Anchored off Scotland’s west coast, Eilean Shona is a private island that allows guests to escape to the wilderness while enjoying both cosy croft comfort and a touch of luxury. Among the island’s woodlands and heather-covered hills and near to its inlet-peppered shores are eight boutique holiday cottages and Eilean Shona House, the jewel in the island’s crown, a gorgeous retreat that combines the feel of a luxury hotel with the charm of a family home for a truly magical stay.
Only a short boat ride from the mainland, over the still waters of Loch Moidart, the three mile long island boasts 2,000 acres of pristine moor, hills and woodland criss-crossed by tempting trails. The island’s enchanted moss-covered woods, wild open hills and white sand beaches were the inspiration for JM Barrie’s screenplay for Neverland. Here, guests can walk for hours without seeing another soul and instead disconnect from the outside world and turn back the clock to a slower, gentle pace of life. IPads, tablets and TVs are substituted by the stunning natural environment and the former village hall is stocked with ping-pong, board games and books. [Wi-fi is also available here.] For those after something a little more active, Shona’s coastline is ideal for wild swimming, sea kayaking, paddle boarding and generally messing about on boats. All the properties are within walking distance of Shoe Bay, Eilean Shona’s own secluded silver sand beach which is lapped by an aquamarine sea.
Eilean Shona is also a wildlife spotter’s dream, and there is typically more animal than human life on the island, with seals, sea eagles, sea otters, red squirrel, and pine martens commonly seen. In the summer, as the island’s waters warm up, there’s the chance too to spot dolphins, minke whales and even basking sharks. The island was once owned by a seafaring captain who brought back rare trees and plants from his travels and, still today, Eilean Shona boasts one of the most diverse pinetum plantations in Europe.
In Eilean Shona House, which comfortably sleeps up to 16, fires blaze in every living room. This is comfortable, relaxed living on a grand scale. There is a billiards room, a grand piano in the drawing room and board games galore. And, unlike many Scottish country houses, there’s lashings of hot water for the six vast baths, thanks to an eco-boiler fed with naturally fallen trees. The interiors are an utter delight with quirky touches and works from emerging international artists. The colourful dining room walls are painted by Glaswegian artist Fred Pollock. There are 12 bedrooms in total: eight double bedrooms, three twin bedrooms and a bunk room.
Each of the eight rental cottages that are dotted around the island vary in size and each has its own style and charm. They all share a level of comfort and luxury, including fine white Egyptian cotton bed linen and fluffy towels.