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Stephen Molloy

Urbanist by training, he spent most of his twenties traveling and living overseas. Bitten by the bug, he lived in Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, California, Australia, DRC, Kenya, Pakistan...and then Europe. Lover of all things two wheeled,
His last big trip: Exploring France on a bike with my kids in a bike trailer.
Favorite European destinations: Lake district, Scottish Highlands, Corsica, Stockholm

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"I specialize in the UK and France. The activities I focus on are a high-end selection of private guides and lodgings. I adore sharing activities and experiences that "

How did you get involved in travel?

"My parents were big travelers, and my dad writes motorcycle travel books. "

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"Travelling with my dad by motorbike through the Gobi desert. The motorbikes were from the 1950s and 1960s and we had breakdowns and snow and visits to the hospital. All the while we were hosted warmly and looked after incredibly well. Each day we awoke to incredible views and new adventures."

Wind your way through Glen Coe on a self-drive tour
Scenic Scotland Road Trip: Edinburgh, Inverness & Fort William - 5 Days

This five-day road trip through scenic Scotland gives you a great taste of the highlights. Begin in Edinburgh to do some sightseeing between Old Town and New Town before heading into Stirling and the Highlands to visit plenty of small towns, castles, abbeys, and historic sites. Then, head to Inverness, home of Loch Ness, and board the Jacobite Train—popularly known as the "Hogwarts Express." The grand finale is a visit to the majestic Glen Coe mountains.

Scotland's Edinburgh Castle has stood for over 1,000 years
Scotland & Ireland - 14 Days

Fourteen days is ample time to experience the best of Scotland and Ireland, be it touring Edinburgh Castle, hiking the Highlands, or reveling in the historic streets of Dublin. The adventures are almost too many to list: wildlife safaris in national parks, boating across Loch Ness, cycling around Glasgow, and exploring the untamed beauty of the Isle of Skye. If that's not enough, you'll hit the road on a drive to some of the most beautiful locales in southern Ireland, like the Wicklow Mountains and County Cork.

Ruins of Urquhart Castle sit quietly alongside Loch Ness
Family Tour of Scotland - 2 Weeks

Get ready for a 14-day adventure you and your family are sure to remember. This packed itinerary offers the full Scotland experience, from city tours of Glasgow and Edinburgh to epic hikes, driving trips, and boat rides around the unspoiled Highlands. Rounding out this great escape are food tours, art walks, island excursions, wildlife safaris, and bike rides through national parks.

Views across the Isle of Skye
Self-Drive Scotland: Inverness, Isle of Skye, the Trossachs & Edinburgh - 5 Days

Walk in the footsteps of royalty with this five-day highlights tour of Scotland's spectacular scenery. Discover "paradise in the Highlands" at Balmoral Castle as you pass through the sweeping plateaus of the Cairngorms. Cruise the mysterious Loch Ness and explore Scotland's most photographed castle at Eilean Donan before hiking rugged peaks on the Isle of Skye. A delve into the history and atmospheric backstreets of enchanting Edinburgh rounds off this small but perfectly formed itinerary.

Jacobite Train on Glenfinnan Railway Viaduct
Best of Scotland by Train: Glasgow, Inverness, Isle of Sky & Edinburgh - 10 Days

Take a scenic, 10-day journey through Scotland by train. Begin with two days of sightseeing in Glasgow before boarding your first train to the Highlands. Stop in Stirling en route to Inverness, home to Culloden Battlefield, Urquhart Castle, and the famed Loch Ness. Then, it's on to the stunning Isle of Skye to take in the dramatic coastline and mountain scenery. Finally, board the Jacobite Train to reach Edinburgh to experience the best of the Scottish capital city.

Urquhart Castle at sunset beside Loch Ness
Signature Scotland: Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness, Isle of Skye, Glencoe & Glasgow - 10 Days

This eventful 10-day trip through Scotland invites you to experience it all! Start in Edinburgh to sightsee and take a delicious local food tour before heading to Aberdeen to explore Dundee and visit a historic golf course in St Andrews. Next, spend time in Inverness and the Isle of Skye, visiting historic sites, distilleries, and castles. Then, transfer to Glencoe to walk the beautiful scenery, cruise around Loch Katrine in a famed steamship, and embark on a memorable architecture tour in Glasgow.

