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All reviews loch harray residents lounge dining room loch view bar meals excellent food trout crab country house hotel wet room every evening off the beaten track stunning views lovely spot fish and chips first class family run
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2 - 7 of 363 reviews
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Feeling reflective and nostalgic, marking fifty years together with a holiday on Orkney, we decided to delve back another fifty years, to the time when my wife’s Grandparents and Great grandparents fished on Loch Harray.

They stayed at Merkister so we decided to dine there. An excellent choice, it is a warm and friendly hotel which mainly caters for salmon and trout fisherfolk. Any thoughts of a photograph on a plate set aside when realising that, after eight hours in a boat on loch Harray in all weathers, a good feed would be needed.

We chose fruit juices, followed by Westray crab salad for my wife and Viking cold seafood platter for myself, accompanied by an excellent Spanish wine. Our desert Eton Mess and sticky toffee sundae.

The staff were more than attentive, learning that we had been together fifty years, they gave us a bunch of yellow roses and card...which says more about the Merchister than I need to add here.

Highly recommended.

Stayed: September 2018, travelled as a couple
2  Thank skypilot60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

We had been camping but felt like a treat so we booked into the Merkister for one night...
We took what was the cheapest option on the rooms and expected a small twin room
What we got was great two large twin beds and a very good en suite shower room and toilet with a cracking power shower
It was busy at dinner so we had to eat in the bar but it was a nice friendly atmosphere and the food was great
Had the usual tea and coffee making in the room with some homemade biscuits
Breakfast was good plenty of toast cereal fruit juices etc.. and then a few options for cooked Inc. Kippers and smoked salmon as well as the usual bacon sausage
Very helpful gentleman in the morning telling us some good places to visit!

Stayed: September 2018, travelled with family
2  Thank Jane G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 September 2018 via mobile

The hotel has been raved about, particularly the foot, but my experience was quite average. The location was stunning and I'm sure people who like to fish would find it unbeatable.

Our room was pokey and old fashioned, it was also unbearably hot! But it wasn't the room which was the biggest let down. It was the food. The vegetarian options were very limited and the lasagne I had was greasy with hardly any vegetables in it. The bar staff were a bit surly too.

Maybe I went on an off day but at £125 a night, I felt it was overpriced.

Stayed: September 2018, travelled with friends
1  Thank emma_campaigner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
lorna m, Owner at Merkister Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Dear emma_campaigner,

Thank you for your review, I am glad you found the location Stunning, we are indeed very lucky to live in such a wonderful spot, Sunrise, Sunsets and ever changing colours over the loch and wilderness....
We are a country house hotel, so to some, our decor may seem dated, but I can assure you its refreshed every few years and more if required....you booked a COMPACT SAVER room which we offer at £ 125 in "Peak" season, your room had a brand new en-suite and new bed and bedding in March this year, so perhaps the pictures and pine furniture you felt was old fashioned?

I disagree about the Limited Vegetarian Choices, below is a copy of that Menu....
Vegetarian Menu


Vegetarian Soup of the Day
£ 3. 95

Egg Mayonnaise
£ 4 95

Deep Fried Camembert Cheese
With a Redcurrant Jelly
£ 6. 50

Chilled Fruit Juice
Cranberry, Orange, Apple & Tomato
£ 2. 25

Half Fresh Grapefruit
Served Cold or Grilled
£ 4. 25

Orkney Farmhouse Cheese
& Pineapple Salad
£ 5. 95

Fresh Mushrooms sautéed
In orkney Butter, Garlic & Herbs
£ 5. 95

Main Courses

Aubergine & Walnut Bake
£ 13. 95

Butternut Squash & Stilton Risotto
£ 13. 95

Spinach & Ricotta Canelloni
£ 13. 95

Vegetable Lasagne
£ 13. 95

Individual Nut Roast
£ 12. 95

Vegetable Curry
£ 12. 95

Orkney Cheddar Cheese Salad
with Shapinsay Chutney
£ 10. 95

Orkney Cheddar Macaroni Cheese
& Salad
£10. 95

I am sorry you did not like the Home-made Lasagne, it is one of our most popular main courses, but of course we will pass the complaint onto the Kitchen, which I would have hoped you did when dining with us as it would have given us a chance to offered an alternative for you, although I see no record of any complaint about the Veggie Lasagane during September, we do appreciate Customer Feedback and must act on it where necessary....

I also apologise that you found the Bar Staff surly, it was my manageress that was on duty and as you can see by the other reviews, this must have been an off night, but again I will bring it to their attention...

Orkney overall is expensive, we only have a five month "peak" period to make our money and £ 125 for Bed & Breakfast, is very much at the lower end of ALL Hotel rooms on the Island...especially once you take the 20% VAT and the 15% Booking.Com commission that just leave us £81.25 !!!

I hope you enjoyed your time in Orkney and if you wish to discus anything further please do not hesitate to email me direct merkisterhotel@gmail.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 August 2018

We were booked into this hotel when the hotels in Kirkwall were full, and were very pleased. As noted in the other reviews, the food is first class. We did have a suite, so I can't opine on the other rooms - plenty of space, our view was lovely, and we had a private parking spot. The bathroom, however, is small and merely functional; that keeps the room from being a 5-starred. Our focus for visiting the Orkneys was the neolithic sites, and this hotel was very convenient for visiting, without dealing with the hassle of driving out and into a city.

  • Stayed: August 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank Lindsay M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 August 2018 via mobile

Went to the Merkister for lunch and as usual it was great. Lorna always welcoming and we are always made to feel special. The soup was lovely and we could have stayed for hours.
Looking forward to Returning in 2019 and this time with my fly rod!

Stayed: August 2018, travelled with family
3  Thank Graeme K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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