← Back to website
My Booking
promo-code remove_circle

The Sands Hotel Information


The Sands Hotel was built in 1860 as a herring store, at a cost of just £150. The first owner was James Methuen and at the front of the building there is a stone bearing his initial and the date, 1860. Fish barrels were made in the restaurant side of the building, while the other side was used for the packing of fish into barrels ready for export, mainly to the Baltic regions. The accommodation upstairs was reserved for the workers who gutted the fish. In later years, the coal merchant William Ritch purchased the building, putting it to use as a coal store. In 1980 the building changed hands again and the upstairs area was converted into self-catering apartments, while the downstairs area was later converted into a Public Bar and Lounge Restaurant. New owners carried out further renovations in 1987, with the lounge being upgraded and the Watersound Restaurant opened. More recently, the conservatory was added, the rooms were upgraded and the hotel was taken from Motel to four star Hotel status. The premises is very popular with both tourists and locals alike. The flagpole outside the building was once on a German Steamer named Ilsenstein, which was sunk as a block ship as a naval defence before the Churchill Barriers. The imposing building overlooks the beach and Burray Harbour where local fisherman work from. It also overlooks Watersound Bay and South Ronaldsay. The village shop is a 5 min walk and there is also a garage nearby. The Sands Hotel is just 4 miles from the Pentland Ferries terminal at St Margaret’s Hope. Kirkwall, the main town is 11 miles across the scenic Churchill Barriers past the Italian Chapel. Our busy restaurant offers quality lunches, bar meals and a la carte dinners. Local produce and home-made products are standard and the Hotel and Restaurant are open all year round.

Cleaning and safety

  • Disinfected between stays
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Social distancing
  • High-touch surfaces disinfected
  • Linens washed to local guidelines
  • Mattress and pillow protectors
  • Request no staff entry to room
  • First aid kit
  • Staggered time slots for dining
  • Sanitised tableware
  • Takeaway meals


  • Bar
  • Free WiFi internet
  • Restaurant
  • Weddings & private parties
  • Laundry
  • Meet & greet service
  • Cleaning service
  • Ice machine
  • Restaurant - starred
  • Housekeeping - daily
  • Hypoallergenic rooms/units
  • Breakfast served in restaurant


  • On-site parking
  • Free parking
  • Accessible parking

Children's Facilities

  • Children's menu
  • Highchairs


  • Continental breakfast
  • Cooked breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Free breakfast
  • English/Irish breakfast
  • Vegetarian options
  • Vegan options
  • Gluten-free options

Activities and Experiences

  • Billiards / pool / snooker
  • Dart board


  • Check in
    14:00 21:30
  • Check out
  • Child Policy
    Infants and children welcome
  • Smoking Policy
    No smoking
  • Pets
    No pets
Booking Terms and Conditions


Unfortunately our rooms are all up at least one flight of stairs, so are not wheelchair accessible. Please contact the hotel if you require any further information. Our restaurant & bar area is wheelchair accessible.


  • Road from Pentland Ferries (4.0 miles)

    When you have arrived in to St Margarets Hope after your sailing from Gills Bay follow the road to the top of the villiage and take a left at the junction. 

    Once you are on that road, continue on the road for 4 miles until you reach the next village - Burray. 

    Continue through the village until you see a sign for us - The Sands Hotel, with a turning down to the left. Follow the road down the hill and come off to the left at the bottom instead of following the road right along. 

    Our hotel is situated there with a spacious car park. 

Scroll to top