It might seem odd to travel to the remote corners of the Scottish highlands in the dead of winter, but in fact it's the perfect time and place to hole up at a cozy inn for a few days' rest. The Isle of Skye's winters are mild, with little snow, and the sky is often dramatic and stormy over the water and Outer Hebrides, which you can see from the guest rooms at the Three Chimneys -- a tiny restaurant tucked into Skye's northwestern corner. What started as a modest eatery eighteen years ago has evolved into a top culinary destination: Barbra Streisand and Mark Knopfler are among those who have made the trek to sit in the candlelit crofter's cottage and savor locally caught (and increasingly scarce) wild salmon, Skye oysters, and hot marmalade pudding. And now the owners have opened six classy suites next door, turning the Three Chimneys into a full-fledged five-star destination.
The three-hour drive from the Inverness airport (or six hours from Glasgow or Edinburgh) is half the fun: Long stretches of road are only wide enough for one car. And be sure to factor in an additional half-hour or so for wandering-sheep delays.
Being in the middle of nowhere means zero light pollution; breathtaking meteor showers, a brilliant aurora borealis, and a clear view of the Milky Way come at no extra charge.
There's terrific hiking nearby, as well as the Talisker whiskey distillery where you can tour and taste, and Dunvegan Castle, a fourteenth-century keep with a creepy dungeon.
Through April, doubles start at $272; check out the "Special Packages" link at threechimneys.co.uk for winter deals (011-44-1-470-511-258).