Do you love booking a night in unique, stunning and indulging places to stay? Then this post is for you! This is a guide to my favourite places to stay in Scotland: from small hotels and exceptional B&Bs to unique hostels and outstanding self-catering cottages all over the country. Every suggestion on this list is hand-picked by me and based on my personal experience – each so special, you’ll want to plan your trip to stay at as many as possible!
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Disclaimer: Always check local travel guidelines and restrictions, especially when it comes to visiting Scottish isles and other remote areas post-Coronavirus.
Booking accommodation might not be the first step in planning your trip to Scotland. There are many other questions you might ask yourself first. You might even look at accommodation last because all you need is a place to rest your head. And that is totally fine. This post might not be for you, but maybe you enjoy my “Best of Scotland” itinerary!
However, if you are the kind of person that would visit an area just to stay in an exceptional hotel, meet an outstanding host or wake up to a breathtaking view, this post is a must-read!
After many years of travel blogging – about Scotland on here and covering international destinations on other websites – I have developed a refined taste for accommodation. I can still make do with most places as long as they are clean, but I simply LOVE indulging in a nice hotel or B&B. I’m also a huge fan of special hostels (no party hostels though, please) and stunning self-catering accommodation.
If this sounds familiar to you, choosing the perfect places to stay in Scotland is an essential part of preparing your trip. After all, you don’t want to “just” explore Scotland, but also check out some beautiful, relaxing and indulging accommodation!
This post contains my favourite Scotland accommodation in four categories:
- Small Hotels (light green),
- Bed & Breakfasts (yellow),
- Hostels (dark green),
- and Self-Catering Cottages (mustard).
I have personally stayed in ALL of them – sometimes splurging to treat myself (and my partner), other times I was invited to try them as part of a sponsored campaign or gifted experience. You can check out my disclaimer page to find out more about how I work with local Scottish businesses. But maybe you’re also just happy to hear that regardless of who paid for my stay, I only added hotels, B&Bs etc. that I absolutely LOVED to this post!
As such, I’m sure there are many more places to add to this list and I will expand it as I get to stay in more accommodations around the country. If you stayed somewhere you loved, share it in the comments and I’ll add it to my list!
Without further ado – here are my favourite places to stay in Scotland.
My Favourite Hotels in Scotland
The Coll Hotel on the Isle of Coll
The Isle of Coll is one of my favourite island getaways on the Scottish west coast. There is not much to do & see on Coll – apart from the stunning scenery – but that is 100% the appeal.
There are just a handful of accommodation providers on the island and only one hotel. But it’s a great one!
The Coll Hotel lies at the heart of the harbour of Arinagour, the main village on the island. Their rooms have stunning views of the sea and in 2019, they renovated and opened a new-built restaurant & bar annexe to the historical main part of the hotel.
The hotel is independently owned and family-run. Guests will feel like a part of the family.
Loch Melfort Hotel in Argyll
Argyll has the longest coastline of all regions in Scotland and this hotel has one of the best views of said coastline, I have ever seen. Hint: the photo below was taken FROM MY BED after a lazy lie-in.
Loch Melfort Hotel ironically does not overlook Loch Melfort – that lies around the corner – but offers stunning views of Loch Shuna, the Isle of Shuna and other nearby islands. Oban, the bustling town on the west coast is approximately one hour north of here, and many other sites in Argyll (like the Isle of Seil, Loch Awe and Kilmartin Glen) are also nearby!
The hotel was built in the 19th century as the main house on Arduaine Estate – also home to Arduaine Garden. The family who owned it eventually sold the house in the 1960s and it was turned into a hotel. The garden is now managed by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) and lies right next to Loch Melfort Hotel.
NTS members enjoy free entry to Arduaine Garden and all other NTS places as well as free parking at their sites with parking fees! You can join NTS here.
