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Islay Accommodation: The Best Hotels, B&Bs and Holiday Cottages

Last Updated: May 13, 2024

Where to Stay in Islay

The Best Place to Stay on Islay depends heavily on what modes of transport you plan to use during your stay. If you are planning to take a car (see our guide to Catching a Ferry to Islay) or hiring one on Islay, then your options are unlimited, and we suggest you pick any one of our recommendations below. We are particularly fond of Port Charlotte (as we used to live there), however, there are also some fantastic accommodation options around Bridgend, Bruichladdich, and Glenegedale Airport.

However, if you won't have access to a private vehicle and plan to rely on taxis (see our guide to Visiting Islay without a Car for a list of local providers), or the bus, we suggest basing yourself in the main towns of Bowmore and Port Ellen. These are the largest towns on the island and offer a wider range of cafes, restaurants, and drinking establishments within easy reach, while also being conveniently located near many of the distilleries.

If you're after a better understanding of where everything is on Islay, check out our map below:

Islay Distillery Map

Disclosure: most of the following links are affiliate links - if you click on an affiliate link and make a booking, we may earn a commission. If you choose to book through one of our links then THANK YOU - it helps us keep this site going. However, please feel free to contact the venues directly as you may get a better rate. 

Accommodation Port Ellen

Port Ellen is an ideal location to base yourself if you don't have a car, as you can easily get a bus or taxi to Ardbeg, Laphroaig and Lagavulin, or walk or cycle to all three if the mood/weather allows. In Port Ellen itself, you'll find the recently rebuilt Port Ellen Distillery, several drinking and eating establishments, as well as a Co-Op supermarket for groceries. Port Ellen is also one of the main Ferry Ports, and a short drive or bus from Glenegedale Airport.

Islay Hotel

Acquired by LVMH (Ardbeg) in 2022, Islay Hotel is set to undergo substantial renovations at the end of summer-2024. The plan is to re-open in time for summer 2025 with luxury accommodation, and a new name: Ardbeg House. In the meantime, The Islay Hotel has 13 rooms and an on-site restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, and they are currently a pet-friendly accommodation choice (not sure if this will last once it is Ardbeg House). Click here to see rates for the Islay Hotel.

Formerly known as the White Hart Hotel, No.1 Charlotte St was renovated in 2017 and now has several well appointed rooms of varying sizes (from singles, to doubles and twin, and Super King) all with breakfast included. The hotel is on the beach, looking out across Kilnaughton Bay, a short stroll to the Port Ellen Distillery and Maltings, and you'll find Islay E-Wheels bike and scooter hire in the car park at the back. Click here to see rates for No.1 Charlotte St.

The Machrie Hotel & Golf Links

The Machrie Hotel is a luxury Islay hotel in an 18th century converted farmhouse that sits in the middle of a Links golf course, alongside 7 miles of pristine beach, located near the Glenegedale Airport. The Machrie is a short drive from Port Ellen and has 47 stylish rooms to choose from, many with stunning views across the fairway towards the ocean. The on-site restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are three lounges and a well-stocked bar. The Macrhrie Hotel also has dog-friendly rooms available. Click here to see rates for the Machrie Hotel and Golf Links.

Laphroaig Whisky Distillery, Islay, Scotland

Accommodation Bowmore

Bowmore is a fantastic location to base yourself if you're wanting to be central to everything. While there is only one distillery in Bowmore, you are almost equal distance to Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Ardbeg (just past Port Ellen), or Bunnahabhain. You have a number of options for food and drink, including access to a Co-Op Supermarket, Post Office and bank (really handy if you've got non-UK bank cards as not all the ATMs around Islay will let you withdraw cash on a non-UK bank cards - though most venues accept credit card). 

Bowmore Distillery Cottages

Bowmore Distillery has six self-catering cottages ranging in size from one-bedroom to six-bedrooms. Each cottage has a fully equipped kitchen, and each bedroom has an en-suite bathroom. Minimum three-nights stay, but this is a perfect option if you're planning to base yourself in the heart of Bowmore, and they're located right next to the distillery. Click here to see rates for Bowmore Distillery Cottages.

