You’ll have noticed that I’ve been a bit absent from the blog lately. I thought September started quite well, but something big happened and it has taken a lot of my focus. But I’m now back in Canada for a short while and hopefully back on the right track!
Back to the actual topic of this post now – where to stay in Scotland! Either this is for a road trip or simply planning on coming to Scotland for a weekend, I hope I can be of help!
During our road trip of last June, we booked a variety of accommodation and it felt great to experience the broad spectrum of what Scotland has to offer.
Did you know that I had never stayed in a hostel until 2015 when I did a road trip with the Brit? After extensive search, we found out that the best options for our destinations were hostels. I never wanted to try hostels before, mostly because I hate the thought of sharing a room with randos, but since we’re a couple we booked private rooms for a very affordable price.
I loved both my experiences during that trip, both in Oban and on the Isle of Iona (pictured below). Actually, if you can ever visit Iona and stay at the hostel there, I highly recommend you do. It’s by far the best setting I have ever experienced – it’s surrounded by sheep, right next to a private beach and is surrounded by the noise of the wind and the sea. It’s magical.
B&Bs are my favourite places to stay around Scotland because you get to be taken care of my amazing welcoming Scottish people (And Scots aren’t known for their customer service so you can tell that those who have B&Bs really just want to make your day nice!). They are usually very affordable, very cosy and give you a hearty start to each day (with free full Scottish breakfast).
I’ve stayed in B&Bs across the country (from Ullapool, to Inverness, to St Andrews) and it’s always been a great experience. They are usually very accommodating as well – regarding check in or check out (which is great if you’re on the road!) or simply leaving your luggage with them for part of the day. They truly have the personal touch that I love about travelling.
Hotels in Scotland can be a hit or a miss. It’s always difficult to judge, even by the price, so please check the reviews before booking (especially if it’s expensive!).
We once stayed in a really expensive hotel in Oban (with my in-laws) and it was by far the worst experience I have had in Scotland yet. It seemed posh from the outside, but the inside looked like someone vomited tartan everywhere (and I’m a fan of tartan). It was creaky, the pressure was bad and, worst of all, there were holes and stains on the bed linens. Not a winner!
However, on our trip this past June, we booked a hotel in Banchory, near Stonehaven on the east coast, (pictured below) because there was a fantastic price on a bed & breakfast deal. It has by far been the best we’ve experienced. We felt out of place because it was so posh, but it was cosy, offered great service and it was in a beautiful rural setting.
Other options for hotels can include Premier Inn and other budget hotels of the sort. We actually quite like PI – it’s nothing fancy, but it’s usually affordable and their beds are so comfortable!
Castles & Estates
As everyone knows, Scotland is a land of castles and fancy estates. Some of them are transformed into hotels and welcome guests all year long. For some reason that now eludes me, I was adamant that I wanted to stay in a castle at some point. Hence as our road trip coincided with my birthday, I decided to treat myself and book us a room at a fancy estate just outside St Andrews (it’s called Cambo Estate if you want to Google it).
I would say that I recommend this experience for those who might be intrigued. However, I don’t think I would do it again. While the room itself was amazing (pictured below), this estate in particular wasn’t a hotel per say and we felt very out of place.
This may be what you’re looking for if you want a one of a kind experience!
I have never used AirBnB in Scotland, but I know that some people use it mainly for city breaks. Edinburgh and Glasgow have some great options that can be useful to have a base to call home while you visit. The Airbnb’s I have seen in the Highlands have been comparable to B&Bs, so I wouldn’t particularly recommend that option.
What is your favourite accommodation experience while travelling?xx