Seeing stars on the Isle of Benbecula

editorial image

A hostel in the Outer Hebrides which specialises in low cost quality accommodation has been awarded five stars from the national tourism organisation.

VisitScotland awarded Nunton House Hostel, in Nunton on the Isle of Benbecula, five stars. Owned by Donald MacPhee and his family, the property is situated in the centre of the Uists and is an ideal location for all types of visitors, being within easy reach of walks, wildlife, beachcombing and hill climbing.

The hostel opened in June 2012 and is set within part of the former 18th century home of the Clan Chief of the Clanranald, where Bonnie Prince Charlie was aided in disguising himself as Betty Burke, Flora MacDonald’s maid, before escaping over the sea to Skye.

The historic property is located across the road from one of the many beautiful beaches on the islands - Culla Bay ; a sand and shingle beach which is perfect for walks, picnics and for those brave enough to venture into the cool waters, surfing and swimming.

Nunton House has four en-suite dorm rooms, with two bunk beds in each to sleep four people. Bedding is provided and towels are available for hire. Facilities include a common room with a magnificent original inglenook fireplace, fully-equipped kitchen, basic self-service continental breakfast with tea and coffee, laundry, internet-access PC and free Wi-fi, secure luggage lock-up facilities and 24-hour CCTV. The hostel also offers cycle storage, parking and outside decking with picnic benches.

Owner Donald MacPhee said: “We are delighted to have received the five-star grading from VisitScotland. Having worked within the tourist industry on the islands for a number of years, we noticed a gap in the market for hostel accommodation - a place for all different types of visitor to the Islands from walkers and cyclists to families and groups.

“Our aim has, and always will be, to ensure the customer is at the heart of the business, and that we ensure their visit to the Outer Hebrides is as enjoyable as possible.”

Alan Mackenzie, VisitScotland Islands Manager, said: “I would like to congratulate Mr MacPhee and his family for achieving this great accolade. As Scotland prepares to welcome the world in 2014, it is vital that everyone involved in tourism works together to offer visitors a fantastic experience when visiting and staying on the islands.

“Our Quality Assurance scheme helps businesses to reach their full potential and truly shine. The scheme is about more than just the ‘stars’ on the door - it’s about the entire visitor experience, about investing in your business and making it as economically sustainable as it can possibly be.”