“ Address: Gruline / Isle of Mull / Argyll PA71 6HR / Tel: 01680 300567 „
Just back from a week long holiday on the Isle of Mull. Having read some of my previous reviews, you all may know that my partner and I often holiday on the west coast of Scotland where the scenery is spectacular and more often than not the weather is great too. This time around we weren't so lucky with the weather unfortunately but as we were staying in a self catering lodge on Mull we were able to come and go as we pleased without any restrictions which you can sometimes find with hotels and B&Bs' - more so bed and breakfast accommodation. The added bonus of going self catering means that you don't have to be up at a certain time in the morning for your breakfast and you don't have to be back at a certain time in the evening for your dinner. You can eat in or out depending on your preference and pretty much just come and go as you please.
==Getting to Mull (Fishnish)==
As we were travelling from Aberdeen, the easiest and quickest route for us to get to the Isle of Mull was to head straight to Fort William travelling 120 miles to get there. From Fort William head Approximately 9 miles south towards the Corran Ferry crossing over to Ardgour. This route saves you a painful 30 mile journey on a single track road. I have to add that our final ferry destination in Mull was not Tobermory but instead Fishnish as we were staying in Gruline which is a pretty good central location near Salen (approximately 2 miles away) with good access to both the North and the South of the Island.
===How did we find out about Hideaway lodges===
It was actually a year before we were set to go on this holiday that we booked it. By chance I was flicking through the National Trust for Scotland magazine and there happened to be some advertisements for various accommodations throughout Scotland and Hideaway lodges happened to be one of the adverts in the magazine. Having never been to Mull before I suggested to my partner that we make that our holiday destination for next year (this year) and after mulling it over he agreed and we booked it there and then. I must add that bookings are for 1 week slots Saturday to Saturday.
==How easy was it to book==
The website for hideaway lodges is a very well laid out and easy to navigate website where we able to view descriptions and a number of pictures of the cabins themselves, find out about availability and tariffs and of course contacts. To make a booking you can either telephone, e-mail or write to Steve and Alison Willis. We chose to E-mail and got a speedy response confirming the availability and payment options advising us that 50% had to be paid upfront. Unfortunately the lodges do not accept any form of credit or debit card at the moment with the only options for payment being cash or cheque, so we promptly mailed our cheque out for the deposit and set about planning the things we wanted to do while we were in Mull.
==Getting to Hideaway Lodges==
From the Ferry at Fishnish all you have to do is carry on North toward Salen and take the turn off toward Gruline and 2 miles along the road you come across the sign for Hideaway lodges into the left. The speed limit is 5mph and the sign clearly states that it is private property so non-residents shouldn't be using the private driveway down to the lodges. Turning into the driveway you can see immediately that there is a good covering of trees in the area but from the road you can't actually see the lodges themselves. A short distance along the drive and you enter a clearing and right in front of you are 3 lovely looking log cabins set a short distance apart.
There are 3 cabins to choose from as indicated previously and they all cost the same but have slight variances to them.
1.Ulva Lodge - this is a double bedded lodge complete with a television receiving Sky (limited channels)
2.Staffa lodge - this is a double bedded lodge without a TV but it has a hi-Fi for you to be able to play c d's and so on.
3.Eorsa Lodge - this is a twin bedded lodge which does have a TV but it does not receive any signal but it has a DVD player so you can take your favourite DVD's with you on holiday if the weather happens to be undesirable.
Our Lodge of choice was Ulva lodge, thinking it would be nice to have a bit of TV in the evenings if we just wanted to sit and relax.
The layout of each individual lodge is the same with an open plan living / Kitchen / dining area and a bedroom complete with en-suite bathroom. Our lodge was very tastefully decorated and had everything we could have hoped for in a self catering lodge - our home away from home for the week. The kitchen was fully equipped with a fridge freezer; double oven with electric hob; toaster; kettle; microwave; all the cooking utensils you could possibly need to whip up any kind of meal really which was handy, as I had pre-bought all of our food for the week so with the excellent food storage and cooking equipment wasn't disappointed with my meal plans.
