I’m not going to talk about the big international sites here. They have massive advertising budgets and often charge accommodation providers significant commissions (often 20-30%). So even if you find somewhere via the big listing sites, have a hunt for them on Google and you’ll often get a better price (although often the commissions are absorbed by the business) #toptip
I’ll try to list the Scottish Specialists and some of the location specific sites, especially where they have wide coverage in their areas. In this market, there are lots of small sites trying to extract listing fees from us owners.
The official tourist agency VisitScotland
Will list everyone and all types of accommodation but operates a chargeable quality assurance scheme with regular visits from an inpector who will look at the quality and facilities and how the place is operated. Awards go up to 5 stars. Listings have quite a lot of detail so if you need accessible accommodation, pet friendly, … you can narrow your search. Many but not all listings are linked to availability calendars often with online booking available.
The Association of Scottish Self Caterers
As the name suggests this consists of owner-operators and QA, either from Embrace’s own scheme or via VisitScotland is required. Multiple criteria and links to availability calendars with online booking for almost all listings.
Lists all types of accommodation. Paid and free listings. Geographical searches. Availability searches limited. Building up a nice app to support tourism across Scotland
They merits a special mention as they are a fantastic resources for walkers. / Paid for listings – so if you appreciate the service provided, pay the advertisers back by at least considering them.
Tourist Information Centres
These exist in the major places – look for the large “I” sign, meaning information. They will phone round to find you a place.
Its also worth hunting out the local visitor sites. These may list places that the big sites donâ€™t and they certainly will have valuable local information.
Well, you do get what you pay for. I enjoyed collecting information
from our Facebook Group on what people are paying which seem to cluster around the £75 to £125 a night which is I think reasonable for a double room with breakfast.
This is what I’d expect to pay for different classes of accommodation. I’m never expecting luxury but I want clean, comfortable and quiet. Prices I’ve given should hold for most of Scotland: you might find Edinburgh and Aberdeen a bit more expensive and some of the rural remote cheaper.
Self catering : often about twice the price at peak periods to off peak so some real bargains for off peak travellers especially in remote rural places. But great value for groups and families. I rented a modest 1 bedroom house on Barra in July for £250. My own 3 bedroomed house just off Skye was £800 for the same week. I’d reckon on £100 to £200 per person accommodated per week but if you want the remote super luxury designer house, it can get to £2000 for two people for a week. Most places rent for full weeks. Expect slightly higher prices for those renting for shorter periods.
Glamping/Pods/Quirky: There is a fashion for ‘glamping’ and the offers range from a hut on a campsite (using campsite toilets and shower blocks) to small but well appointed pods with en suite facilities. And there are converted horse boxes, shepherds huts, military vehicles, boats etc out there. Prices vary from bunkhouse prices to rather more depending on facilities.
Bunkhouse – £15-30 per person per night.
Bed and breakfast £50 to £100 for a double room.
Guest house/Small hotel/Inn £80 to £150 for a double room
Visit Scotland operate a (paid for) grading scheme. I use it as I think it helps my guests to know that my 4 star holiday house rental is a good quality but that it’s won’t be posh-perfect. It’s comfortable, well equipped and has touches of luxury. The grading scheme is a bit tick box : it’s easy for a 3 star place to miss out of 4 star on a technicality (e.g. I had to have a fridge and freezer rather than just an icebox in a fridge).
1 star – officially Acceptable. Frankly, I’ve never seen anyone advertise such.
2 star – officially Good. But you are not really expecting much but a clean room and an edible breakfast (where served).
3 star – officially Very Good. Rather better, often missing 4 star by non compliance with the rather tick box approach. I’m usually looking for at least this anywhere I stay.
4 star – Excellent. these should be very decent places to stay. They should be offering good facilities and a certain professionalism.
5 star – Exceptional – we do have some places that offer that bit more. You can get real luxury. Often boutique small places or some of the high end hotels, but the grading is open to all kinds of accommodation.
Aberdeen, single ensuite room in purpose built student let, £129/week.
Spoons luxury B&B, Skye £150-170 per double room B&B.
The House over By (3 Chimneys), Skye, bedrooms with sitting areas £345 inc afternoon tea and breakfast.
Roskhill Guest House, Skye, £80-90
An Croc B&B, Staffin, Skye, £70
Claonairigh B&B, by Inverary, £60
Creag nan B&B, Colonsay, £70
Eddrachilles Hotel, Sutherland, £120-£140
Red Garth Hotel, Oldmeldrum, £120-£135
If you are being asked for more than £100 for a double room in Scotland, you should be pretty clear that you should be expecting decent standards for that money. At £150, I’m asking quite a lot of the accommodation and by the time you get to £200, I am expecting to be pampered.
Scotland on a budget
Scottish Youth Hostel Association https://www.syha.org.uk/
Summer only – Student accommodation.
These are often rented to students for September to June so in July and August these can be a decent option. These are usually single rooms, some en suite in shared flats, with shared kitchen and sitting room. I’ll say where I know they operate in Scotland – they have accommodation in England too. Some operate on a B&B basis (fully catered halls).
Aberdeen and Glasgow https://www.libertyliving.co.uk/summer-accommodation/
Edinburgh http://www.universityrooms.com/en/city/edinburgh/home or https://www.qmu.ac.uk/qmu-and-the-community/holiday-accommodation/
St. Andrews https://bnb.st-andrews.ac.uk/resbus/bnb/
Wild camping is generally legal – see more details here: http://www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/Practical-guide/public/Camping
There are a number of open bothies, available free. See here: https://www.mountainbothies.org.uk/