Burrastow House: Best Hotel In Scotland!

by Alastair Hamilton -

A small and beautifully-situated Shetland hotel has been rated the best in Scotland in the 2018 edition of the Good Hotel Guide. Burrastow House has always had an excellent reputation and local people and visitors who’ve stayed there will feel that national recognition is thoroughly deserved.

The house lies in Shetland’s west mainland, an area dominated by moorland but with splashes of green, fertile meadow and dozens of lochs, enclosed by a varied and often dramatic coastline. It was built for the Henry family in 1759 and in its original form was typical of the many so-called ‘haa’ houses built by Shetland lairds.

It was extended and altered, first by a Yorkshire mill owner who bought it early in the last century. In 1980, it became a guest house under the ownership of Harry and Stella Tuckey and was subsequently owned by Bo Simmons and Ann Prior. Bo and her husband Henry Anderton extended it again in the 1990s. It was bought in 2004 by Pierre Dupont, who – like his predecessors – has continued to renovate the building with great sensitivity to its historic character.

national recognition is thoroughly deserved

The setting is magnificent, right on the shoreline of the sheltered waters of Vaila Sound, with views towards the island of Vaila. Wildlife, in the shape of seals and the occasional otter, is never far away and there are endless opportunities for walking or cycling, fishing, or sea-angling.

Food has always been a highlight at Burrastow and that remains the case today. The day starts with excellent porridge, croissants and a range of main courses that includes kippers and locally-smoked fish. Fish also features in the evening, with the chef choosing whatever’s best from the market; from halibut or turbot to sea trout, squid or lobster, and of course Shetland mussels. Local heather-fed lamb is also a favourite.

food has always been a highlight at Burrastow

I can vouch for the delights of a stay at Burrastow, albeit some time ago; and recent TripAdvisor reviews bring back memories of a wonderful four-poster, that excellent food and the generous aperitifs served from the cabinet in the drawing-room.

One guest writes that she ‘never felt so well taken care of; another that ‘the location is beautiful, the host gracious and informative, and the house charming’.

You can find the Burrastow House website here.

a wonderful four-poster, excellent food and generous aperitifs