If you're looking for a warm and welcoming place to stay on Islay, keep reading. I decided to go to Islay on a short notice, although having wanted to visit the island for years. I booked to stay for 3 nights at David & Maggie's as I wanted to immerse myself in island life rather than staying in another hotel. I'm glad I did!
David & Maggie's house in Port Charlotte is lovely and has everything you need when it's hailing and raining outside: a fireplace for drying your wet shoes after dipping them in the Atlantic, a comfy bed for sleeping off tiredness from a day out visiting distilleries, and endless cups of tea. I had wondered how cold these old houses in a conservation village would be, but I didn't even need to have the radiator on during the night. It was very cosy!
During my stay David was working in the mainland, so I had the pleasure of spending time with David's wife Maggie. Now, Maggie is an absolute star. We had great, interesting chats on all sorts of topics and Maggie is a brilliant source of information on where to find what on the island. I'll always remember the cup of hot, homemade soup Maggie placed in my hands when I turned up after a 6-hour walk with boots soaked in sea water.
All in all, staying with David & Maggie felt more like being at home than anything else. I will definitely return when the weather starts getting warmer again!
A few tips for future visitors to Islay:
If you can, bring a car. Bus services on Islay are infrequent and there are no buses on Sundays. Other visitors told me that taxis are very expensive.
If you're planning on cycling off-season, bring your own bike or ask David & Maggie, because Port Charlotte bike hire isn't open in the winter.
Islay has plenty of beautiful coastline and beaches, which are worth a visit even when it's +4C and hailing.
If you want to combine whisky and wildlife, go to Lagavulin. There must be something special in the water as seals like relaxing on the rocks in Lagavulin Bay.