Isle of Skye means “cloud island” in Old Norse, and there is something otherworldly about its landscape – a mosaic of jagged mountains, pleated rock formations, mirror-like lochs and emerald moorland. It is no wonder many people choose to visit the island for more than a day trip. Luckily, there are plenty of places to stay where you can treat yourself to a glass of whisky or a hot bath after days of hiking and historical excursions.
The Sligachan Hotel sits on a crossroads in the heart of Skye, with trails on its doorstep that wind through heather-clad hills to the Cuillin mountains. Dating back to the 1830s, the family-run hotel is an ideal base for mountaineers and hikers, providing a warm respite from the wild highland winds with a small museum, microbrewery and seafood restaurant. Hang up your soggy raincoat in the drying room, choose from more than 400 Scotch whiskies to sip by the fire in Seumas’ Bar and crash in your contemporary room – with topographic-style carpets, a complimentary beer from the brewery and toiletries from the Tub.
Pack your binoculars and walking boots because Foxwood on Skye gives you a front-row seat to tufted hills, the rippling Loch Bracadale and the cloudy Cuillin mountains, all teeming with wildlife. You are within walking distance of Iron Age ruins, the Fairy Pools – a honeycomb of tiny waterfalls and craggy pools – and a library with a café in Struan village, while inside, you’ll find three bright rooms with tartan accents, wooden furnishings and views across the moorland. If you fancy long soaks in a Jacuzzi bath and relaxing in the sauna of your spa bathroom, book the Cuillin room.
Fancy waking up to the sound of a gushing stream, savouring a coffee on your deck and watching squirrels bounce around the surrounding woodland? These camping pods, found behind the post office in Dunvegan village, promise just that. You are steps from a bakery – where you can pick up perfectly flaky morning pastries – a gift shop and a handful of traditional restaurants. Each insulated pod includes a double bed and sofa bed, a kitchenette stocked with tea, coffee and sugar, as well as an ensuite with shower – so there will be no trudging across muddy campsites to use a draughty bathroom.
The Skeabost Hotel, built in 1871 as a hunting lodge, has preserved its past with traditional elements. A castle-like exterior sets the scene with turreted parapets and Tudor-style hood moulds, while inside, you’ll find Scots pine panelling, stained-glass windows and carved-wood mantelpieces. The building is framed by hectares of woodland that blanket the hills and wrap around the hotel’s nine-hole golf course, but leaves a gap for you to wander down to the shores of Loch Snizort. You can sink into a deep sleep on the four-poster bed in your room or stay up late with a dram of malt whisky from the tweed-lined cocktail bar.
As soon as you arrive at KnoydArt Bed and Breakfast, you’ll be digging your phone out of your pocket to snap a shot of the Instagram-worthy vistas. The whitewashed hotel sits above the craggy coastline, with a peaceful garden and deck looking across wild meadows to the Sound of Sleat and Knoydart Peninsula beyond. The fresh white interior is brightened with art painted by the owner, depicting dappled woodland and sunset-streaked skies, while the rooms adorned with seasonal colour schemes include an ensuite with a rain shower and a complimentary home-cooked breakfast.
These hillside lodges sit on the 8,094ha (20,000-acre) estate of the largest clan in Scotland, rubbing shoulders with the remains of Armadale Castle and its paradisiacal gardens. Each wooden lodge is self-catered – so pack some food and drinks – and offer killer views across the Sound of Sleat from a sun-trap deck. Access to the castle grounds is also included with your stay. Stroll over the gothic footbridge to explore ancient woodland blanketed by wildflowers and bluebells, or gaze up at the ruins of the 18th-century mansion house and 19th-century castle, adorned with climbing plants.