I stayed here on my 2-week west coast road trip and enjoyed a night in one of the fantastic suites overlooking the loch and the gardens. From the window, I could observe otters and sea birds in the morning and in the evening, I enjoyed a few drams at the cosy lounge bar. The bistro is open to the public and serves fantastic food – on a sunny day, you might even enjoy your meal on the deck!
Kingshouse Hotel in Glencoe
There are many iconic hotels in the Scottish Highlands and the Kingshouse Hotel in Glencoe is one of them!
The Kingshouse Hotel has been a refuge for weary travellers since the 1750s. Over the centuries it has been expanded and renovated, but it has never lost its warm welcome and Highland hospitality.
Today’s Kingshouse re-opened in 2019 with a modern annexe added to the original historic structure. The rooms have breathtaking views of the River Etive and the mountains of Glencoe, most prominently the mountain called Buachaille Etive Mor.
The spacious bar and restaurant offer plenty of space for groups without making it feel impersonal for family trips or couple holidays.
You might have heard of the famous deer who visit Kingshouse Hotel on a daily basis. Many people feed them, but they are wild animals, so it’s best to keep your distance and take photos instead of giving them bread.
The Kingshouse is a great home base on your road trip through the Highlands, for a day days to explore Glencoe or for a luxurious night on the West Highland Way.
Ardanaiseig Hotel at Loch Awe
I stumbled upon Ardanaiseig Hotel when I was searching for romantic getaways in the Scottish Highlands and spent my birthday here.
Ardanaiseig Hotel lies at the banks of Loch Awe, one of my favourite lochs in Scotland.
The main house offers a range of different rooms, a bar and drawing room and an intimate restaurant. The entire house is furnished in a traditional style, there are roaring fireplaces and quirky antiques all around.
For a special getaway, you can stay at the renovated Boathouse (pictured below) which has uninterrupted views of the loch and offers ultimate privacy. It has a small kitchen, but you can also eat at the hotel’s main house.
The hotel would be a good home base for a few days of travelling around Argyll – for example, to visit Oban, Kilchurn Castle and Inveraray. But I recommend spending some time at the hotel, taking in the views and roaming the stunning grounds of the estate.
Colonsay Hotel on the Isle of Colonsay
The Isle of Colonsay is a small, but surprisingly versatile island off the west coast of Scotland. Ferries from Oban and Islay leave several times a week, which makes Colonsay the perfect getaway for a few nights.
Colonsay Hotel is located in Scalasaig, the main village on the island. You can already see it from the ferry and it is easy to drive, cycle or walk there from the port.
The hotel, built in 1750, is a serene oasis, tastefully decorated with natural materials and cheerful splashes of colour. The restaurant offers stunning views of the bay and the neighbouring Isle of Jura. The rooms look towards the sea, the garden and the surrounding hills.
Colonsay is best explored by car or by bicycle, although the best beaches also require you to strap on the walking boots (Balnahard Bay) or get out the wellies (Oronsay). The hotel has some wellies you can borrow, so you don’t have to bring your own!
I spent only one night on Colonsay but would love to come back one day and sit in one of these lounge chairs all day!
Delnashaugh Hotel in Speyside
The Speyside in the north-east of Scotland is known around the world for its whisky distilleries and beautiful mountain scenery. This hotel enables you to take in both to the fullest!
I stayed at Delnashaugh Hotel when I hiked the Speyside Way, a multi-day hike that runs 65 miles from Aviemore in the heart of the Cairngorms all the way through the Speyside to the Moray Coast. While we tried to find accommodations on a budget for most of the way (hostels & budget hotels), we decided to splurge on this hotel after seeing its beautiful views from the sunny deck and tastefully decorated rooms.
The hotel is a historic inn that has provided shelter and hearty meals for centuries. The hotel is family-run and offers a warm welcome for weary hikers and whisky lovers alike.
Delnashaugh Hotel is perfectly situated in the Speyside and from here it is easy to explore north towards Aberlour, Dufftown and Craigellachie as well as south to Grantown, Glenlivet and Tomintoul.
