“ Address: Salen by Aros, Isle of Mull / Argyllshire / Scotland / UK / PA72 6JW / Telephone: +44 (0)1680 300377 „
My girlfriend and I visited the Isle of Mull last summer to view the wonderful wildlife that lives on the island. We'd previously seen the BBC's "Springwatch" programme that followed the fortunes of a pair of White-tailed Sea Eagles and wanted to see these magnificent birds at close range. We chose the Glenforsa Hotel based on a search on the internet. Mull, being an island, appears more expensive to stay at than the mainland, and the Glenforsa Hotel seemed to offer reasonable value for money at £80.00 per room, per night (other, apparently equivalent accommodation on Mull was more expensive than this). The website also made it seem very attractive. The hotel consists of "Norwegian Style" cabins made of wood. This made the hotel seem quite rustic and attractive. The hotel is located on the shore of the island so the sea views sounded really nice! Initial appearances were very positive. The hotel is set well back from the main road in a lovely wooded area, accessible via a narrow drive. There's plenty of parking outside the hotel and the reception area is beautifully decorated with an old style flying theme (the hotel has a grass landing strip for light aircraft!). The first misgivings arrived at check-in, however. The hotel reception was quiet. So quiet, that it took several minutes for anyone to acknowledge our arrival! The staff were friendly enough, but the second problem arose in getting to our room. The hotel is, indeed, made of wood, without many windows. Some lights being out in the corridors made the journey to our room slow and careful. The receptionist did not even comment on this. The room was nicely laid out and quite comfortable, with a very small bathroom. One 'feature' for the environmentally conscious was the water supply. This comes straight from the burn outside so does not pass any water quality tests and was not recommended for drinking straight from the tap (no chlorine, however!). We tried the bar the first night (of course). It looks out over the Sound of Mull, with a garden that goes down to the water's edge, lovely. It was really nice having a drink here, watching the sun go down. The restaurant's food was excellent, with a really good menu. The lackadaisical attitude of the reception staff was carried on into the restaurant, however, we waited ages to be taken to our table and had to almost shout for attention. The view was some compensation. The worst part of the hotel was revealed in the evening. The log construction meant that gaps were evident in all exterior walls. The soundproofing was...well, there wasn't any! Luckily there was only one room next to ours and the family settled down quite early otherwise we wouldn't have been able to get any sleep at all. You could hear everything in the next room, and I mean everything. We stayed two nights in the Glenforsa and overall, the experience was quite pleasant. We were lucky, however, that we did not have noisy neighbours as that would have spoilt things completely. The atmosphere was nice (if dark!), the food was excellent, and Mull was everything we'd been hoping for. Checking out, we noticed in the visitor's book, that Kate Humble (from Springwatch) had stayed at the hotel whilst filming the White-tailed Sea Eagle feature! I suspect she got better service than we did! When we stay on Mull again (we're definitely going back), we will not be staying at the Glenforsa Hotel, even if we have to pay more, we will.
