After a long day taking in the sights, the gentle lap of Loch Harray, which the Merkister overlooks, soothes the soul. Popular with anglers, this family-run hotel has experienced ghillies (guides) to show you to the choicest spots and provide instruction for novices. Left your rod at home? You can rent all the equipment you need, including boats. The comfortable, if old-fashioned, rooms encourage a good night's sleep after a hard day on the water. Skerries, the hotel's
restaurant, serves superior Scottish cuisine that includes local seafood and Aberdeen Angus beef reared within a 10-mile radius. The hotel is 11 miles from Kirkwall.