Other things to do in the area include the Osprey Centre near Nethy Bridge, hiking in the Cairngorms National Park, castles like Ballindalloch and Balmoral or charming towns like Elgin or Cullen.
My Favourite B&Bs in Scotland
Carradales Luxury Guest House near Campbeltown
It is worth to venture off the beaten track, especially if a B&B like this awaits you at the end of the road.
Carradales Luxury Guest House lies literally near the end of the road from Campbeltown to Carradale, a serene village on the east coast of the Kintyre peninsula.
Owned by a welcoming couple from down south, the guest house is a luxurious escape from daily life as you can lean back and enjoy everything the guest house has to offer. From elegant rooms with comfortable beds and beautiful views to indulging breakfast and dinner prepared by Steve, who used to cook for celebrities in London before relocating to Scotland.
There is an overwhelming bar at your disposal in the lounge so you barely have to leave the house during your stay. However, there are many things to see & do nearby. Walk down to Carradale Bay and on to the village, do a distillery tour down the road at Kintyre Gin or venture a bit further to explore Campbeltown, the Mull of Kintyre or the Isle of Gigha.
Ashbank House in Pitlochry
Did you know you can book many traditional B&Bs in Scotland via AirBnB?
I stumbled upon this gem of a B&B on a random quest for a place to stay in Pitlochry for my trip to The Enchanted Forest event.
Ashbank House B&B is a very traditional bed & breakfast that offers comfortable rooms, a full Scottish breakfast and a warm Highland welcome. The owners have relocated to Pitlochry from Perth, swapping a fairly big city for the scenic countryside of the village.
From the B&B it is a 10-minute walk to the main street of Pitlochry, but with its views of a neighbouring woodland, it feels like you are based in the middle of no-where.
Pitlochry is a great home base to explore Perthshire. There is a lot to do in the small town itself, but it is also nearby many other points of interest such as Blair Castle, Killiecrankie Castle, Aberfeldy and The Hermitage.
Ashfield House in Arrochar
Sometimes, the best things come unexpectedly! I got to spend a night at Ashfield House B&B in Arrochar after a restless night of wild camping on the Isle of Tiree – it was late March and still pretty cold, so I could not face another night in my tent as planned. This B&B was the solution – and as it turns out, one of my favourite places to stay that year!
Ashfield House B&B is run by Cristina, an American expat who fell in love with the Scottish Highlands and moved up here with her British husband. Who could blame her?
The B&B is incredibly elegant, beautiful interior decor, spacious rooms and thoughtful touches wherever you look.
Arrochar is a wonderful village in the heart of the Southern Highlands. Perfectly located to discover Loch Lomond and Argyll and a great home base for a few days of hiking in the Arrochar Alps.
Restaurants, pubs and trailheads are within walking distance and Cristina can pick you up from the nearby train station. Thus it’s a perfect getaway if you decide to travel by public transport.
Kingsrech Vegan B&B in Kilmartin
There is nothing quite as relaxing and reassuring for a vegan traveller as staying at a vegan bed & breakfast. Here you can be sure that you will be catered for without having to ask hundreds of questions. While most hotels and B&Bs in Scotland will be able to whip up delicious plant-based meals, a vegan B&B also offers cruelty-free toiletries, beds with down-free duvet & pillows and vegan-friendly interior decor.
There is a burgeoning scene of vegan accommodations in Scotland and I have had the pleasure to stay at Kingsreach Vegan B&B in one of my favourite areas – Kilmartin Glen in Argyll.
Kingsreach has two en-suite rooms with views of the ancient ruins of Dunadd Fort as well as two self-catering cottages which are great for longer stays.
The area is very vegan-friendly. Most restaurants nearby offer options and if you venture further throughout the region you will find some amazing vegan eateries. There is also a lot to do here and that makes Kingsreach the perfect home base to explore Kilmartin Glen and beyond: Loch Awe, Isle of Seil, Inveraray, Kintyre peninsula, Oban and so on.
