Written by Karen Bryan
I stayed at the Busta House Hotel on the Shetland Islands for 2 nights in May 2010, on a complimentary b basis, during my McKinlay Kidd Shetland flydrive press trip. The hotel is located on the west coast of the main island, close to Brae, overlooking Busta Voe (a narrow sea inlet). The hotel dates from the late 16th century with additions made over the following centuries. It has an absolutely gorgeous garden which slopes down to the Busta Voe and a small harbour. If you visit Busta House Hotel, which is the best place to explore all that Shetland has to offer, it would be an awesome idea to share emotions and impressions on your blog. In order to reach a bigger audience buy youtube subscribers.
Busta House Hotel exterior and garden
The hotel rooms don’t have numbers, they are named after the different Shetland islands. I stayed in St Ninian’s, which is classed as a double or twin room as it has two single beds which are pushed together as a double. I think there would be virtually no space to move around in the room if the two beds were made up as singles with some space between them. The room was quite old fashioned which in many ways is appropriate for the age of the building and the country house atmosphere. The room was nice and cosy, the heating appeared to be on 24 hours a day. I’ve stayed in some establishments, especially older buildings in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, where the heating is switched off during the day and the rooms are freezing.
However the beige carpet did have some faint stains on it, some of the paintwork on the woodwork was chipped and my towels on the first day were thin and frayed at the edges. But the next day these towels were replaced with fluffy, thick ones.
The view from my room was amazing. The downside was that it faced east and I was awakened both mornings at around 5am by bright sunshine streaming in through the woefully inadequate curtains. Busta House really needs to get some decent blackout curtains.
The hotel offered free wifi throughout and the signal was very good in my room. They have made a real effort with the wifi with routers along all the corridors. The wifi was better than wifi in many hotels on the UK mainland and for an old building like this, the Busta House Hotel is to be congratulated for its efforts.
The Long Room was really beautiful. Unfortunately there were always some other guests here, so I wasn’t able to get a photo of the whole room.
I decided to try out both dining options at the Busta House Hotel. On my first evening I ate from the set menu at the Pitcairn Room restaurant. My Fish Trio starter was so tasty, I’m not keen on mussels but the Shetland smoked salmon was much better than the average smoked salmon. My main course was Scallops which were very good., followed by a wonderful Coffee Fudge Pudding. The portions were very generous and the only negatives were the vegetables served with the main course, as for my own taste the red cabbage was over spiced and the mangetout beans and baby sweetcorn were too al dente (not that I like mushy veg either). I did find it slightly chilly in the restaurant, compared to the rest of the hotel.
Breakfast is cooked to order and served in the bar. There’s a selection of cereals, yoghurt and fruit juices and fresh fruit salad (which was very heavy on apples) to start. I had Bacon and Eggs one morning and Scrambled Egg with Smoked Salmon the other. The bacon was a bit fatty and greasy for my taste.
On my second evening, I ate in the bar. Knowing the size of the portions I dispensed with the starter, just as well as the Haddock cooked in Unst Ale Batter was enormous and really delicious. Although that was more than enough food, I couldn’t resist another yummy pudding of Busta Rhubarb Crumble.
Overall, the Busta House Hotel is a great place to stay where the positive aspects vastly outweigh the negative. It’s a really characterful building with an absolutely beautiful garden and views, the food is mainly local and high quality. It offers decent wifi and the staff are lovely. However, the hotel needs to do some carpet stain removal, get rid of these old towels, do some touch ups on paintwork and get some blackout curtains for east facing bedrooms. All these negatives can be fairly cheaply and easily rectified and then I’d rate the Busta House Hotel as excellent.