Welcome back to Charming Places — a series in which I talk about the places I stay. From B&B’s, hotels and guesthouses to apartments and farm stays, I’ll give my honest thoughts on these spaces. I’ve found that the accommodation I choose to stay often directly affects how I feel about a particular destination. And how I connect with that location and its people. So I want to share these places with you by dishing out a bit of info and some of my opinions.
While the Isle of Skye is an island, it’s not exactly small at 1656 square kilometers (639 square miles).
In fact it’s the second largest of the Scottish islands.
Add in the many peninsulas and the wee roads you will find yourself driving on and it seems even bigger.
So where you stay is very important to seeing the Skye that you want to see.
There’s a lot to experience on this popular island and it tends to be scattered about.
You’ll want to choose your top sites and stay in an area that makes sense for you.
For me I knew I wanted to stay in a less touristy and less-visited area that would still give me access to places like Talisker Distillery and Talisker Bay as well as some amazing scenery.
Stumbling on Carter’s Rest
While so many folks choose to stay in or near the main town of Portree, I was looking for something quieter with fields of sheep and views of the water.
After all the Isle of Skye is about the scenery, not the towns.
So I began to focus on the western part of the island — the peninsulas of Waternish and Duirinish — despite the fact that I was considering hiking the famous Quiraing and Old Man of Storr which are on the Trotternish peninsula to the east.
The more I read about this part of the Isle of Skye the more I was drawn to this less-visited area.
Inexpensive accommodation on the Isle of Skye is a bit hard to come by outside of Portree and a few other spots.
So I decided to splurge a bit and find a B&B that was in this intriguing region and had that certain vibe I was looking for — a smaller house with attention to detail.
Carter’s Rest popped up and once I checked out the website and emailed Julie and Steve Carter, I knew it was the place for me.
Getting to Carter’s Rest
Driving out to Carter’s Rest is not difficult as long as the weather is decent.
The directions on their website are spot on so be sure to follow them.
The main road of the Isle of Skye is the A87.
You’ll take this through the town of Broadford and be treated to some gorgeous scenery between the town and the turn off onto the A863.
The A863 is a slightly lesser road but still in great shape and has more stunning views.
As you near the outskirts of the town of Dunvegan you’ll turn left onto the B884 toward Colbost and Glendale.
This is where you’ll be driving on wee roads — single lanes with places to pull off for passing — for about 10 miles.
You’ll see signs for Neist Point Lighthouse and pass by the famous restaurant, The Three Chimneys.
The scenery really hits the wow factor as you come into the last mile or so.
You’ll see the house sitting there just after the sign for the turn off to Neist Point.
I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped as I realized what I was going to be privileged to look at over the next 3 days.
There are only 3 rooms at Carter’s Rest but that’s what I love about it.
Each of the 3 guestrooms vary in size and price.
There are 2 rooms with larger beds with one having the ability to be made into 2 twins and having a sofa that can become a bed for a third person while the other has the jacuzzi tub.
The double room — the one I stayed in — has a queen size bed and is still plenty big enough for 2 people.
I love that each room has a mini refrigerator, electric tea kettle and desk.
For someone like me who is working as I travel, loves to have access to tea making facilities and likes to have her own food, these 3 amenities mean a lot — along with the good-working wifi.
The bed is incredibly comfortable and warm.
And the bathroom is a nice-size with a shower, sink, toilet and a lovely skylight-type window looking out toward the water.
The room was always warm in the chilly spring weather and definitely clean.
Julie and Steve also have a self-catering apartment for rent for those wanting to stay longer.
Attention to detail
Julie has done a fabulous job of adding those “little touches” that can make a B&B or guesthouse just a notch above a nice or a good place.
The bedding is of a high quality and there is a simple sophistication to the decor with just a touch of fun and whimsey — the Highland cow pillows and the stuffed bear in my room.
I mentioned the electric kettle and mini refrigerator, but there’s more.
Each room comes with an iPad, a TV as well as a fabulous selection of teas.
You’ll find a comfy bathrobe as well as a hair dryer and an iron.
I adored the lovely Highland Soaps— shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotion. The lotion is a whisky honey blend that I can still smell in my memories.
It’s these amenities that put Carter’s Rest in that better than average accommodation without being up in the luxury category in pricing.
And this is a guesthouse that is above “better than average.”
All the rest
Carter’s Rest is excellent because of a few additional aspects.
Number one is that Julie and Steve are wonderful hosts.
They are so helpful in offering up tips of what to do on the Isle of Skye and helping to arrange tours or restaurant reservations.
Steve looked up the tide tables for me for Talisker Bay so I could time my trip to the Distillery and low tide at the bay.
Julie called to set up my tour at Talisker Distillery.
I have a gluten sensitivity so they put gluten free snack bars in my room each day and I had gluten free choices for breakfast.
They told me how to get to Skye Weavers which was just up the road from the B&B.
The second reason is breakfast is amazing — from the fabulous view out the window to the scrumptious food.
As I mentioned above, they’ll cater to dietary restrictions and you’ll still get a delicious meal.
The food is fresh, tasty and there’s a wide variety for all appetites.
I recommend the local, free-range eggs and organic smoked salmon.
And the final feature that sets this accommodation apart from others is the location.
It’s in an absolutely stunning part of the Isle of Skye.
It’s tranquil and not heavily touristed.
The views from the breakfast room are breath taking as are the views from the yard.
You can actually walk to Neist Point Lighthouse (look for a future post on this) if you want.
Or take other walks on the road right outside and take in the gorgeous landscape.
And while it’s not for those who want to be near the action, it’s the perfect spot for those who want peace and quiet — who want to commune with nature.
Things to consider
The closet restaurant is The Three Chimneys at a good 10-15 minute drive.
And the town of Dunvegan is about a 20 to 30 minute drive.
It’s here you’ll find a few more restaurants and a little market.
As I said the last bit of road — from near Dunvegan out to Carter’s Rest — is single track.
There are no lights so driving at night is not advised for those who aren’t used to this — so most Americans.
If you do choose to be out a bit later, just be sure to return before dark.
In the late spring and summer this isn’t an issue as the days are long.
But in autumn you’ll want to be more aware of this.
If you want to be closer to restaurants and shops then Carter’s Rest is not for you.
The best of Isle of Skye
I do think Julie and Steve offer up one of the best places to stay on the Isle of Skye.
As I said the Isle of Skye is not a cheap destination.
But their prices are pretty good considering what you get.
And to me, that’s value.
Those extra touches make the difference to me — the quality bedding and toiletry items, the assistance in setting up a tour, the catering to special diets and the general warmth of the hosts.
These are the qualities I look for in a fabulous B&B.
Carter’s Rest is definitely this — with the cherry on top.