Vigadale House Guest House on the Isle of Harris
The Outer Hebrides are unlike any other area in Scotland. I visited 10 of these islands when I hiked the Hebridean Way. I mostly camped or stayed in hostels, but on the Isle of Harris, it was time to treat myself!
Vigadale House Guest House lies in the stunning surroundings of Loch Seaforth on the Isle of Harris. Host Cristina lives on-site and guests have access to a cosy lounge as well as a fully-equipped kitchen. Even though Cristina does not prepare meals for you, the fridge is stuffed with delicious breakfast items and dinners (on request) to which you can help yourself. That way, you can enjoy meals whenever suits you.
The rooms have lovely views of the loch and the hills around the house. There is a chance to see Golden and White-Tailed Eagles from the doorstep or from the trail leading up Glen Vigidale nearby.
There is a large deck for warm summer nights and a wooden hot-tub outside which is heated by a burning fire – perfect for a soothing bath after a long day exploring the Isle of Harris!
My Favourite Hostels in Scotland
Achmelvich Beach Youth Hostel on the North Coast 500
Silver winner in The Great Outdoors Magazine awards for Best Hostel/Bunkhouse of the year 2019!
When I drove the North Coast 500, I stayed in seven hostels along the route – five run by Hostelling Scotland (Inverness, Torridon, Gairloch Sands, Ullapool and Achmelvich Beach) and two independent affiliate hostels (Tongue and Helmsdale). Most offer private accommodation, are family- & group-friendly and are perfect for all travellers who want to do this road trip!
My favourite hostel on the North Coast 500 is the Achmelvich Beach Youth Hostel which lies just a few steps away from the stunning beach itself. The hostel offers dorms and a few private rooms (all with shared bathrooms), a cosy lounge with a fireplace and a large outside area. There are entertaining hostel chickens who live on-site and the friendly live-in hostel managers provide an incredibly warm welcome to guests.
I only spent one night here but could have stayed for many more days, watching the sunset over the bay, exploring neighbouring beaches on foot or drive to nearby towns and sites like Lochinver, Arvreck Castle or Stac Pollaidh.
Note that the hostel is only open from April to September.
CoDE – The LoFT in Edinburgh
There are tons of hostels in Edinburgh – many are cheaper than this one, others have more social areas or maybe even a bar – but that is not what I am looking for in my favourite hostels. I need a hostel to be clean and comfortable, have friendly and helpful staff and most importantly offer some privacy while also being more affordable than a hotel room.
Pod hostels are all that and more. CoDE is the first pod hostel in Edinburgh and they now have two locations in the city – The LoFT in New Town and The CoURT in Old Town.
I have stayed twice now at The LoFT and think it’s a great option for more mature hostel travellers. The pods are relatively spacious and have practical features like plugs, shelves and hooks. The curtains black out all light from outside and the pod structures are very sturdy keeping any noise or movements from neighbouring pods to the bare minimum.
As a solo traveller, I really appreciate the option of pod hostels over party or budget hostels! You can read my full review of The LoFT here.
Blackwater Hostel in Kinlochleven
I first stated at Blackwater Hostel in Kinlochleven when I hiked the northern half of the West Highland Way. It is a walker-friendly independent hostel with a fantastic kitchen and common area and comfortable small dorms. They also have glamping pods and a campsite next door as well as a nearby B&B and a self-catering lodge for groups.
I have since then started to host my Women’s Hiking Retreats at this hostel because I simply love the location and vibe of the hostel.
Kinlochleven is a village in the middle of the Highlands surrounded by mountains. It is a little off the beaten track, but only a 15-minute drive from Glencoe or 40 minutes to Fort William, which makes it a great home base for hikers.
There are restaurants and shops in walking distance as well as a lovely wild swimming spot in the river and the stunning Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall – the third-tallest in Scotland.
