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The Bracken Hide hotel review: A smart yet flawed retreat on the Isle of Skye

Simon Calder’s Travel

In a nutshell: This stylish new opening is centrally located on the beautiful Isle of Skye, with trendy cabin rooms and a gorgeous main building. However, the fashionable look is papering over some obvious teething problems.

The location

The Isle of Skye really is as beautiful as the pictures all over your Instagram feed would suggest. Towering peaks hold court around vast bays and ethereal moorland. The Bracken Hide sits in a superb position on the edge of the island’s main (and only) town of Portree, where guests can walk a leisurely 20 minutes from the hotel to all of the town’s restaurants, pubs, cafés and shops. Despite its proximity, The Bracken Hide acts as a retreat away from the tourist honeypot that is Portree. Perched on a slight elevation above the town, one view from the hotel faces the barren hills inland, while the other looks out onto Loch Portree and, further afield, to rolling hills on the neighbouring island of Raasay.

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Skye is a large island with lots to see and a car is recommended, but the Bracken Hide’s central location results in shorter journey times to the must-go attractions. By car, the ancient volcanic landscape of the Quiraing is 40 minutes away, while the jagged rock formation of the Old Man of Storr is less than 20. Skye can be reached by car from the Scottish mainland at Kyle of Lochalsh over the Skye Bridge, itself a two-hour drive from Fort William or four hours from Glasgow. Alternatively, both vehicle and foot passengers can take a 25-minute ferry from Mallaig, a port town reachable by an incredibly scenic 90-minute train journey from Fort William.

The Bracken Hide cabins benefit from stellar views

(The Bracken Hide)

The look

The centrepiece of the hotel is the extraordinary main building containing the lobby, restaurant and whisky bar with the cabin-style rooms set separately. Built like a curved wooden box and plonked on top of a hill, it looks as if modernist Scandi-chic and traditional Scottish style had a baby. Stepping through the front doors into the lobby, visitors are presented with huge floor-to-ceiling windows below a soaring asymmetric vaulted ceiling presenting views of the bay below. The reception desk is hidden, allowing for more space for guests to relax into soft furnishings and admire the Highland scenery through the windows. Armchairs and sofas…

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