“Unpretentious but luxurious eco-lodges for 2-4 with private hot tubs and saunas, perched high on a hill overlooking the Oa peninsula in Islay”
Each lodge is identically laid out with an open-plan living area and 2 ensuite bedrooms, suitable for 2 couples or a family/group of 4 as one of the Hypnos zip-link beds can be separated into twin beds. Alternatively, book both lodges as an ideal getaway for a big group, or book a reduced rate for just 2 people.
Bedrooms are decorated simply with reclaimed oak floors, and bespoke touches like the lodge’s very own Coillabus tweed, which has been made into blinds and throws. On the beds, you’ll find the highest quality free-range goosedown pillows and comforting British-sheep wool duvets. If you prefer a firm mattress, choose the bedroom on the same side as the sauna.
There’s ample storage for your belongings and if you run out of space, there are additional cupboards in your laundry room, right next to the front door. The owner, Hester Ross, has gone to considerable lengths to ensure every little detail has been taken care of, right down to the Islay Single Malt Myrtle soaps and shampoos supplied by local soap maker, Spirited Soaps.
The huge ensuite bathrooms, with soothing desert dune ceramic tiles and double-height ceilings, have gorgeous walk-in showers and double-ended tubs. With ‘soft as a cloud’ organic towels and robes to wrap yourself in plus heating underfoot, it somehow feels like you're relaxing in the environs of your very own Island Spa. And you get a selection of the toiletries to take home, as a thanks for booking through i-escape.
At Coillabus, you’ll have the pleasure of cooking in a brightly lit, well-thought out space. Each lodge has a simple galley-style kitchen, which includes an impressive American-style fridge/freezer and a stainless steel double-oven with hob. There’s a dishwasher and cupboards and drawers stocked with every plate and utensil you could possibly require.
You'll find a welcome breakfast basket waiting for you, which contains fresh orange juice, Scottish muesli, oatcakes, local eggs, Ramsay’s bacon, chocolate biscuits, Ma McKinnon’s whisky marmalade (made on Islay), and a bottle of fizz. Basic ingredients (salt, pepper, oils, herbs, tea and coffee) are supplied. The village supermarket stays open until 8-10pm, 6.5km away, so you can stock up on other groceries, and a shopping service is possible - just put your order in with Hester. There is also a local community garden, where you can pick your own salads and vegetables; directions to which are provided in your directions after booking.
On those occasions when you’d prefer not to cook, you can order a Taste of Islay 3-course meal by French chef Francois Bernier. Using local ingredients, you choose from freshly-caught lobster or venison and watch as the meal is prepared in front of you. The chef also caters to individual dietary requirements, just be sure to give plenty of advance notice.
If you have the use of a car, there are nearby restaurants and cafes: you can visit the café restaurant at Ardbeg Distillery or book a table at the nearby Islay Hotel. More recommendations await you in your lodge.
The lodges are an ideal place to bring older children; there's plenty of space to let them roam free in an isolated environment. The well-equipped kitchens make it easy to rustle up family meals; there's a microwave, fridge-freezer and dishwasher; a grocery shop can be done in advance of your stay and chilled or frozen meals can be provided with advance notice. Each lodge has a laundry room and bathrooms have a tub and separate shower. There's an information file in each lodge about local activities and sights including beaches.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
An Cnocan Dubh is best for families (and dogs are allowed); A Mhoine Bheag is a bit more secluded and intended for romantic retreats, but both lodges can fit 4 in total or 5 if you have a baby, too. The second bedroom can be made up as a twin. Baby cots are free to borrow.
A local babysitter can be arranged with advance notice.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
There are cattle on the nearby farm, and parents should keep an eye on exuberant kids when walking on the cliffs. Children are not permitted to climb onto the turf roofs.