With more UK families looking for a good value holiday at home, Scottish Independent Hostels members are broadening their accommodation from traditional bunks to family rooms and even ensuite. With shared kitchen and dining facilities, families can keep the costs down by self catering while still enjoying privacy and comfort.
Ardenbeg Bunkhouse in Grantown-on-Spey is popular with families with older children enjoying the local adventure activities such as zip wiring, high ropes, canyoning, tubing and white water rafting. Owner Rebecca Reid said “By self-catering and sharing family rooms, they keep the cost of accommodation to a minimum, making the most of the outdoors” Family rooms come as 4 bunk or 6 bunk with private shower and start at £18.00 per person per night (children £13.00)
Nearby Fraoch Lodge at Boat of Garten in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, is actively encouraging families with very young children to stay with them. They offer flexible meal arrangements, free babysitting and variety of services from off-road push chair to real nappies and their own 3 year old son, Gregor, as playmate. Families can opt for twin or family rooms. They have also noticed an increase in families with older children staying. Owner Rebecca Field explains “If our guests are looking to do something active, there are plenty of choices from kayaking, walking, ball pits and swimming to nature experiences; all the family can participate at their own level.”
Liz and Ian at Slochd Mhor Lodge at Carrbridge also welcome families with young children, offering ensuite family rooms sleeping five people and a small dorm, sleeping 6. “Our underfloor heating helps to underpin that hostelling is perfect for families with children playing on the floor“ says Liz. “We provide cots, highchairs, baby bath and lots of indoor and outdoor play opportunities. There are even small Crocs for the children to change into while indoors. In the snowy season there is a pulk for pulling a child behind mum or dad on skis as well as nordic skis and boots for children from as young as three years old ” Prices for an ensuite family room start at £19.00 per person per night; £14.00 for children (free for under two’s)
Some hostels are actively encouraging families by providing a financial incentive. Stephen Fairclough at “Chase the Wild Goose” Hostel on the Great Glen Way at Banavie, Fort William is very pleased to offer families a special 15% discount. “It can be expensive taking the whole family away on holiday so we are very pleased to make it as affordable as we can” said Stephen.
David Roberts is one of the most far-flung members of Scotland Independent Hostels; situated on a croft on the west coast of Lewis, Galson Farm Bunkhouse overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. David has noticed an increase in families in his bunkhouse who have chosen to have a touring adventure around Scotland with the children instead of a more expensive holiday abroad. “The children love the freedom and the camaraderie of hostelling” said David, who also takes a pride in introducing all his young guests to his rather naughty herd of Belted Galloway Cattle.
Andrew Donaldson, Chair of Scottish Independent Hostels and owner of Comrie Croft Hostel in Perthshire thinks independent hostels are very well placed to take advantage of the current economic gloom. “In the past few years, a revolution in hostelling has taken place. Families are warming to the idea of hostelling with the reassurance that all Scottish Independent Hostels are quality assured by Visit Scotland. Our members are responding to this new demand while still retaining the camaraderie, fun and individual character of each hostel.” Comrie Croft currently offers a recession busting “Kids go Free” for Hostel stays which is very family friendly!
Fraoch Lodge: http://www.scotmountain.co.uk/hostel
Slochd Mhor Lodge: http://www.slochd.co.uk
Chase the Wild Goose http://www.great-glen-hostel.com
Galson Farm Bunkhouse http://www.galsonfarm.co.uk
Ardenbeg Bunkhouse http://www.ardenbeg.co.uk
Comrie Croft http://www.comriecroft.com
Press trip availability: For media coverage on SIH Hostels, free accommodation would be made available in all hostels of choice.
Note to eds:
Scottish Independent Hostels is a network organisation which seeks to promote individually owned Hostels (as opposed to SYHA) in Scotland. There are currently 130 SIH member Hostels which offer a wide variety of accommodation of character, from lighthouses to converted train carriages.
All SIH Hostels are quality assured by Visit Scotland. The awards include hostels, bunkhouses, backpackers, activity providers
Unlike SYHA there is no membership requirement for the general public to book into an SIH hostel.