Kinloch Lodge, Isle of Skye

Kinloch Lodge, Isle of Skye

Perched on southern Skye’s windswept Sound of Sleat, this Scottish beauty is the epitome of a traditional country lodge retreat

whitewashed former hunting lodge that has been in the hands of
the Macdonald clan for centuries, Kinloch Lodge is now headed up by
Isabella Macdonald, the daughter of Lord Godfrey and Lady Claire
Macdonald, who opened the hotel in 1972. Often shrouded in mist
swept up from the sleepy southern banks of Loch na Dal, a sea loch
in southern Skye, Kinloch’s setting is spectacular, even by
Scottish standards. Picture crisp, cold, shimmering waters, wild
hills and complete – almost eerie – silence.

Outside, there’s foraging, fishing and stalking to be done, all
accompanied by Kinloch Lodge’s resident ghillie, the aptly named
Mitchell Patridge, while the hotel’s seasonal, sea-to-plate
restaurant offering takes centre stage when you’re back at base.

Considering the fact that the lodge used to be the Macdonalds’
home, hosting seems to have come incredibly naturally to the family
– in particular, to Isabella, whose effervescent hospitality will
likely have you feeling more like friends by the end of your stay.

A room at Kinloch Lodge
The drawing room

Window views from a bedroom, left, and the Lodge’s drawing


Thanks to a tasteful renovation in 2016, the rooms all exude a
country-home charm – think muted colour palettes, Cole & Son
wallpaper and fabrics from the local crafters at Skye Weavers. All
bedrooms and suites look out onto majestic Loch na Dal, so, come
morning, you can sweep open your curtains for misty views over the
water. And the beds? They’re all super-kings, with soft,
goose-feather mattress toppers and luxurious Egyptian cotton bed
linen. The bedrooms are all individually designed, the pulse of
history still coursing through their veins in subtle ways, with old
Macdonald family portraits and paintings on walls, and small
trinkets and memorabilia on bedside tables. In the bathroom there
are huge walk-in showers and roll-top baths, and shelves stocked
with L’Occitane toiletries.

What’s for breakfast?

The most important meal of the day is taken seriously here,
although the menu may err on the side of simple. But what it lacks
in variety, it makes up for in flavour and strong Scottish
sustenance. There’s an award-winning creamy porridge spiced with
nutmeg and cinnamon and hearty cooked breakfast options like smoked
salmon with scrambled eggs on granary toast. For those who prefer
their first meal cold, there’s a deliciously nutty homemade
granola, and fruit salad.

The candle-lit dining room
A bowl of mussels on the menu at Kinloch Lodge

Dinner by candlelight, left, and fresh loch mussels on the

How about lunch and dinner?

Luckily for us, head chef Jordan Webb is a stickler for cooking
from nature’s larder, so you’ll find an abundance of locally
foraged fare on the lunch and dinner menus, much of which is
plucked straight from the loch, surrounding shores and the
restaurant’s impressive kitchen garden. Webb, who joined the team
in 2020, has had a tough act to follow – Lady Claire Macdonald left
a remarkable culinary legacy, following her 40 years in the lodge’s
kitchen, during which she penned a remarkable 20 cookbooks.

Webb has quite literally stepped up to the plate, though, with
an unfussy approach and focus on hyperlocal produce. Favourites on
his daily-changing menu include North Skye venison dhal, Sconser
scallops, and halibut in a creamy vermouth sauce. For those not
wanting to be bound by the set lunch and dinner times, there’s an
appetising all-day menu offering sandwiches, cheese and Kinloch
Lodge s’mores.

Is there a bar?

Yes, there is – a cosy, firelit den with an extensive whisky
collection of over 122 bottles.


Kinloch’s resident ghillie, Mitchell Partridge, is on hand for
outdoor pursuits including foraging, fishing, wild walks and
stalking – all accompanied by his exquisitely trained collie,
Millie. And what to do with those tired, aching post-walk limbs?
Leave yourself in the capable hands of Anita, a holistic masseuse
who mixes her own oils, and you’ll come away as good as new, if not

How about their green credentials?

Lady Claire’s emphasis on seasonality and local ingredients was
groundbreaking when she first introduced it in the 70s, and the
hotel’s food ethos is still very much geared around locality.
You’ll also find an impressive list of biodynamic and organic
wines, as well as filtered water drafted straight from the nearby
natural spring.

What about accessibility?

All communal areas of the main lodge – the dining room, bar and
drawing room – are on the ground floor, as are three ground-floor
rooms that allow wheelchair access. One of the three ground-floor
bathrooms is fully adapted, and the others are all particularly

What’s the crowd?

Kinloch’s relaxed, informal style draws guests from all over. In
recent years the hotel has been particularly popular with families,
thanks in no small part to Mitchell Partridge’s wealth of wild,
outdoor experiences that cater to children of all ages.

Within a short walk I can find…

The cast of wildlife that roams the lodge’s spectacularly remote
surroundings includes stags, otters and golden eagles – you’ll
likely not come across another building on your walk, let alone a

Things I should know…

The yellowish water that sometimes runs from the bathroom taps –
a totally natural (and harmless) effect of the area’s peat-rich
soil – may be off-putting for some, but we think it just adds to
this earthy bolthole’s Scottish charm.

The Lowdown

Doubles cost from £280 a night.