Recent trip reviews for Stephen

Different kimkim epxerience from Iceland but still good overall
Scotland | Oct 22 - Oct 29, 2022

J
John B.
Canada | Reviewed on Oct 30, 2022

Great trip overall. Every day something new.
The good:
Edinburgh hotel
Stirling castle
Scotch tasting tours in general
Kings hotel in Glencoe was stunning
Restaurant in Portree for tasting menu was phenomenal. 40 min drive but worth it.
Guide at Bannockburn was amazing. Super knowledgeable and a good sport.
Portree northern loop drive and hikes fantastic. One of the main hikes was closed though which was disappointing
Hike near the hotel with a hiking guide was terrific and guide was... read more

Great trip overall. Every day something new.
The good:
Edinburgh hotel
Stirling castle
Scotch tasting tours in general
Kings hotel in Glencoe was stunning
Restaurant in Portree for tasting menu was phenomenal. 40 min drive but worth it.
Guide at Bannockburn was amazing. Super knowledgeable and a good sport.
Portree northern loop drive and hikes fantastic. One of the main hikes was closed though which was disappointing
Hike near the hotel with a hiking guide was terrific and guide was very good

The disappointing
Edinburgh guide was not from Edinburgh, had only lived there two years and was 15 minutes late.
Would have preferred a more well know whiskey set of tours. Ones we went to were either brand new or not single malt focused.
Staff at hotel in xxx didn't have our dinner paid for and didn't apologize or make up for it when our trip planner proved them wrong
Hotel in Portee was two star at best. Cold, small, run down.

Hotel Reviews
Eden Locke
Edinburgh

Good location. Tiny rooms. Great staff

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Atholl Palace Hotel
Pitlochry

It's run down and staff are not local

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Not friendly.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Hotel is running down. Probably very nice 20 years ago. Feels like it's run from far away with eastern European staff
Rosedale Hotel
Portree County

Run down. Small. Cold. No heat at night...needed a plug in heater. No closet. Very hard to find a parking spot.

Authenticity & Character
Kind of a dump
Location
On Harbour but limited parking was an issue
Staff
Bar and kitchen staff very friendly. Less so front deck.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Too small to be a hotel room.
Kings House Way Inn
Glencoe

Amazing location and building and views and staff

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Moxy Hotel Edinburgh Airport
Newbridge

Only stayed there for location to airport

Authenticity & Character
Trying way too hard to be cool.
Location
Staff
Waited for 7 minutes before anybody came to front deck to check us in
Cleanliness & Comfort
Beds hard a rocks and for some reason the pillows are so big that both our necks hurt the next day
Activity Reviews
Private walking tour of Edinburgh with a top local guide
Edinburgh

She showed up late. Not from Edinburgh so it was authentic

Guides, Drivers and Staff
Exceptional Visit and Tasting at Blair Atholl Distillery
Pitlochry

Good tour although it's mostly there to produce a blend and not enough variety of single malt. Nor do they sell in duty free so we couldn't but anything.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Isle of Skye Whisky immersion at Torabhaig
Scotland

Stunning location and buildings but they are new so not sure why we even were there. Only one wiskey to try in the "tasting". Also doesn't sell in duty free

Quality of Experience
Too new. Only one to taste
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Phd level guided tour of Bannockburn
Stirling

Get Dr David if you can A PHD in archeology and super knowledgeable about Bannockburn 3 hours tour. Lots of walking. It was great.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
6 to 7 courses culinary experience at The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye
Scotland

Awesome food. Chef tablets way to go. Book well well in advance

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Middle of nowhere and 40 minutes drive so someone has to be designated driver in the dark and rainy drive home
Private guided walk in Glencoe
Scotland

Great guide. Good hike mostly uphill but perfect if in shape but still not a hiker.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Stephen Molloy
Stephen
Stephen Molloy
Local specialist in Dorset and Lyon | Reviewed on Nov 04, 2022

