The Solardome® Retreat experience: Skyewalker Hostel

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“When people see it for the first time, their faces light up…”

In 2009, Brian Hill purchased a Solardome® Retreat for the Skyewalker Hostel on the Isle of Skye. Over 10 years later, it continues to be the focal point of their beautiful outdoor grounds.

We caught up with Brian who, in his own words, told us of the many benefits the dome has brought to his guest facilities.

Highland beauty

Solardome® Retreat with chess boardThe Skyewalker Hostel is an award-winning, four-star hostel, set in a former school built in the 1920s on the Isle of Skye – the largest and most northerly island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland.

Located near the Cuillin mountains, magical fairy pools, and the famous Talisker whisky distillery, The Skyewalker is the perfect place to start their island adventure.

And one of the best ways to admire the breathtaking views is from their Solardome® Retreat, especially on rainy days!

“One day, I was walking around the hostel and couldn’t find any of the guests, then I went outside found them all in the dome,” said Brian.

“The dome is fantastic and is used every day. When people see it for the first time, their faces light up,” he added.

Acoustic bliss

Brian and his colleagues have come to know the glasshouse as ‘The Party Dome’, not least because it is used frequently for musical performances of all kinds.

From afternoon riffs to live folk sessions, the gatherings are memorable – and the acoustics make for a truly unique experience.

“The dome has great sound proofing. Visitors play instruments late into the night and it doesn’t disturb the guests in sleeping quarters at all,” said Brian.

From ‘jedi hut’ hideaways to a giant outdoor chess board, the hostel has a wide range of features that sets them apart, and with their Solardome® glasshouse as the perfect meeting spot, the guests are spoilt for choice.

As a result, The Skyewalker has been voted the ‘Best Hostel in Scotland’ no fewer than five times, most recently in 2019.

Standing the test of time

Despite their initial reservations about the investment, after making years of memories inside the dome, Brian and his team can hardly imagine life without it.

Solardome® Retreat with chess board“The cost of the dome was a concern initially, but after the service and professional installation we received, I can honestly say it’s been worth every penny,” said Brian.

The Solardome® Retreat, from the glasshouse range, which is designed to last for decades and host up to about 30 people, has now been standing for over 10 years. It is testament to the strength of geodesic domes – even in extreme coastal conditions.

“We worried about the longevity of the structure, but our dome has withstood winds of up to 120mph, which is very impressive,” exclaimed Brian.

“Every company should aspire to Solardome’s level of service,” he added.

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