Careful observers will be aware I spend a lot of my trips in airport hotels, Airbnb places and chain hotels.
It makes little sense to write reviews of those types of place.
I will not bore everyone with the reasons, but it is unusual for me to stay in routine hotels these days. If I am in Scotland, I am always seeking out a classy guest house or bed and breakfast. It has worked for me recently in Stornoway and on Tiree, Islay, Gigha and Seil.
When it came to planning my visit to Orkney in July ’19 I latched onto a relatively new place in Kirkwall – The Storehouse. The owners describe it as a restaurant with rooms. I suppose that intrigued me.
I chose well.
As the name suggests it is a converted warehouse, right in the centre of Kirkwall. My room was a delight, in terms of comfort, amenities and style. To be honest I did not switch on the TV, but I do not watch at home and have lost the habit.
Many years ago I stayed in a hotel in Copenhagen which had retained the old beams and pillars, and avoiding the pillar on the way to the toilet in the middle of the night was a bit of a challenge. I did better at The Storehouse. No black eye to explain away.
I had dinner in the restaurant on my first night, and it was one of the best meals I have had for a long time. I had a crab cake as starter, followed by scallops with monkfish. The service was excellent too.
My room rate included breakfast, and being used to just a smoothie and maybe a crispbread at that time of the day, I enjoyed letting myself live a little. The end result was a shortage of appetite for the rest of the day, but you cannot have it both ways.
The Storehouse is convenient for the bus station (to get to and from the airport, or further afield) and those inter island ferries which leave from Kirkwall. The airport is a 5 minute taxi ride away.
My room was £150 per night, inclusive of breakfast. Comparing like with like – although I do not remember staying in a “restaurant with rooms” before – I paid that much on Barra last year for a hotel which was 3rd rate. The Storehouse is top class.
My dinner cost £41, including a large glass of white wine. Like the room, it was not in the budget category but top class.
If you are heading for Kirkwall, I recommend it.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2019