Hi John

I am really happy to read that you and your three travel companions had a great trip overall to Scotland! I must say I enjoyed reading your news by SMS during the trip too. I fondly remember the Zoom we had pre-trip too, and I am happy that you enjoyed yourselves. I am also very happy to hear that you loved our speciality guides at Bannockburn and Glencoe! The Trotternish Peninsula drive is amazing and I am happy that you took our advice and did that loop. What a shame that a hike... read more

Hi John

I am really happy to read that you and your three travel companions had a great trip overall to Scotland! I must say I enjoyed reading your news by SMS during the trip too. I fondly remember the Zoom we had pre-trip too, and I am happy that you enjoyed yourselves. I am also very happy to hear that you loved our speciality guides at Bannockburn and Glencoe! The Trotternish Peninsula drive is amazing and I am happy that you took our advice and did that loop. What a shame that a hike was closed in late October! The Three Chimneys Restaurant is one of the top places to dine in the UK and I am really happy that you loved the Kitchen Tasting experience. I am sure you forged strong memories with your friends there. The question of transport was raised with you beforehand, and you did not take it up – yes, instead a local driver could be used for 60£ each way.

I am sorry to hear that the Edinburgh guide was late, they explained to me it was because of an event in Edinburgh that they could not navigate through quickly. I am sorry about that. We have noted what you said and will certainly not use them again.

Sorry to hear that the hotel in Pitlochry did not immediately honour our payment about dinner. It is perhaps an indication of a broken line of communication between Kitchen to Reception to Finance.

When it comes to the hotel in Portree, well we have chosen this in the past on occasion because of the views and the location. It is certainly not as high-end as the wonderful Cuillin Hills hotel around the corner, but the budget did not allow this. We will certainly never send anyone here in the somewhat chilly month of October! Thank you for letting us know.

Thank you for your time and choosing us. Thank you for this detailed feedback too!
Stephen

Stephen & team were amazing!
Scotland | Aug 26 - Sep 2, 2022

Gail
Gail P.
Westminster, CO | Reviewed on Sep 16, 2022

We couldn't have been happier with our self-guided walking tour in Scotland. We were able to experience the Highlands up close and personal. As a solitude lover, I was in heaven on the long walking trails -- very few people, immense vistas, and silence except for the sound of running water. Stephen, our support team, was fabulous -- always answering questions quickly and making on-the-fly adjustments as needed. David, my guide for the hidden valley hike, was absolutely delightful. All of... read more

We couldn't have been happier with our self-guided walking tour in Scotland. We were able to experience the Highlands up close and personal. As a solitude lover, I was in heaven on the long walking trails -- very few people, immense vistas, and silence except for the sound of running water. Stephen, our support team, was fabulous -- always answering questions quickly and making on-the-fly adjustments as needed. David, my guide for the hidden valley hike, was absolutely delightful. All of the lodgings met or exceeded our expectations. We particularly liked the Kings House in the Highlands. The four-person walking tour of Edinburgh was top notch -- our guide was extremely knowledgeable, providing us with background and context that we would not have otherwise had as we enjoyed this historic city.

Hotel Reviews
Bridge of Orchy Hotel
Bridge of Orchy

The Bridge of Orchy is a very small settlement on the West Highland Way. The hotel is a quaint, and very comfortable property. The staff was soooo helpful and just a delight.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
The staff was soooo friendly!
Kings House Way Inn
Glencoe

This is new building in the middle of nowhere on the West Highland Way -- great if you're hiking or touring the Highlands. The rooms are spacious and comfortable and the food was excellent.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Local specialist: Stephen Molloy
Stephen
Stephen Molloy
Local specialist in Dorset and Lyon | Reviewed on Sep 20, 2022

Thank you Gail

I am really happy that you chose to travel with us in Scotland and that you loved the diverse experiences in the Highlands. It was a pleasure to see that you both enjoying hiking at the end of Summer along the West Highland Way. Kingshouse is also one of my favourite unique hotels in Scotland.

We are used to doing tailormade proposals, and so adapting on-the-go is fine for us.

Thank you for choosing us and have a superb Fall at home (or elsewhere).

Thanks
Stephen

Standardized pre-packaged experience with incomplete nad inaccurate information - a complete checklist of all the problems fom traditional tour agencies
Scotland | Jul 31 - Aug 7, 2022

Marcos
Marcos M.
United Kingdom | Reviewed on Aug 11, 2022

- Some very basic and explicit briefing notes provided by me at inception were ignored in the initial trip plan. That set the tone for what felt as an off-the-shelf standardized pre-packaged trip planning experience.
- In general the quality of the guest houses was below par. I do not require luxury, just professionalism. As an example in the Edinburgh hotel No32 I was "welcomed" by a lady that had a hard time finding my reservation, which was one of the 2 paper slips she held in her hand.... read more

- Some very basic and explicit briefing notes provided by me at inception were ignored in the initial trip plan. That set the tone for what felt as an off-the-shelf standardized pre-packaged trip planning experience.
- In general the quality of the guest houses was below par. I do not require luxury, just professionalism. As an example in the Edinburgh hotel No32 I was "welcomed" by a lady that had a hard time finding my reservation, which was one of the 2 paper slips she held in her hand. During check-in there was a young lad that just stood up close to us watching the process unfold while avoiding eye contact. Clearly, it was someone ostensively providing some sort of personal protection to the lady. It was the first time I was treated as a potential threat in the hospitality industry. The lady was not able to answer some basic questions as "the manager was not there". She asked me to ask someone else the following day.
- My concerns around being able to complete the hikes were brushed off with a picture of general guidance material spread over a table and a photo of stephen and a colleague smiling in the hike.
- I was only provided with the actual hiking guidance material in paper format (?) once I arrived in the hotel. After examining the material my concerns about my ability to do the hike increased materially. These concerns coupled with very bad weather motivated me to forego the hike in the first day. I tried to do the hike on the second day but gave up on the first 10% of the itinerary as I did not feel I was fit or skilled enough to complete a 7-hour hike.
- No one asked me how many pieces of luggage I was carying and I was provided with only one luggage tag for the baggage transfer that was supposed to happen during the hike. I was not given a timely solution for the problem and decided to take one of my carry-ons with me along the hike, which certainly also contributed to cut it short;
- Last but not least, I was provided with incomplete transportation information and vouchers for the loch ness cruise. I raised the issue with High point Holidays but they do not work or answer messages during weekends, which left me to my own devices to re-work the transportation plan for the activity. When finally I received a message from them on Monday, they completed ignored the issue and wished me a good time in edinburgh as if nothing had happened.

Hotel Review
No.32 Hotel
Edinburgh

Please see notes on my general review of High point Holidays.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Local specialist: Stephen Molloy
Stephen
Stephen Molloy
Local specialist in Dorset and Lyon | Reviewed on Nov 16, 2022

Dear Marcos

Thank you for taking the time to write your opinions down about your solo-traveller journey through Scotland. I would like to take the occasion to write and reply.

When you say this was 'off the shelf', I reject that this is the case. I think it is important to mention that we created six no-obligation free quotes for you as a single traveller before you chose the cheapest paired-down trip, that removed all of the original elements that we had prepared. Even with the trip... read more

Dear Marcos

Thank you for taking the time to write your opinions down about your solo-traveller journey through Scotland. I would like to take the occasion to write and reply.

When you say this was 'off the shelf', I reject that this is the case. I think it is important to mention that we created six no-obligation free quotes for you as a single traveller before you chose the cheapest paired-down trip, that removed all of the original elements that we had prepared. Even with the trip that you went on, I do not believe that a journey taking in Rannoch Moor, Invermoriston, or even Bridge of Orchy could be considered pre-packaged. These places are off the beaten track.

I also reject when you say inaccurate and incomplete. We provided a total of 47 pages of pdf material before you arrived and then posted detailed printed trekking notes and waterproof maps to your first hotel.

When you mention off-the-shelf planning experience, we spent a long time adapting to you – with 6 different versions of the quote, and 52 different emails between each other over 8 days to confirm the trip. You never picked up our messages by WhatsApp at this stage when we tried to get in touch to deepen the conversation.