An Cuan Bed & Breakfast

An Cuan is a wee Bed and Breakfast in the centre of Bowmore, with the option of double or twin rooms, with either a garden or sea view. All rooms are en-suite and the rate includes either full or continental breakfast. On-street parking is available. Click here to see rates for An Cuan Bed & Breakfast.

The Bowmore House Bed and Breakfast

Bowmore House Bed and Breakfast on the outskirts of Bowmore, a short stroll to the Peatzeria and the rest of Bowmore town. There are five (5) large double bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. A minimum two night stay is required to book, and the rate includes a hearty breakfast. They are a very popular accommodation option and often book out well in advance between April and October. Off-street parking is available. Click here to see rates for The Bowmore House Bed and Breakfast

The Bruce Guest House

The Bruce is a small guest house located right on the shores of Loch Indaal, with stunning views out over the water. It is conveniently located between the Lochside Hotel and the Peatzeria Restaurant, both of which are good options for lunch or dinner, and is only a short stroll to coffee shops, the Co-op supermarket and Bowmore Distillery. Breakfast at the Lochside Hotel is included in your room rate.

colour photograph of Bowmore distillery viewed from Bowmore pier

Bowmore Distillery, viewed from Bowmore Pier.

Accommodation Port Charlotte

While Port Charlotte is not the most ideal location if you're relying on public transport or taxis (as it is quite far from Bowmore) it is only 2 miles from Bruichladdich Distillery, and a very pleasant 30-40 minute walk along a recently completed pedestrian/cycle path. Port Charlotte has the advantage of providing three restaurant options (Port Charlotte Hotel, Lochindaal Seafood Kitchen, and Port Mor Community Cafe) and a small grocery store and fuel station. If you have a car it is a fabulous place to stay. If you don't have a car it is still a fabulous location, but it requires a lot more patience and planning (see our guide on Visiting Islay Without a Car). Port Charlotte is also where you'll find Islay's only Youth Hostel, and Islay's only campground (Port Mor Campsite).

The Port Charlotte Hotel is located right on Loch Indaal, with stunning views over the water towards Bowmore. There are ten well appointed rooms with sea views and ensuite bathrooms. The downstairs bar is cosy, has a good selection of whisky, and there are regular live Celtic music sessions. The on-site restaurant is open for dinner (public) and breakfast (guests only). The Port Charlotte hotel has dog-friendly rooms available. Click here to see rates for the Port Charlotte Hotel.

We're completely biased when it comes to the Lochindaal Hotel, as it is owned by friends of ours, and you'll almost certainly find some of the people most dear to us in the bar. The Lochindaal is where I (Amanda) stayed on my first two trips to Islay, and where Roddy and I met (he used to work behind the bar on weekends, in addition to his full time job at Bruichladdich). The rooms have all been upgraded since I first stayed, and you'll now find private bathrooms in all. The breakfasts are hearty, and there are great dinner options in their Lochindaal Seafood Restaurant (a short stroll down the road) - we highly recommend the seafood platter or plate. The Lochindaal Hotel is the best place to stay if you want to hang out with the best Islay folk. Click here to see rates for the Lochindaal Hotel.

blue sky and white sandy beach at Port Charlotte, Islay with the Port Charlotte hotel off to the right

Loch Indaal, and the beach outside the Port Charlotte Hotel (right)

Best B&Bs Islay

Glenegedale House (Airport)

The family-run Glenegedale House is a beautifully appointed bed and breakfast that has won numerous awards for their hospitality, including the Most Hospitable B&B / Guesthouse for Visit Scotland Thistle Award 2019/20. Located near Glenegedale Airport and the Machrie Golf course, there are four bedrooms available, all with large comfortable beds made up with crisp white Egyptian cotton linens. Each room has an ensuite shower room. And if you follow their social media channels (as I do) you'll see that their meals (breakfast and dinner) look incredibly mouth watering. Glenegedale House would be our choice of accommodation if you have a car or plan to organise a taxi for tours. Click here to see rates for Glenegedale House.