Craignure Bunkhouse on the Isle of Mull
The Isle of Mull is one of my favourite Scottish islands to visit, but it can be tricky to find accommodation, especially if there are more than 2 travelling together.
Our group of four did not want to splurge on last-minute B&B accommodation but found that most self-catering cottages had a one-week minimum stay – but we only had 3 nights.
Instead, we booked a small en-suite dorm at Craignure Bunkhouse and I’m so glad we did! The hostel has a comfortable common area and a fully-equipped kitchen. We had most of our dinners on the deck outside, overlooking the sea.
Craignure is a great home base on the island. The ferry port is just around the corner and many things to do on Mull are within easy reach: explore north towards Tobermory, north-west towards Ben More and the Isle of Ulva or south-west towards Fionnphort and the Isle of Iona.
Next to the hostel, there is a small hotel with a restaurant, a bar and a small shop for necessities.
Portree Youth Hostel on the Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye is notoriously busy. During the summer it is difficult to find accommodation on the island unless you book far in advance and prices are usually higher than on the mainland due to the demand.
Portree Youth Hostel is the perfect solution and I’ve stayed here twice. You still have to book the hostel in advance, but the price is a lot better than many nearby options.
The hostel lies in the heart of Portree in easy walking distance to local restaurants, shops and the bus stop. The lounge has just about the best view of the Cuillin mountains you could ask for and there is a spacious kitchen!
There are dorms as well as private en-suite and family rooms, making the hostel perfect for anyone – not just young solo travellers!
Loch Ossian Youth Hostel in the Highlands
Loch Ossian is a paradise for hikers and outdoor lovers. Located in the middle of the Scottish Highlands, this place can only be reached on foot or by train.
On its way from Glasgow to Fort William, the West Highland Line grinds to a stop at Corrour station, seemingly the middle of nowhere. If you have seen Trainspotting, this place might look familiar! There are no roads here, just mountains and the beautiful Loch Ossian.
A few minutes from the train station lies Loch Ossian Youth Hostel, a small eco-hostel that offers basic accommodation for hikers. There are only two dorms – one for men, one for women – and a comfortable kitchen and lounge area in the middle. The hostel manager lives on-site and makes sure that the fire is roaring and the place stays tidy.
The hostel uses solar and locally sourced hydropower, has eco-friendly compost toilets and treats all greywater through a reed bed soakaway.
The nearby Munros offer amazing days out in the hills and there is a track leading all around the loch for an easier walk or cycle. The hostel is a great place for a hiking trip to the Scottish Highlands and a unique experience in Scotland.
My Favourite Self-Catering Cottages in Scotland
Storm Pods on the Isle of Islay
The Isle of Islay is an amazing place to visit, especially if you are into peaty whiskies!
The Storm Pods are located on Islay’s whisky coast – a stretch of coastline in the south-west of the island that is home to three distilleries in walking distance of each other: Ardbeg, Laphroaig and Lagavulin. The cabins overlook the same bay as Lagavulin Distillery and have fantastic views of the ruins of Dunyvaig Castle.
There are several pods in different sizes, but each is positioned in a way to provide ultimate privacy. My pod had a generous lounge with kitchen, a bedroom, a small bathroom and a deck with a BBQ and stunning sea views.
The pods are a great home base to explore the Isle of Islay, visit the island’s nine whisky distilleries, go for hikes and discover historical sites.
Creeside Escape Shepherds Hut in Ayrshire
There are few places that feel as “in the middle of nowhere” as this shepherd hut at Creeside Escape!
Located on a sheep farm in the south-west of Scotland, Creeside Escape is an eco-friendly glamping getaway in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere. The hut offers uninterrupted views of the River Cree below and the Galloway Hills in the distance.
The hut has one room with a large, comfy bed and a kitchen area, and a small bathroom with a composting toilet.* A small, but effective fireplace heats up the place in a heart-beat, making it a great retreat year-round. In the morning, sheep might surround the hut, curious if you will feed them a morning treat.
