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. It is especially popular with divers who come to Orkney to dive the wrecks in Scapa Flow. 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 over looks 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 Margarets 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.