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“Modern, convenient, well-run”
Review of Ballater Hostel

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Ballater Hostel
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 4, 2012

It's been a few years since I've staid at a hostel and I was a little apprehensive. I thought maybe I was too old or that maybe the place wouldn't be very secure. But I wanted to do some hillwalking in the Cairngorms and hotels seemed rather pricey, so I took a chance and booked with Habitat. When the time came, I hopped on the 201 out of Aberdeen and arrived in Ballater 2 hours later. I was welcomed and shown around as soon as I arrived.

It turns out my fears were ill-founded. Habitat was a wonderful, modern hostel. The other guests were friendly and respectful and I certainly had no issues with security. Each bunkroom has a unique security key, so only the people in your bunkroom are able to enter. Perhaps the best feature at Habitat is the kitchen. They have a big old restaurant stove with 6 large burners (as a previous reviewer mentions, it can be tricky to light at first, but once you get the hang of it, it takes just seconds), 2 fridges, lots of pots and pans, more dinnerware than could be counted, and lots of counter space. Just across from the kitchen are two large tables with benches. Each has cushions for 6, but they could easily seat 8 each or even 10 if stools are added to the ends. There are two large couches near a 50ish inch flat screen television. If I had any complaint, it would be the size of the bunks. I'm only 5'11", but I felt as though my feet were constrained by having rails at both the head and foot of the bunks. Also the mattresses were rather soft for my taste. These are quibbles, though, compared to some other places I've managed to sleep. And, to be honest, I slept fairly well, all told.

So, if it's time for you to summit Lochnagar, I would highly recommend staying at Habitat. In fact, even if I intend to do hikes in the nearby towns I might consider Habitat. The main deterrent would be bus prices. According to another guest at the hostel, making a quick hop down the road is likely to cost 5 pounds each way. That seems a little steep compared to the 10 pound ticket from Aberdeen and it might cause me to consider staying in Braemar. If I decide to that on the next trip I will be sure to write up my experiences there as well.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank alwayssummer82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BrattA1, Owner at Ballater Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded October 7, 2012

Thank you very much for your review and I am delighted you enjoyed your stay.You are correct that the bus fares are extremely expensive on Deeside and it is definately something we try and warn guests about in advance if we know they are planning on using public transport.

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40 - 46 of 60 reviews

Reviewed October 3, 2012

A nice modern hostel, with lots of space. Yes it has a few niggles (showers very hot & not adjustable, kitchen hob is a nightmare, and they try to squeeze all people into one room), but overall I'd go back and recommend it.

Stayed: September 2012, traveled solo
Thank Matthew44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BrattA1, Owner at Ballater Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded October 7, 2012

Thank you for reviewing us and I am glad you enjoyed your stay.I think it is important I respond to your point regarding the numbers of guests in each bunkroom which are unfounded.The weekend you stayed our 7 bedded dorm had an occupancy of 3 and our two 8 bedded dorms had 3 people in each.So clearly everyone was spread out to maximise guests comfort.

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Reviewed July 4, 2012

A really comfortable well equipped hostel - loved the kitchen. We had a family room and it was comfortable , spacious and en suite - excellent shower. Really central location for mountains , river and local amenities - would definitely recommend..

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Fivemunrostogo
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Management response:Responded July 11, 2012

Thank you for taking time to review us.We are delighted you enjoyed your stay

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Reviewed July 3, 2012

we found this hostel atthe very last moment... it is a top quality place with a very very affordable prices!!
we took a family room and it was just 45 pounds. the room has a double and a bunk bed so up to four people in it!! big telly in the room and really clean shower and toilet en suite... in a hostel!!! amazing!!
living room and kitchen downstairs tidy and keep to the detailed with every single tool you can imagine in a kitchen and loads of info about the are, routes, etc in the living area.... coffee and tea for free!!
good atmosphere in an excellent location....

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank maria g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded July 4, 2012

Thank you very much for your great review.I`m delighted you enjoyed your stay.

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Reviewed June 22, 2012

The Bunkhouse is a new and modern guesthouse in Ballater. It's clean but had a funny smell. You can cook in a new kitchen. The thing is, it's quite expensive.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Studi722
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Management response:Responded June 24, 2012

We are slightly puzzled by your comments.You paid £22.50 per person for a one night Saturday stay in a double room with ensuite facilities including wet room. Our guests consider our prices to be outstanding value.The hostel is graded 5 star by Visit Scotland and our score for cleanliness has been 100% (Exceptional) on each of our three annual grading visits.

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Reviewed March 31, 2012

Six of us stayed here in March. Got an 8 bunk room to ourselves which was great, en-suite wet room with separate toilet. Owner even gave us a discount since we were one member of our party short.
The sitting room/kitchen area was very nice and cosy though we didn't spend much time there other than for breakfast. It was very welcoming for families.
Only negative I'd say would be that this area was a tad small for the number of folk staying there. