Our Blog

As Autumn Arrives

Posted by Claire Soulsby on Aug 30, 2015 6:00:00 PM

As the 'summer' draws to a close our days begin to get shorter and our moods tend to sway. The way to get out of this? A weekend break at Eriska!

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Why Eriska of all places? Well, where else can you escape to the peace and quiet of an Island with the only distraction being our Stables Spa, Michelin Starred food and wildlife?

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Eriska is a family run hotel that has been in operation for over 40 years. So why not come with your family to create memories at a traditional Scottish hotel located in one of the most scenic areas of the world!

We look forward to welcoming you to Eriska!

 

For further information either call us on 01631 720 371 or email us on office@eriska-hotel.co.uk

Topics: Eriska, Food, scenery, Spa

The End of Summer

Posted by Claire Soulsby on Aug 18, 2015 3:53:45 PM

It is already getting to the end of Summer, although it feels like we have yet to experience it in Scotland. As it ends August and we begin to enter into September we see the begining of Autumn approaching with our trees becoming more colourful. 

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Not only does this mean our climate is going to drop - even further, it also means that our Eriska Experience changes a bit. You will not require your shorts at this time of year but you will need that warm knitted jumper your granny knitted you, and those wellies you swore never to use again!

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So why not come cosy up next to our open fire place, or experience the wildlife in a slightly different climate this Autumn, Eriska is ready if you are!

For further information email office@eriska-hotel.co.uk or call us on 01631 720 371

 

 

Topics: Eriska

Gardening Tips for Autumn

Posted by Claire Soulsby on Jul 26, 2015 1:00:00 PM

Everyone that enters Eriska will see the gardens and admire them. So we asked our Gardener, Dougie for some top tips.

As we approach the autumn/winter season, what can our guests expect to see here at Eriska?

Deer, Badgers, Pine Martins, Geese, Otter and Seals. Trees changing colour to amazing autumn tintsAutumn_sho_of_eriska


What three key pieces of advice would you give Eriska guests looking after their garden?
1. Regularly Dead­Head Annual and Perennial Flowers, this will encourage more flowers to be produced.

2. Remove large weeds from your borders using a border fork and use dry sunny day to hoe the smaller weeds

3. Look out for greenfly infestations on your roses in the warmer weather, apply insecticide at first sign of attack

For those interested in being outdoors and nature, what are your ‘must visit’ spots on Eriska?

Shell Point: Amazing views of the sand of mull with seals and a huge range of seabirds including Sea Eagles.

Otter Point:­ Views of Lismore and Loch Linnhe, with Otters and Seals.

The View Point: 360 degree views of Appin, Lismore and Benderloch

 

Topics: Eriska, Island

National Cucumber Day: How do you take yours?

Posted by Bertie Badger on Jun 14, 2014 5:42:00 PM

sliced cucumber

The 14th June marks National Cucumber Day: a day for foodies all over to appreciate thisrefreshing fruit (yes cucumber, like tomato, is actually a fruit). Though we suspect the more skeptical among us would perhaps shake their heads in disbelief to the existence of such a day, cucumber – which comes from the same botanic family as melon – has a variety of day-to-day uses.

As well as a tasty additive to many salads, cucumbers are famously used for eyes in facials; with claims that its high water and vitamin content helps revive tired eyes! Its popularity in drinks and cocktails has also boomed in recent years, and though it may not be one of the first things you'd think to use in a cocktail, its clean flavour makes an excellent addition to summer beverages.

At Eriska cucumber has become a favourite choice for many of our guests, mainly with Hendrick's gin, and so to help everyone celebrate the day in style we have listed some of the most requested beverages featuring a dash of cucumber for you all to try (including our new non-alcoholic Eriska Fizz)

Hendricks and Tonic

For a delightfully refreshing tipple, serve Hendricks Gin over ice, top up with tonic and garnish with a slice of cucumber to fully appreciate the infusion of rose petal and cucumber in this most unusual gin.

50 ml Hendrick's Gin

125 ml Tonic Water

2 slices of cucumber

DSC 1044 resized 600Hendricks Martini

Refreshing Martini with a hint of cucumber!

50ml Hendricks Gin

5ml Dry Vermouth

To Prepare: Add ingredients to cocktail shaker and shake over plenty of ice. Strain into a Martini Glass.

Garnish with a cucumber ball in place of the traditional olive.

 

Eriska Fizz

Chill out on a warm day with a refreshing mix of cucumber, elderflower and lemon.

25ml elderflower cordial

25ml lemon juice

2” cucumber; Skin and seeds removed

To Prepare: Remove the skin from the outside of the piece of cucumber, and the flavourless, watery seeds from the center. Roughly chop the piece into a few smaller pieces (to help it break down). Add this to a cocktail shaker with the lemon juice and elderflower cordial, and mash the cucumber a little with a muddler or flat end of a bar spoon. Add plenty of ice to the shaker and SHAKE HARD to squeeze the flavour out of the cucumber. Strain the mix into a tall glass filled with ice and top up with soda water to finish. For a more visually appealing drink use a tea strainer to strain and ensure no little pieces of lemon or cucumber make it into the glass.

NB Also works fantastically with 50ml of gin for those seeking a little more bite...

Co-Written with Keith McGregor, Duty Manager
Photos by Glen Montgomery, F&B Manager

Topics: Eriska, Drink, National Cucumber Day, Hendricks Gin, Gin Recipes, Gin Cocktails

40 years and still going!

Posted by Beppo Buchanan-Smith on May 31, 2014 8:39:00 PM

As I sit here this evening it would have been a very different picture 40 years ago.

On 31st May 1974 Robin and Sheena Buchanan-Smith officially opened Eriska as a hotel. On one side 40 years must seem a lifetime ago and on another it seems to have flown by. Over that time we have been lucky enough to have worked with some wonderful team members who have helped make Eriska what it is today and we have been fortunate enough that so many have crossed our wee rickety bridge to place their trust in us to deliver a relaxing experience.

However the greatest achievement for us as a family is the fact that even after 40 years we are still here and still operating and running Eriska, although sometimes it feels a bit backwards in that Eriska really runs us and operates us! My father always used to highlight how difficult it was to welcome guests who became friends and how challenging it was to continually evolve  and change to meet their needs and demands but in reality the two are intrinsically linked in that Eriska has always been and for as long as we remain involved- always will be- driven to evolve by our guests and the team we work with.

So what has changed over the last 40 years- well we must seem like an oasis of calm this evening compared to 40 years ago- on this night back in 1974 my parents had just held an opening reception for over 100 of the great and good of the area and those who had supported them on the journey from an empty old house back in July 1973 to a vibrant building in May 1974.  The official opening was by Tom Flemming and my mother missed it as she was carving Smoked Salmon in the kitchen.

They then went on to serve dinner for a full house plus some gluttons for punishment non residents who stayed on form the lunchtime reception. It was not only the hotels first night but also the team and more importantly my parents first night.

The tight schedule had left no time for a dry run or practice- they were still painting the diningroom at lunchtime before service and my fathers perfection stopped us having wet paint signs visible (history will now tell if anyone left the reception with more of a mark than they had anticipated!) so when the full diningroom, on a hot summers evening were all waiting for the main course it could be excused that my father became slightly distraught with his wee hostess trolley, old fashioned bone handled carving knife and small pheasants to carve and a baying crowd of hungry visitors. I have never been sure how long tables waited or how generous the portion sizes were but as far as I have been told everybody remembers the evening as ground breaking, the team learnt a great deal, my father never took to carving pheasant out of choice and Eriska was reborn and in truth we have tried never to look back except to reflect on the journey we have taken and look forward on the road ahead. 

The most amazing thing is that a young lady form Oban with no professional cooking experience and a Church of Scotland Minister from St Andrews managed to bind a hotel and island and team together to look after the guests with simple hospitality and peace and quiet. The good news is that little has changed today and these three ingredients remain in our bowl and remain at our core and will for the next 40 years.

Happy Birthday Eriska!

Topics: Eriska, Family Run Hotel, anniversary

Activities in Argyll: Planning the Perfect Escape

Posted by Bertie Badger on Apr 4, 2014 7:08:00 PM

Isle of EriskaIt’s come to that time of year when the weather is starting to pick up, the schools are finishing up for the summer and tourists are flooding into cities all around the world.

Short summer breaks are just what you need to escape the monotony of every-day life. For those planning on joining us at the West Coast this summer, here's some activities on and around Eriska to help plan the perfect getaway itinerary:

Thing to do on the Island

  • Walks

The main house is set in the centre of the island and is surrounded by an abundance of flora and wildlife wherein lies a selection of nature paths for our guests to explore. From all points of the island there are amazing views to be witnessed, and with each walk varying in length both casual walkers and experienced hikers have the chance to behold the wonders of the Island.

  • Leisure Facilities

For those wishing to really take advantage of the Island experience, we offer a wide range of activities so that there’s always something for everyone: relax and regenerate at our stables spa, complete with swimming pool, sauna and hot tub for an escape of pure luxury; test your skill on our 9-hole golf course and driving range, or build up a sweat in our indoor sport facility with a spot of tennis, badminton, football and more.

  • Wildlife Spotting

Our 300 acre island is home to more than just the estate; many birds and animals reside in the depths of the vegetation that are unlikely to be spotted in a metropolitan setting. Many a guest have the enjoyment of waking up in the morning to the harmonies of several species of birds chirping in the distance and often spot deer, otters, badgers and seals while exploring the islands depths. For the keen birdwatchers, we have over 100 species of birds on and around the island including the rare white-tailed sea eagle which has been said to make an appearance by our golf course

  • Clay Pigeon Shooting

For those looking for something a little unusual, we offer the fast-paced heart-pounding experience of clay pigeon shooting. Test your skill with a rifle as the clays are sent soaring through the air, along with our experienced instructor.

Activities and Places to Visit near Eriska

  • Sea Life CentreScottish Sea Life Centre

Located only a mile from Benderloch, you don't have to go too far to have a fun afternoon.The Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary homes a variety of different and interesting fish and aquatic animals, offering frequent talks, feedings and displays each day to help you get better acquainted with your favourites

  • Tralee Segway Centre
Segway at Eriska

Our neighbours down at Tralee Bay offer a great variety of quirky activities to try. Explore their vast hilly terrain and fantastic open views as you guide your segway through some of Scotland's most scenic countryside or attempt to walk on water in one of the huge 2 meter water walkers. With activities for all ages, it truly is a great family day out!

 

  • Coastal Connection

Charter your own boat to take you around the Isles from Eriska's own Pier. Coastal Connection offer a selection of different Island tours ideal for couples and large groups, allowing you to witness the beauty of the west coast from a whole different perspective.

  • Stramash

For those looking to go on a bit of an adventure, Stramash offer a plethora of outdoor activities for a wide range of skill sets. Archery, Coastering, Sailing and Kayaking are just a few of the things you can try in many of the local stunning settings around the Argyll area

Stramash Activities

Eriska offers the perfect getaway; it’s location in the West Coast of Scotland places it right in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, offering beautiful picturesque scenery and tranquility and with the vast range of activities both on and around the Island our guests will never lack something to do.

Our popular three-night breaks offers the perfect amount of time to explore and indulge, with rates starting at just £585.00 per person. And with our pay before you stay option, you can save a further 10% on top of this.

 

Plan Your Perfect Escape!

Topics: isle of eriska, ESPA spa, Isle of Eriska Hotel, Eriska, wildlife, scottish spring break, spring package, spring special offer, scenery, Otters, Family Holiday, activities in argyl, activities, Sailing, Island, summer break

West Coast Weather - Week Commencing 2nd March

Posted by Bertie Badger on Mar 2, 2014 10:38:00 AM

With the first meterological day of Spring behind us, we here at Eriska find ourselves eagerly awaiting all the associations of the season. With signs of new life slowly creeping all around the island the days of rain, wind and cold finally seem numbered.

Though the mountains are struggling to shake the remains of the snow from their tops, the days are getting noticably longer and it won't be long until the clouds open up completely to reveal the clear blue sky that we've been dreaming of since the beginning of winter.

View from bridge

But there's still a while to go before the reports of sunshine are upon us and the weather this coming week seems a true testiment to that.

Today: A sunny start to the week, with intervals of sunshine expected to last until mid-afternoon. Heavy rain will appear later in the day and last throughout the evening.

