“ Address: Portree / Isle of Skye / IV51 9QU / United Kingdom / Tel : + 44 (0)1478-612003 „
We are regular visitors to the Isle of Skye and when we visited in February this year a local friend gave me a newspaper coupon offering 50% off the cost of a meal at the prestigious cuillin hills hotel. As we had never been to the hotel before but had heard good things about the meals we decided to give it a try. We had wanted to book fro an evening meal but as there was no availability we decided to have book for lunch instead. The helpful receptionist assured me that my two children would be very welcome.
The cuillin hills hotel is located in the Island's main town of Portree. It is situated in 15 acres of its own private grounds and overlooks Portree bay and the cuillin mountains. There is no denying that its situation is superb!
The hotel is well signposted and is reached via a one way system. There are plenty of car parking spaces outside the hotel, so in poor weather you won't have far to walk to the reception area. The entrance hall is a grand affair with long sweeping curtains with tartan tie -backs giving the place an unmistakable Scottish feel. To the left of the reception desk I could see into the residents' lounge where a lovely welcoming fire was burning. There were several comfy looking chairs and a large sofa. I could just imagine settling down in a chair with a wee dram!
When we arrived there were no members of staff in sight and we found our own way to the dining area. Lunch is served in the less formal bar area which is light and airy. We found a waiter and were shown to our table in a very friendly manner. There is a much more formal dining room although I haven't seen it so can't comment.
The dining area was fairly busy with both adults and children, although there were several empty tables. I noted that there were a few high chairs in use, so good to know these are available. There is a large picture window giving good views of the bay below and mountains in the distance. Overall the bar dining area had a good atmosphere and felt relaxed and very child friendly. The waitress apologised that the panninni machine had broken so these were not available.
Before our meal arrived I took the children to the cloakrooms. They were well maintained and certainly very upmarket! My son loved the subtle lights and they were certainly more flattering that bright lights!
We all had high expectations for our meal as the hotel has 2 AA rosettes and a good reputation locally. We ordered a jug of water to start as the children were thirsty along with a two soft drinks. The soft drinks arrived quickly along with a bottle of sparkling mineral water. I explained that I had asked for a jug of tap water and the mistake was rectified.
The menu was not that extensive so choosing was easy. We all choose soup to start with. My husband opted for a chicken curry and I chose lemon battered fish with chip and salad. My older son decided to have the same as me. My 7 year old opted to choose from the special children's menu that also had lemon fish although a much smaller portion. The children's menu allows children to eat 3 courses for a set price and seemed to represent reasonable value as far as I remember at around £6.50.
I really can't remember what flavour the soup was, but do remember it was good although nothing special. It was served with a warm bread roll and butter. We were all looking foreword to our main course. The service was very slow and in the end we waited over 35 minutes. My husbands meal came served with a small round of rice and a few popodums. He said that the curry was ok.but again nothing special.
The fish meals were huge! The menu had promised tartar sauce but this wasn't bought when the meals were served and in the end I had to ask several times before any arrived. As the dining room wasn't that busy I was disappointed by the very slow service. To say I was disappointed with my meal would be an understatement! The fish had far too much batter and it was both tasteless and greasy. There was no hint of the promised lemon! The chips although plentiful tasted exactly like oven chips and were truly horrible! Even my son who usually adores chips didn't eat them! We were asked by a waitress whether our meal was ok and pointed out it was a bit disappointing. She did offer to bring us something else but by this time we were limited for time.
Hoping the desserts would be better I ordered a sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce, whilst my oldest sons choose a lemon cheesecake. My youngest son chose the ice cream as part of the children's meal deal. The lemon cheesecake was delicious and looked very pretty on the plate. However the sticky toffee pudding was slightly burned around the edges and the portion was very small. The butterscotch sauce was delicious and I would have liked a bit more!
Without our voucher the meal would have cost over £80, as it was we paid £41 for the four of us including a few soft drinks. I was very disappointed especially as this hotel has a good reputation and great reviews! On the positive side although the service was very slow the staff were very friendly especially towards our children.