By Karen Peattie

FOR THE perfect honeymoon or romantic break – when Covid restrictions allow, of course – look no further than the gorgeous island of Islay where Coillabus offers stunning architect-designed lodges.

The Hebrides, renowned for their naturalness with unspoilt scenery and ever-changing views, are steeped in romance and the turf-roofed and stone-clad lodges at Coillabus – A’Mhoine Bheag and An Cnocan Dubh – offer a very special experience in an extraordinary setting for two to four guests.

Stylish and contemporary yet uniquely individual, they boast impressive green credentials too so you can enjoy a pleasant and cost-effect alternative to luxury hotel accommodation. Located high on one of the highest hillsides on the rugged and romantic Oa peninsula in southwestern Islay, the lodges also have star tubs – double-ended outdoor baths filled with chemical-free clean water heated from air source heat pumps. What could be more romantic that watching the sun set with a glass of fizz?

An island hideaway is waiting for you on Islay

An island hideaway is waiting for you on Islay


Coillabus feels like another world yet Islay is just a half-hour flight from Glasgow or a two-hour sale from the Scottish mainland. Once you arrive on Islay, Coillabus is just 10 minutes from the picture-postcard village of Port Ellen. It’s a great base for exploring and if you’re a Scotch whisky aficionado, you must check out the island’s distilleries, including Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig.

Islay, know as the Queen of the Hebrides, is awash with nature so you can enjoy the flora and fauna, the varied wildlife and getting out in the fresh, Scottish air. Explore the island’s unspoiled, sandy beaches, walk along cliff-side paths then curl up on the sofa in your lodge in front of a wood-burning stove.

Built on local farmer Alistair Carmichael’s land which he has farmed for the last six decades, the lodges are owned and run by his daughter, Hester Ross, who says: “He’ll be 90 this year. Guests at Coillabus enjoy having a bit of local craic with him as he goes past in his tuk tuk.”

The hand-crafted lodges are very much designed with romance in mind and feature fabulous en suite master bedrooms with walk-in shower and double-ended bath. Curtains and blinds in Coillabus’ own tweed from the Islay Woollen mill, together with landscapes from Glasgow-based artist Rosanne Barr, lend a touch of contemporary Scottish chic to the bedrooms. These are also for sale and make a wonderful memento of your honeymoon.

Oozing luxury which is what every wedding couple deserves, these lodges are as stunning from the outside as they are inside, their curved, dry-stone walls showing traditional Argyll craftmanship at its best. Wide and high galleried windows fill the interestingly-shaped living space with light so guests can enjoy the changing views over moorland and coast.

Coillabus offers stunning scenery, steeped in romance for the perfect honeymoon getaway

Coillabus offers stunning scenery, steeped in romance for the perfect honeymoon getaway


A’Mhoine Bheag lodge looks over Glenastle Lochs and the Atlantic and has views towards Orsay and the Rhinns of Islay Lighthouse. An Cnocan Dubh, meanwhile, looks over the sea to Kintyre look to the left for the Big Strand and to the right, on a good day, you get a glimpse of Ireland.

Coillabus also has views over the RSPB Oa, a breathtaking reserve of dramatic sea cliffs, open moorland, freshwater lochs, coastal grassland and heath. It’s home to many important breeding and wintering birds. Watch out for the golden eagles, which are present throughout the year, soaring above the cliffs and moors – sometimes you can see them passing the windows.