Monday: Light rain showers will fall periodically, though things will mostly be dry with a touch of sunshine in the afternoon.

Tuesday: Looks to be another cloudy day with some light showers.

Wednesday: Rain will dominate, with a mixture of light and heavy rainfall throughout

Thursday: Projected to remain unchanged, with more rain and moderate winds

Friday: Rain will persist another day, though things expected to heat up a bit with temperatures reaching 11°C

Saturday: The week looks to end on a wet note, with forecasts of rain.

sports hall

So it may be a few more weeks yet before we can retire the winter coats and wellington boots. Though it does look like our guests will have some opportunity to get out and enjoy the scenery without getting too wet!

In the meantime, for those coming to visit this week  we'd advise making full use of our indoor facilities, which offers a nice variety of activities for those who want to stay active as well as those who want to put their feet up and relax!

Topics: isle of eriska, Isle of Eriska Hotel, Eriska, Scottish Weather, weather, weather forecast, wellies, Argyll Weather, West Coast Weather, Warm West Coast Weather, weather in the west highlands of scotland, west highland weather

West Coast Weather - Week Commencing 9th February

Posted by Bertie Badger on Feb 9, 2014 3:01:00 PM

This week Britain has taken a beating from severe weather conditions in the south, leaving many homes, farms and transport routes destroyed by extreme flooding.

Luckily things at the west coast of Scotland have been much tamer, however much to our annoyance, February is proving to be as wet a month as its predecessors. As Scotland endures it's wettest winter in over 100 years we find ourselves asking for any change: cold, sun, even snow.. as long as it stops raining!

Eriska Spring Flowers

Though looking at the forecast for the coming week, things certainly don't look promising.

Today: Heavy rain expected throughout the day, with some brief patches of sunshine.

Monday: With a slight temperature drop, prepare for potentially icy conditions on the road. Heavy rain will dominate in the morning and early afternoon, though things are looking to dry up as the evening progresses

Tuesday: Looks to be another wet day, with light rain and sleet showers alternating throughout

Wednesday: Projected to remain unchanged, with more rain to come.

Thursday: Flurries of snow and sleet are anticipated to fall sporadically throughout the day, with temperatures becoming near-freezing

Friday: The weather looks to take a slight turn, with the day remaining mainly dry.

Saturday: Sunny intervals and light cloud predicted, giving us the opportunity to stretch out legs in the fresh air.

 

Eriska Shoots

So perhaps there is some light at the end of the tunnel, with the week looking to end on a dry note - and perhaps a bit of sun!

This bodes well for the spring flora that has started shooting up around the island, allowing them the opportunity to absorb some light and photosynthesize into blossoming flowers just in time for Spring.

With any luck, it won't be long until the rain is behind us and our guests can start to enjoy all that the island has to offer!

Topics: isle of eriska, Isle of Eriska Hotel, Eriska, weather, weather forecast, Argyll Weather, West Coast Weather, weather in the west highlands of scotland, west highland weather

West Coast Weather - Week Commencing 26th January

Posted by Bertie Badger on Jan 26, 2014 10:59:00 AM

Grey Cloud

The weather in the west coast over January has shown no shortage of doom and gloom, with what seems like an infinite supply of grey clouds, rain and icy winds. This week, in particular, heavy rain and thunderstorms have dominated, leaving many unwanted new water features in their wake.

However, the week ahead shows some promise with things drying up briefly as we reopen our doors to the first flock of guests in the New Year.

Today: Following yesterday's thunder and lightening, heavy rain is due to continue accompanied by strong southern winds

Monday: After a wet and windy night, the rain will continue throughout the morning before gradually dissipating into light showers with sporadic dry patches and brief intervals of sunshine.

Tuesday: The worst of the weather seems to have cleared, leaving most of the morning and afternoon calm and dry with temperatures remaining comfortably above freezing.

Wednesday: Is projected to remain unchanged, with more cloud and tolerable temperatures.

Thursday: Things are projected to take a bit of an icy turn today, with the morning and afternoon remaining dry and some light rain showers showing face in the later half of the evening.