Ever stayed in an airport hotel? If you liked it - this is the place for you. If you hated it - this is the place for you. Well for a start you will have to forgive me if I'm a bit remiss in the details about this place. My wife, my er....child thing who was barely a toddler when we stayed, and I were fortunate enough to give this place a go about 3 years ago. I make goldfish look like elephants sometimes so I can forget the details with ease but I'll try my best. If at any point you think, 'well I hear what your saying but it amounts to diddly-squat' then point yourself to the website at http://www.glenforsa.com/ for a selection of details and photos that I may lack. Scenario ====== About 3 years ago in the early summer we travelled to mull on a 'lets go somewhere we haven't been before and sod it if we hate it' type adventure. We chose Mull. Thats a lie for a start because I had been to do some Geology fieldwork in Mull as an undergrad in the early 90s. We did the pin-in-a-map type of study to find a hotel that was in budget and came up with the Glenforsa - booked direct over the internet with a couple of emails to check details. We drove up, got the spectacular adventure of a ferry from Oban to Craignure and drove for what seemed like an age, though it was only about 10 miles, until we saw the hotel sign buried in the side of a pine forest. Appearance ======== After a drive up a long driveway through the trees your presented with what reminds me of a hotel from the wild-west crossed with a cub camp. The place is made of timber and genuinely looks quite cool. Lets be honest, we all revel in different stuff. Some people like palatial, others like to rough it. This was a sort of hybrid thing. Attached to one side are the rooms in a sort of dormitory looking thing. The hotel advertises these as Scandinavian lodges. Well, yeah - you could get away with that I suppose. Just. In through the door and your into the reception. The first thing that hits you is the aircraft memorabilia everywhere, I remember a big wooden propeller attached to the ceiling or wall and dozens of photo's dotted around. Not in a themed bar sort of way. This is genuine, random stuff which is somehow 'real', like a trophy room or a shrine to a lost war hero. To me, this was wonderful. Why all the aircraft stuff? Well you are in the cutest, quaintest airport hotel in the world, as you can see when you walk to the back into the well stocked and comfy bar. From the window you see a huge lawn extending 200yds to the sea. Dotted near the hotel are a myriad of light aircraft, some exposed and some covered. Not distant, untouchable things. You can walk up to and amongst them. Brilliant. In 3 days I didn't see anything take-off or land so no noise. Double brilliant. From the reception, a flight of stairs takes you to a common room overlooking the runway, if you can call a strip of mown grass a runway, with views to the sea. unless my memory has totally disintegrated, the small restaurant is also up there. Rooms ===== The corridor down to the room was a rather dark, sullen looking thing which didn't inspire you to the thoughts of luxury beyond. The room we had was big enough for us but not on the luxury side of big. enough for the double bed and a cot. There was plenty of wardrobe space, a dresser and chest of draw. A door led to the en-suite with a bath and shower. No windows in the bathroom - I hate that. Everything was 'good enough' put it that way and I remember that the wooden-cladded walls made the room smell of pine which I thought was rather nice. Overall, a bit basic and functional and not especially comfortable but we were having fun so we didn't really notice. Food ==== I remember a fairly comprehensive menu at reasonable prices. I think, in our 3 night stay we only had a meal once and it was rather nice salmon. The breakfasts were very enjoyable - no complaints there. Breakfast was taken in the restaurant so we had a good view of the mountains. Meals could be taken in the bar and certainly smelled good! The Environs. ========== Mull is gorgeous. The coastal scenery, if you go round the Island is breathtaking in parts and people who like that sort of thing will not be disappointed. The beaches are top notch - lovely clear water and clean sand surrounded by towering cliffs. The few civilised parts such Tobermory are friendly and charming. It is not a place for clubbers unless you want to club seals. Which is mean. But it is certainly beautiful. There is not a lot around the hotel - not to its detriment, there is not a lot around anywhere on Mull. It was a half-hour journey to Tobermorey but only because the road twists and turns so much you can't get and head of steam. The beach in front of the hotel was gorgeous, especially to walk along at sundown. The cost ======= To be honest, my pants would be on fire if I said I could remember how much I paid all those years ago. I think it was around £180 total b&b for 3 nights . The website is reporting £86 per room per night which, on balance, I would say was a fair price Grumbles? ======= No. Its not luxury but who cares. It is very interesting to stay there because of the aircraft, the price is fair, the food doesn't let you down, it's got a nice bar and the island is superb. I'd go there again if I was the sort of person who went anywhere twice. But Im not so I won't. Unless the owner reads this and likes it and offers me a free weekend stay in which case I will. So, if you like a bit of adventure but don't want to totally rough it, this is a good choice of place to stay. If you read all of this, thanks for your effort. If you just pretended to read it because you couldn't be arsed but rated it highly anyway, thanks to you too.
Situated on the sheltered east coast of Mull.