they do not need help will be shown how everything works. I will make sure that it is made very clear how to adjust the temperature temporarily. It’s helpful to know that Mr B has adjusted our heating system. I take on board the need to ensure that guest information is improved. The road can get muddy in places in winter – we are on a working hill farm - but a four wheel drive vehicle is not necessary.

We leave a simple but carefully chosen welcome breakfast basket for guests (and we did so for the Bs ). This may vary according to availability but always contains: good quality muesli, Stockans’ oatcakes, whisky marmalade from Ma McKinnon’s in Bridgend and free range local eggs from Portnahaven if our neighbour’s hens are not laying . Tropicana orange juice (with bits) and milk are in the fridge. We hope to add fresh bread from a local baker to this offering. Filter coffee, tea and sugar together with some basic spices and condiments are in the cupboard.

On this occasion I was not on site to welcome our guests as I had just left on the boat in order to celebrate Christmas with my family. When I phoned to add my welcome Mr B said that there was no breakfast basket. I was astonished as I had put the non-perishable items in to the basket myself. He agreed there was marmalade, eggs, muesli and oatcakes but insisted there was no breakfast basket only eggs and warm ‘Cava’. I asked if there was orange juice and milk and he said there was not and when I asked him to check again he said yes, there was fresh orange juice and milk in the fridge. He then continued to say there was no breakfast basket. I found this a bit confusing.

If Mr B would have preferred a cooked breakfast or indeed an evening meal I would have arranged for our chef to prepare this for him. We take pride in our chef service and have a top class award winning chef who will cook, serve and clear a specially chosen gourmet meal for guests who want this –if and when they want this service.

I am glad that Mr B enjoyed the hospitality of the two excellent pubs at the Lochindaal Inn and The Islay Hotel. There are lots of small hotels on Islay which offer such facilities. Few have landscaped gardens but some have pool tables. They are great places to stay and I do think Mr B might have enjoyed the camaraderie of staying in one of those. What we offer is not for everyone. At Coillabus we offer something different and Mr B is very right in comparing us to a luxury hotel to which we offer a flexible alternative. We aim to provide the luxury of a top hotel and that includes quality organic linen, goose down pillows, Hypnos beds , sauna, hot tub and carefully chosen contemporary Scottish art on the walls. We offer un-landscaped, un-pool tabled, secluded and stylish five star luxury in an extraordinary setting with amazing views (I do insist on the amazing views) and we attract guests who value this experience.

Mr B stayed at Coillabus Lodges for Christmas 2013 during some of the worst weather the UK has faced for many years. Despite this the Calmac Ferries sailed and on Islay the Hydro kept the lights on. There’s no doubt at all that the Oa can be a wild place – that’s perhaps what our winter guests love about it - they enjoy experiencing the weather in comfort from the huge window of their lodge. Many still venture into the hot tub and find it fun – it can feel cool until you get in although it is certainly not luke warm but heated to a recommended and safe 40 degrees.

And the weather is not always wild -we have some sparkling winter days on Islay. Our winter rates (outwith the festive season when these guests stayed ) allow guests to enjoy five star luxury from £37.50 per person - when four people stay for a week. Islay has a great deal to offer as a winter break destination- the distilleries are open for tours, fewer visitors means locals have more time to talk to you (as Mr B found) and there’s nothing like a brisk winter walk on our eight mile long Big Strand. Although we do not have, and do not claim to have, a seaside location as such, Islay has miles of sandy beaches just a short drive away.

Mr B paid high season rates (£1500) for his 6 night stay over Christmas-not £1800 for five nights as he states. Our rates are very similar to those of Blue Reef Cottages –just a little less. The use of photos taken on sunny days on our website is not ‘clever marketing’ and was never meant to mislead anyone into believing that these represented the weather in December. It’s just easier to take good pictures in the sunshine. I apologise if a false impression was given to Mr B and I did not think to explain that he might have windy days in the Hebrides in December. Many guests tell us that the lodges and the views look better in real life than on the website . I am planning a photoshoot at the end of January – primarily so that we can showcase our food – but there will soon be winter shots on the websiteas well as shots taken in the summer.

We do not consider ourselves to be in competition with Blue Reef Cottages- Blue Reef is on Harris and we are on Islay- and the Campbells have been very helpful to us . The similarity in architecture is not ‘accidental’. Blue Reef is well established and as such is booked up well ahead. We certainly have had guests who like the style of the architecture who have stayed in both places and enjoy the variety of top quality experience offered on our two islands. The lovely cottages at Blue Reef do indeed have a wonderful position above the beach at Scarista just as ours command long views over moorland, loch and sea. Our views are fascinating and everchanging and we do certainly get more than a ‘glimpse’ of the sea from both lodges. In poor weather the view can be restricted and perhaps this accounts for the comments of this guest. But poor visibility was the least of the problems in many places throughout the British Isles at this period – not just on Islay -guests from Surrey in the other lodge felt they had actually escaped bad weather by coming to Coillabus.

But Surrey doesn’t close for winter and neither will Coillabus. And I fail to see the logic that lodges closer to a beach should open in the winter while those with moorland views should not. We have already welcomed many wonderful guests this winter and last (and more expected) who have been delighted with their experience at Coillabus. Haste ye back.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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