As for the title - I think that is a good thing! With the sort of outdoor wonderland that Aviemore is, the more camp-like the experience, the better I think. I was here on probably the slowest season - before the ski crowds show up but well after the summer revelers have left. As a result, it is possible I enjoyed this hostel more than I would have in busier times of year. I showed up very late (I am pretty sure I emailed someone about my arrival time, but with staff changeover, who knows if that bit of info ever got to the guy who happened to be working that day) and at first walked in the wrong direction after getting off my bus from Aberdeen. This was a bit of fortuitousness though as it brought me to a Tesco where I was able to pick up a bit of dinner and ask for directions - the Tesco was only open for another half hour so good timing! A short, chilly walk to the hostel brought me to a walkway in full view of a very spacious lounge area with massive windows on the front of the hostel. One guy leapt up from the couch and dashed to the reception - I guess they really were waiting for me!
The fellow who checked me in was a bit scatterbrained, but he admitted as much and it was more amusing than anything. I had to prompt him for things like curfews, kitchen location etc. I saw a couple other people sitting in the lounge reading (there was a TV in here, pool tables, games, sofas, tables, and a take-a-book-leave-a-book shelf). There was another lounge area by reception with more tables, chairs, sofas, and tucked in the corner, an internet station that I didn't notice until my last morning. That's fine, who wants to waste time online in a place like this?? I did not use the kitchen aside from borrowing a fork but it was MASSIVE, clearly able to accommodate large amounts of people in peak season. They had a variety of things for sale too - porridge, coffee, snacks.
I booked a dorm room but I was the only one staying in it for the first 2 nights, so that was awesome. I wouldn't look forward to that situation any other time of year! My last night I had a single roomate who kept to herself, so that was still fine. The point someone made about the doors is valid - you need two hands to open the door (one to turn the spring-loaded key, the other to turn the spring-loaded doorknob) so it is handy to bring a bag or something if you are carting things back and forth from the shower, and they shut with significant abruptness that would wake the whole room if there was anyone else in it. There is also a hall light that was just outside the room and a window above the door so it was pretty bright in there the whole time.
The rooms were reasonably clean. The halls are a bit dingy (even tho they have a big mudroom out front and ask you to take your outdoor shoes off before coming inside) and none of the floors are even so step high! There is a sink and mirror in the room, but sinks in the shower and toilet rooms as well. Toilets are separate from showers, which is good, and the showers are in 2-curtain stalls so you can keep your clothes dry but still have privacy. The showers operate on a push-button sequence, so you get about 20-30 seconds of water before you have to push the button again. The shower stream is lovely and strong and hot though. I encountered one shower that had a drain so clogged I feared it would overflow, and the next night there was somewhat inexplicably an earthworm wriggling in the bottom of the shower..?? Not sure if someone tracked it in or if it came up the drain.
That aforementioned front mudroom is good, i imagine, in winter - there are cubbyholes so I guess you can exchange your mucky outside boots for indoor shoes or slippers in your own little cubby. The rooms have no lockers for your valuables - just a coat closet to hang things up. The front yard of the place has tons of bird feeders, and there are birds and bunnies all over the place. The property backs onto a nice little nature reserve as well which is great for a morning walk - lots of evidence of deer. It is on the edge of town, but it is a small town and easy to walk to anything - the charter bus stop, train station, bus stop for the mountains, pubs, sports rental shops, sports guiding companies, the cinema and bowling alley (!!), and the wonderful attractions in Rothiemurchus.
I really enjoyed my stay at this hostel and would happily return here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Surrounded by woodland, our youth hostel is situated on the boundary of the Cairngorms National Park, a short walk from Aviemore town centre and its bustling nightlife. The youth hostel itself is extremely peaceful, with great facilities. We are also ideally located for many outdoor activities year-round, such as snowsports, watersports and mountain biking. Most activities take place in the nearby Rothiemurchus Estate or on the Cairngorm mountain range. The area itself is host to a diverse range of wildlife, everything from red squirrels, deer, capercaillie, eagles and arctic hares. Wi-Fi during your stay: We do our best to deliver a free Wi-Fi service but apologise that connectivity, particularly in our rural locations, can be intermittent due to the level of our current broadband provision along with high usage when the youth hostel is busy. Please be assured we are endeavouring to improve where we can. We thank you for your patience and understanding. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Aviemore Youth Hostel Scotland