“ unique-cottages / This is a holiday home which can be rented out for a few days, a week or two weeks „
Most years I travel with my parents on holiday and each year my parents have wanted nicer and nicer holiday homes, for the same cost if they can get it, don't we all? This year was no exception and lead us too a tranquil,remote, rural house which was right beside the tiny Scottish village of Tayvallich. Whilst it may not be geographically in the center of Scotland, to me this holiday felt like we where in the metaphorical heart of Scotland.
We found it online at unique-cottages.com although this is not a review of that website but of the holiday home itself. The house is a large 2 level family house with an extension built onto it which hosts a swimming pool, it sleeps 8 and has 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms.
The house is just loaded with facilities it has a bathroom downstairs with a shower, also on the lower floor is a large kitchen, large living room with a dinning table at the back, which although part of the same room feels like its own little world. The Kitchen features a fridge, kettle, fancy gas cooker-Oven (which requires no lighting of matches so is just like an electric cooker) and grill, a toaster and lots of space to store your biscuits and bread.
In Particular I was immensely blown away with the number of glasses and cutlery, which meant you could go quite some time without ever washing a dish. There was also a dish washer for when washing was piling up and you could not be bothered to was the dishes yourself.
At the back of the house their was another sink, fishing rods for using on the loch behind the property and a fridge-freezer. This meant that the house has two decent sized fridges, it would be nice to live in a place so massive in real life! Finally there is a large bedroom downstairs with an en-suite toilet and shower-bath. This was my bedroom and it has a smallish double bed in it.
Upstairs there are three more bedrooms, one of which is the master bedroom, which has a TV in it and again is en-suite and it has a shower-bath. The other two rooms are about equal size and have two single beds in them, one overlooks the loch and the other is in sort of an L shape with a sort of alcove feel to it, which is where my dad's friend and his wife stayed when they came to vist us. Finally upstairs there is another separate toilet with a shower.
Downstairs there is room at the back of the house which has a greenhouse-like glass roof and shape which hosts your very own swimming pool which is roughly around 5ft deep, it is around 6-7m long and is a little short for serious swimming but is fine for a little bit of light exercise and chilling out. It is amazing how much it lifts your spirits when you are feeling a little down about things.
The pool also has yet another shower which in some ways was my favourite shower of the house as it was lovely and warm but it lacked a little bit of pressure and volume of water, its really just meant to be used when exiting and entering the pool but I found myself spending a good 10 minutes in it after a swim!
There is also a sauna in the house which has a very "Norwegian" feel to it with it being made out of oak wood, the sauna is quiet nice and is generally not too hot but eventually if you had to much water to the boiler it becomes too much to handle. A nice benefit of having the sauna is you can use the heat from the sauna to dry clothes, a good thing as the house lacks a tumble dryer!
The house has a large front garden and a green rusty seat at the backgarden and a short walk from the backgraden you will find a little floating jettie for fishing using the child-style fishing net (not a line) provided by the owners.
The house is equipped with a payphone (useful as you don't get a mobile signal here), and two tv's of which the one downstairs has free view only but also a dvd player and some DVD's.
I generally was not so keen on the wallpaper and couches from a visual perspective as it just felt a little old fashioned for me and also I felt that for such a big living room, if you owned the place yourself then you would probably organise the furniture differently to get the most efficient use of the space you have. I generally prefer a minimalist decour and this was not really the style chosen except for in the swimming pool room. One plus point about the decour however was the animal themed ornaments, in particular there was a striking stuffed pheasant in the window besides the stairs and through out the house their where numerous otters and paintings of what looked to me like a Nightingale bird. I also quite liked the old fireplace in the center of the living room.
3. Favourite Room
For me my personal favourite room was the back half of the living room when eating a meal and facing the window at the rear of the house you had a lovely view of loch behind you where you could see all the boats and to your left you could see the tiny village of Tayvallich which was a ten minute drive in the car, looking out across the water really was like looking at something from a postcard. As I mentioned previously this part of the living room almost felt, somehow, like its own little room.
4. Things to do:
There are not a lot of restaurants or pubs in this part of the world however the nearby village does have a post office where you can pick up milk, the paper and round the back you can get a breakfast or a lunch. I think it was quiet expensive for the meals you received relative to the portion sizes they gave you, 7.50 for a tiny micro veggie burger which did not include chips for example , and the lunch menu was also quiet limited. However at this establishment, like the house, you had a great view of the loch from here. The pub across and a little further up the road however had a great range on its menu,for meat eaters and vegetarians alike, was competitively priced and what I ate was delicious.
As there was no free WIFI at home it encouraged you to get out and walk and that is one of the attraction for a lot of people coming here. One of the big attractions other than the stunning scenery and occasional sightings of rabbits/hares (not sure which) is the Knapdale Beaver Walk, of which I plan to write a separate review on.
The Story of the Knapdale Beaver walk is this; the Scottish Nature Trust got permission in May 2009 to research the effect of reintroducing Beavers into the wild, having previously died out century's ago in Britain due to man eating and using the beaver for its oil (nice perfumy smell) and fur (warmest fur produced by any animal). Thus Knapdale and the surrounding area was chosen as the testing ground for the effects of reintroduction of the beaver on the local ecosystem and how well they will be tolerated by the human population in the area.
The study lasts for five years after which a decision will be made whether to extend the reintroduction of beavers to other parts of the uk or not. As part of their work the Scottish wildlife trust offer a walk through Knapdale Forrest explaining all about their physiology, their habitat, behaviour, effects and offer a chance to see some beavers. This walk is a unique selling point about the home in Tayvallich as it is around 15 minutes in the car from Knapdale and in no other place in Britain can you currently see Beavers in their natural habitat.
There really aren't too many I can think of except the fact that it is not within easy driving distance of any significantly large town, the lack of paid for satellite tv, the poor mobile reception (read none on most networks, both 02 and Virgin) and crucially the lack of free WiFi or a free Ethernet cable connection. However you are not coming here for technology or bustling night life and as long as you bare these things in mind I feel you shouldn't have too much to complain about!
5. TARGET AUDIENCE
Who do I feel would gain most from this type of relaxing, scenic holiday? Well the cliched answer would be pensioners and middle aged couples however this particular holiday has something to offer most types of people from those with young children, large families and even families sharing the house with other parts of their family such as a brother and sister taking their partners and their children with them. The pool would be ideal for children who could set up some type of water volleyball set up if they are old enough. Younger children could practice swimming in the pool under the watchful eye of a parent or older sibling.
In fact because its a good distance off from the nearest house even 20 somethings and late teens could all chip in together and use it to play obnoxiously loud music without it likely bothering anyone much in particular, although in general I feel that the kind of activities on offer would not appeal to this age range unless they are quite into the outdoors and things like canoeing etc, or if they were going there with their families.
6. Price/Value for money
It depends what time of year you go and what week, in the high season it can be as much as 2 grand a week which is just outwith most peoples affordable price range however if you wait and if you are expedient in checking back on the price you can potentially get a weak here for only £1,200, which is what we got it for.
For what we paid it was exceptional value for money and was no dearer than what we typically pay for a week. Whereas we are used to hot tubs and two, sometimes three bathrooms, this house with a massive four bathrooms, just surpasses all those previous houses and blows them away. Having your own swimming pool for a week starts to make you feel like a king, then its back to reality!
6. Closing Remarks
This house in otters point Tayvallich is the stuff of dreams, and for someone that prefers places that have music and gyms I was thoroughly impressed with it and enjoyed it more than I could ever possibly of imagined.