As holiday cottages go it might appear spartan – no electricity or mobile phone signal and a 45-minute walk from a jetty to reach your destination after a boat trip.
But the newly opened Old Schoolhouse on the 1,300-acre private island of Eilean Shona in the Inner Hebrides has been revealed as the romantic hideaway of Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet and her husband Ned Rocknroll, giving it some extra glamour.
With lighting from gas-powered lamps, a wood-burning stove and luxury touches such as Egyptian cotton sheets and Beni Ourain rugs from the Atlas Mountains, the property – overlooking its own mile-long bay – has provided a unique spot for the star to enjoy time with her husband.
Vanessa Branson, sister of Virgin tycoon Sir Richard Branson, who bought the island in 1995 for £1.3 million with her husband Robert Devereux, said: “It allows people to connect with something which is very elemental and people who stay there often write a great deal in the visitors’ book about the wildlife and the luxury of having privacy.”
Branson also rents out 11-bedroom Eilean Shona House – which writer JM Barrie used to take for the summer – and seven other holiday cottages. Branson said that Sir Richard – who owns 74-acre Necker Island in the Caribbean, another celebrity favourite – has visited Eilean Shona. She said: “We have family gatherings on Eilean Shona every year. One person who really loves it is Kate Winslet who is married to my nephew.”
Branson said the two-bedroom cottage, which first became available for rent at £1,250 per week at Easter, is attracting people eager to experience the island’s isolation, and its wildlife.
Scott Armstrong, VisitScotland’s regional director for the Highlands, said: “Scotland is full of remarkable hidden gems . The island of Eilean Shona is one such idyllic escape and the fact that it’s a favourite haunt of Hollywood royalty will only add to its appeal.”