Creeside Escape is a great place to stay for sustainable travellers. It is easy to get to by bike or public transport from a nearby village (i.e. Barrhill or Newton Stewart). It is well-located to explore the Galloway Forest Park and a perfect place to just be and take in nature around you.
*Note that there is no shower.
The Bothy in Perthshire
I found this little gem on AirBnB when I was looking for a beautiful getaway in the mountains that was not too far from Glasgow, yet felt really remote.
Glenlyon in Perthshire turned out to be a perfect choice!
The Bothy at West Cottage and Stables is a wooden cabin with lots of rustic charm, a skylight above the bed and a great kitchen with a woodburning stove.
There is no phone reception for miles and no WiFi at the cabin – DIGITAL DETOX time! Although you can check emails at the main house.
The cabin lies at the edge of a woodland and with a bit of luck, you can observe red squirrels and many different bird species from the comfort of the cabin. There are many walks in Glenlyon and the Lawers Range and the trails to several Munros start right at your doorstep.
Aberfeldy is just a short drive away and from there, Perthshire lies at your feet!
House in the Wood in Ballachulish
Ballachulish is a small village near Glencoe, best known for its former slate quarries and the Ballachulish Bridge leading north to Fort William. But it is worth to stay for a few days – for example at a woodland cabin at House in the Wood.
There are four cabins spread out in the woods, each offering two bedrooms, a cosy lounge, a modern kitchen and a bathroom, and a smaller cottage for 2 people nearby.
The cabins are perfectly located for hiking or skiing in Glencoe or the Nevis Range, water activities on Loch Leven and day trips to nearby towns such as Oban or Fort William.
You can read my full review of staying at House in the Wood here.
Craobh Marina Cottages in Argyll
Who doesn’t dream of a house with sea views for their Scotland holiday?
I stumbled across the Craobh Marina Cottages by complete chance when looking for a last-minute self-catering cottage in Argyll.
Craobh Haven is a small village on the banks of Loch Shuna, a sea loch on the coast south of Oban. The majority of the village seems to be taken over by the local marina, which is a popular marina for sailing holidays.
The cottages are built by the sea around a square courtyard. Each is painted in a different colour, giving these holiday homes the quirky vibe of colourful fishing cabins you might see in other coastal towns.
Ours had two floors with two bedrooms at the top and a large open plan ground floor with a large kitchen, dining area and lounge overlooking the sea.
Craobh Haven is within a short driving distance of my favourite places in Argyll – Oban, Loch Awe and Kilchurn Castle, Arduaine Garden, the Isle of Seil, Kilmartin Glen and the Kintyre peninsula.
The cottages are rented by the week, but during the off-season, shorter stays are also possible.
The Old Paper House in Melrose
This 4-bedroom holiday home might be too big for the average travel party, but for families, it presents the perfect getaway in the Scottish Borders.
Located in Melrose, the Old Paper House is a stunning self-catering accommodation with 4 spacious bedrooms on the ground and first floor, two bathrooms, a large TV lounge with plentiful seating, a bright dining area with exposed beams and a lovely kitchen. The garden is massive and filled with flowers, trees and wildlife.
The attractions, restaurants and shops of Melrose are just a short drive or a 25-minute walk away.
You can see the Eildon Hills and start your hike up these iconic hills right from the house. Other nearby sites include Melrose Abbey, Abbotsford House in Tweedbank and Floors Castle in Kelso.
Most times, the destination comes before the accommodation – first you decide where you want to go and then you find a place to stay.
I like to travel differently from time to time and let my trips be steered by the accommodations I find most appealing. And I have never been disappointed – luckily Scotland is beautiful all over!
I hope that this list of my favourite places to stay in Scotland inspires you to seek out unique locations to include on your Scotland itineraries!
Got a favourite place to stay as well? Share it with others in the comments!
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All photos by Kathi Kamleitner.