The living area had a 2 seater leather sofa, a wall unit and wall cabinets which contained various information leaflets about Mull, it's wildlife and things to do and see along with a selection of glassware including wine glasses etc, and we also had a log effect stove next to the sofa for cosying up next to.
There is a cute little square dining table beside one of the windows in the main living area where you can look out and see the various birds and other wildlife (if you're lucky) while your having your breakfast.
The spacious double bedroom again is tastefully decorated in latte and cream tones with a double bed; bedside cabinets, 2 single wardrobes and a chest of drawers, so plenty of space for you to hang or fold your clothes.
Again the Bathroom is fully equipped but unfortunately doesn't have a shower so a weeks worth of baths it was. Complete with heated towel rail and also a powerful down-flow heater for those chillier evenings.
There is electric heating throughout the Lodge in all rooms so you're guaranteed not to get cold, but with the double glazed windows, my partner and I found the Lodge to be quite cosy without the heating on.
==Arriving at Hideaway Lodges==
Upon arrival we were greeted by Steve Willis - the owner, who informed us that he had only just finished cleaning our lodge in preparation for our arrival. Steve was very welcoming and friendly and seemed to have a wealth of local knowledge with regards to the things we could do and see in the area and beyond which is always an added bonus. We were shown around the cabin and before making ourselves at home were required to settle our bill for the week leaving us free to enjoy the peaceful tranquillity of our surroundings.
I must add that we did receive a complimentary jar of locally sourced home made jam and a couple of scones as a welcome gift which I thought was a nice touch and we were told that if we needed anything that it was no trouble if we just popped across to Steve and Alison's property which is situated right next to the cabins and knocked on the door.
There is a verandah outside the Lodge itself where you can find a table and chairs which you can use just to enjoy the warm weather and soak up the atmosphere that surrounds the lodges which look out onto Loch Na Keal and is very close to one of this years sea Eagle nests and of course there are boat trips daily where feeding takes place so with a good pair of binoculars you can catch a glimpse of these beautiful creatures from the comfort of your Lodge.
Hideaway lodges themselves ticked most of my boxes apart from one or two. The bathroom was equipped with 2 hand towels and 2 bath sheets, one for myself and one for my partner, and I was very disappointed that these were not swapped at any point through the week. I don't use the same towel after washing myself at home more than once so to be expected to use the same towel every day for a whole week just did not sit well with me. We were also provided with a hand towel and a tea towel in the kitchen which again were used every day and were not swapped out at all. Having stayed in self catering apartments abroad I have always been provided with fresh towels at least every three days but more often than not, every other day.
The Lodge was also fully equipped with cleaning products, from kitchen and bathroom sprays to eco friendly washing up liquid which we were specifically told to use, as the lodges were linked to a septic tank. We were provided with a hoover (which I used regularly) and also an ironing board and iron. The accommodation is strictly no smoking and do not allow pets or children under the age of 16 to stay so this is really only suitable for the adults among us.
A week at hideaway lodges costs anything from 315 pounds up to 395 pounds for the week depending on the season - we were there during peak season so it cost 395. All lodges are priced the same and have their own individual appeal from an indoor aspect and enjoy the same views of the loch out the front, essentially you have your own home away from home for the week so I think it's worth it.
==My overall opinion==
On the whole, hideaway lodges really did tick most of the right boxes, the owners were friendly but uninvasive, the setting and scenery were excellent and we were in the perfect location for exploring the various parts of the island. The Lodges were very comfortable providing adequate living space for 2 people and most importantly clean and well equipped. Apart from the towel issue I really couldn't fault the accommodation, I felt very much at home and would highly recommend that if you're looking for somewhere to stay in Mull where you will have privacy, peace and the ability to explore the island and enjoy the wildlife then you can't get a better location than hideaway lodges in Grulin.