One of the hotels you were staying in was the Green Tourism Gold Award-winning https://www.kingshousehotel.co.uk/ This is a hotel of standing that we are always proud to propose. It is a touch of luxury in an area of exceptional beauty. I am sorry that you felt like people thought you were a threat at the hotel you mentioned in Edinburgh. That hotel has a rating of over 4/5 on Tripadvisor. We have never had any problems, there and it met your price concerns.

I feel it is unfair that you had written to me that we brushed off your hiking concerns. You wrote to me that “I love trekking as long as the trail is not too intense. I can do fairly long hikes.” We tried to encourage you to engage with us via WhatsApp by explaining our recent hikes, and this was the moment I sent a photo to show you the terrain and our familiarity with it. It was not brushing you off and I am sorry that you thought this. You never replied further, so we presumed you would be confident, based on that you wrote“I love trekking as long as the trail is not too intense. I can do fairly long hikes.”.

For the bag tags, we told you that it will work out fine as the transfer company stated to me that they will take extra care to make sure both of you luggage will be well transferred together and not risk any mix-up. We don’t know why you still went to do a hike with your carry-on bags…

When it comes to your concerns about our communication we exchanged 121 WhatsApp messages, and dozens of KimKim emails with you during your journey and reassured you at every step of the way where possible. The lack of communication on the weekend, and we apologise, did come from not having mobile data access for a moment. It is not fair that you say that we did not check in with you on the Monday, we wrote to ask how everything was going. It is simply not true to say we completely ignored the issue, as that is incorrect we wrote “How did it go ? I hope it went fine and that there was no trouble or too many complications ?”. Of course we care about what happened to you. You chose not to answer.

With regards to the transport to the Lochness cruise – if you remember we had a solution in place with an electric bike rental, yet when you were trying to bring the quote down in price, but you requested that this was removed.

I do hope you had pleasant memories Marcos, and I am sorry we did not pick up your WhatsApp message on the weekend at one stage. We do have 24-hour phone service, and we expected, as it is stated in our travel documents that you should reply on calls in the first instance. Since you are traevlliing with a UK phone number it was certainly expected that you would do this toll-free call and simply talk to us, to express your question.

I am disappointed that in your review you did not mention the way we helped you out after you missed your flight, and we immediately reorganised the transfers.

Thank you for choosing to travel with us, I am sorry that you did not choose a fully guided tour so we could have helped you further.

Sincerely,
Stephen, William, Jonas and the back-office team at HPH

Our family had an amazing time both in London...
England | Jul 7 - Jul 17, 2022

M
Mirelly F.
Cooper City, FL | Reviewed on Jul 18, 2022

Our family had an amazing time both in London and Paris. It was all very well arranged and communication was on point. Thank you for assisting us and making sure we had wonderful memories. :) read more

Our family had an amazing time both in London and Paris. It was all very well arranged and communication was on point. Thank you for assisting us and making sure we had wonderful memories. :)

Hotel Reviews
Hôtel Malte - Astotel
Paris

Outstanding staff! Professional, helpful, and friendly! Our family had a wonderful time. My husband had prepared a birthday surprise and the hotel staff made sure it was done to perfection and were extremely helpful. We would definitely come back and stay at Hotel Malte again. Thank you so much!

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Cheval Three Quays
London

Perfect location! Rooms were big and clean. We only had one issue with one of the rooms in which the AC didn't work, but they fixed it right away. We would definitely stay here again!

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Local specialist: Stephen Molloy
Stephen
Stephen Molloy
Local specialist in Dorset and Lyon | Reviewed on Jul 20, 2022

Hi Mirelly

Thank you for taking the time with this detailed review, but also thank you so much for choosing to travel with us. We are pleased that you loved the way we ran the vacation, and that you got to experience High Tea, the Westend play Matilda, the London Eye, wine tasting in Paris and much more. Have a great summer, and I hope the happy memories last forever.

Sincere regards from those who worked on the trip here at High Point Holidays
Stephen, William, Thomas, Louis, Bérangère and Jonas