Earlier in the year we had an amazing stay in the Yorkshire Dales and you can read all about our awesome accommodation near Richmond here. It made us realise just how much was available only a few hours from our home and made us think more about what other parts of the UK we were missing out on.
With the smart money on COVID19 restrictions impacting overseas travel long term, we have been actively looking for more UK destinations to escape to and over the next couple of blogs, I am going to make a few suggestions which you, dear reader, might want to consider for your own breaks (travel restrictions permitting).
All of my recommendations meet a certain criteria and they range from budget priced to don’t ask the price (although for transparency and to guide you, I will tell you).
We love walking and exploring and wanted to stay away from cities, so every location has access to the great outdoors and has self catering facilities along with beds for four. On site (or nearly on site on one occasion) parking is available and all have shops and restaurants within reasonable driving or even walking distance.
Our first destination was close to home and located on the banks of Loch Linnhe, near Fort William in the Highlands of Scotland
Onich Hotel Pods Review
The Onich Hotel is a 3-Star family hotel offering very fine breakfasts and unsurpassed views of Loch Linnhe. The decor of the lounge and the reception are quite dated and reviews of the rooms suggest that refurbishment might be overdue. I cannot comment as we didn’t stay in one of the hotel rooms. Instead, we spent two nights in one of their fabulous beach pods.
Located at the end of the hotel’s extensive gardens lie four beach pods all with space for one parked car.
Being pods, they are not overly spacious and with a double bed and a couch bed a family of four is tight, but is it doable. And also highly recommended. Sitting at the front door looking over Loch Linnhe was a delight at any time of the day and in any direction, although do take some midge repellent.
Being close to the beach was also handy for some early morning swims. It was a bit chilly for going sans wetsuit but it did feel invigorating.
Those looking for a less extreme way of bathing each morning will be happy to know that in addition to a rudimentary kitchen area (it has a washboard, an ample sized fridge and a sink) the Onich Hotel Pods come with a surprisingly powerful, warm and very comfortable shower.
After swimming/showering, the Onich Hotel offers a good breakfast. We hadn’t originally added to our reservation but on arrival we noted that options locally were limited (10-15 minute drive to Fort William) and decided to book breakfast for our two mornings at a cost of £9.95 per person per day/
Having witnessed a rather poor and slow evening bar service (I am a hospitality graduate and former bar manager so possibly a bit overly critical), we didn’t quite know what to expect from breakfast service. What we experienced was a friendly, helpful and speedy service and a very relaxed and stylish breakfast area (inside and outside).
Full Scottish breakfasts were the order of the day and the quality of the fayre was reasonable. Hotel breakfast sausages and black pudding can be hit or miss but the Onich Hotel offerings were above average and everyone seemed to enjoy them.
Everything about the hotel seemed just above average but the truly beautiful location, view and fun pod experience are what make it worth while as a base to explore the Highlands. It really is a case of location, location, location.
The hotel suffers from some dated decor and did seem understaffed at times, although those staff were extremely helpful and attentive.
For those worrying about COVID19, temperature checks were taken on arrival and all guests were asked to wear masks when not seated. Spacing at breakfast was adequate and staff also wore masks.
With Glen Coe only 10 mins away in one direction and Ben Nevis 20 mins in the other, it is a great base for those wishing to enjoy some of Scotland’s most iconic locations.