Friday: It looks like the rain will be making a re-apperance bringing with it strong windsupwords of 20mph

Saturday: More rain and wind to follow, ending the week on a bit of a tenebrous note.

02 January small 133A0003 cozy fireside in drawing room Eriska hotel resized 600

So it seems the weather is remaining true to its Scottish stereotype. Though, we at Eriska are not disheartened - after all it is a vast improvement onpervious years - and will take full advantage of our time indoors.

For those joining us at the end of the month, get ready to relax with your feet up by the fire with a good book and a glass of wine. But don't worry, the wellies are aplenty for those wishing to brave the outside.

 

Topics: isle of eriska, Eriska, Scottish Weather, weather, weather forecast, Argyll Weather, West Coast Weather, weather in the west highlands of scotland, west highland weather

Eriska New Year Resolution: 6 Steps to a Healthier You

Posted by Bertie Badger on Jan 5, 2014 5:00:00 PM

Ross StovoldHaving finally settled after a busy new year and adjusted to dating everything "2014" we're finally ready to get back to business and prepare for the months ahead.

2013 saw big changes for Eriska with our new head chef, Ross Stovold, taking over the kitchen and promoting the use of the best of the local produce to create healthy and delicious dishes for our fine-dining restaurant.

With his passion for food and healthy living, we thought we'd take this opportunity to pick his brain for those of you who are making the change for a healthier 2014! 

 

1. Buy a Juicer

Fruit and vegetable juices are a great way of getting vitamins into your body. Removing the pulp allows your cells to absorb the nutrients in fruit more readily and provide you with a quick energy boost.

It also provides you with a fun way to experiement with new flavours,  by allowing you to be creative and inventive in mixing your own juice blends.

2. Choose Wholegrain Over the White Alternative.

Wholegrain bread, pasta and rice are higher in dietary fibre than the white counterparts. Fibre is important in a balanced diet and can help prevent heart disease, diabeties and can help improve digestive health.

Furthermore, fibre can help prevent weight gain as it is not broken down in your digestive system and keeps you feeling full for longer. 

3. Snack on Raw Vegetables

Unhealthy snacking can be the kill-all end-all of any new diet. Though tasty, an abundance of crisps, chocolate and other sugary goodies are not good for you and can be costly!

Carrots, cucumber, bell pepers, celery, asparagus and cauliflower are just some of the vegetables that can be enjoyed raw, either on their own or with a nice low-fat dip.

4. If You Need Chocolate, Choose Dark Over Milk.

Starving yourself of your favourite treats makes diets incredibly difficult to maintain. If you feel you need a little chocolate on occassion, Ross recommends eating a small square of rich dark chocolate over a bar of milk. Dark chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa which is high in an antioxidant compound called flavonoids, this is believed to help prevent heart disease.

An alternative to satisfying your sweet-tooth with chocolate would be picking foods with natural sugars. Fruit is a quick and tasty way to treat yourself without feeling too guilty and can be enjoyed raw, lightly cooked or as a sorbet!

5. Avoid All Pre-Packaged and Take-Away Foods

It may seem like we're stating the obvious now, but even the so-called "healthy, low-fat"

Healthy Eating, Vegetarian ready meals are no substitute for the real thing. Devoid of most natural nutrients, these pre-packaged 5-mintute meals are filled with synthetic vitamins that are harder for your body to break down.

We understand that it's dark, cold, you've just had a long day at work and the last thing you want to think about it arranging a meal for the family. But if we take a practical look at it: in the 25 minutes it takes to place your order and await your deep-fried and greasy food to be delivered to your door, you could have already prepared a fresh and simple dish in the comfort of your own kitchen.

 

6. Use Walnut Oil Instead of Butter

Though butter is not bad for you in moderation, using it frequently throughout the day may run the risk of high cholesterol. The replacement of butter with walnut oil on your toast and sandwiches provides a nice nutty alternative and a good source of Omega-3.

Walnut oil also makes a nice salad dressing and good accompaniment for many meats and fish.

 

So there you have it; six small and subtle changes to make to your diet, which along with the general guidelines to nutritional health will have you feeling great in no time!


Topics: Eriska, Ross Stovold, New Year Resolution, Healthy Eating, Weight Loss