Loch Gorm House (Bruichladdich)

Loch Gorm House is a Scottish Tourist Board recommended five star gold Bed and Breakfast three-bedroom guesthouse with a garden, shared lounge area and views over Loch Indaal towards Bowmore. All of the rooms are finished to an extremely high standard. Two rooms are en-suite and one has a private bathroom. Loch Gorm House is a short stroll from Bruichladdich Distillery. There is private parking on site, making this beachfront property is an excellent choice if you've got a car. Click here to see rates for Loch Gorm House.

Skerrols House (Bridgend)

Skerrols House is a luxury Bed and Breakfast with 7 beautifully appointed rooms with private bathrooms. The room options include twin, double and super king and a full cooked breakfast is included in the room rate. As Skerrols House is semi-remote (it is on a farm) it is only suitable if you have a car (it is a 5 minute drive from Bridgend and 10 minutes to Bowmore). Your nearest options for lunch and dinner are the Bridgend Hotel and the Ballygrant Hotel (we have enjoyed quite a few meals at both). Click here to see rates for Skerrols House.

Trout Fly Guest House (Port Ellen)

The Trout Fly Guest House is conveniently located in the heart of Port Ellen, a very short walk to the Port Ellen Distillery, and a fabulous option if you're public transport dependent, or just not wanting to drive everywhere. It is a short walk to the ferry terminal, and several restaurants, including the Islay Hotel. Click here to see rates for Trout Fly Guest House. 

Dog Friendly Accommodation Islay

Bridgend Hotel

The Bridgend Hotel is conveniently located in the centre of the two main roads on Islay, and is the perfect spot if you're planning on touring either in your own vehicle or by bus, as you can easily get to Bruichladdich, Port Askaig (Caol Ila, Ardnahoe, Bunnahabhain), Bowmore, or Port Ellen. The Bridgend Hotel has an on site restaurant and a cosy lounge/bar area (Roddy and I have enjoyed a meal and a drink here many times). There is a Convenience Store (Spar) across the road for snacks and fuel, and Islay Car Hire can arrange vehicles to be picked up/dropped off near there as well. It is an ideal location with a dog as there are some great walking paths around Bridgend Woods (the Ballygrant Trail is another fabulous spot to take the dog for a walk). Click here to see rates for Bridgend Hotel.

Other Dog Friendly Accommodation Options

Cheap Accommodation Islay

If you're on a tight budget, there aren't many options when staying on Islay, and the cheapest options are both in Port Charlotte, which is not the ideal location if you don't have a car. While I absolutely adore Port Charlotte, I lived there for two years without a car and at times it was quite challenging. See our post on Getting Around Islay without Car for more details, but in summary - the buses are infrequent and don't run at all on Sundays. Self catering can be a bit of a challenge as the Port Charlotte Spar has limited options and closes around 5pm. Your best option is to grocery shop in Bowmore, which requires you to time the buses correctly (these also cease around 5.30pm). The Port Mor Community Centre serves hot breakfast and coffee from 8:30 am May to October (usually not open until 10am from November-April, and closing early too). You have the Lochindaal Seafood Restaurant, Port Charlotte Hotel and Port Mor Community Centre as options for dinner (though the Community Centre closes early from October to April). Another tip if you're on a tight budget is to contact accommodation venues directly as they often offer a lower rate than what is advertised on major booking platforms.

Port Charlotte Youth Hostel

The Port Charlotte Youth Hostel is the only hostel on Islay, but they are highly rated and have 4* status with the Scottish Tourist Board. 8 rooms are available and they've a total of 30 beds. As it is a small hostel and the only one on Islay, it often books out well in advance (one of the reasons I never stayed there was because I couldn't get a bed!). Shared and Private Rooms are available, and there's also a laundry, drying room, and secure cycle storage for up to 30 bikes. Basic provisions, confectionery, soft drinks, pizza and ice-cream are available to purchase at reception and a continental breakfast is also available but must be pre-booked. They're located in an old distillery warehouse (formerly the Lochindaal Distillery) right next to the beach. There is on-site parking available if you have a car. Click here to see rates for Port Charlotte Youth Hostel.

About the author


Amanda is an Australian-born photographer, digital nomad and whisky lover. Her passion for travel and whisky lead her to Islay, where she fell in love with an Ileach (an Islay native). Amanda and Roddy now share their Spirited Adventures.

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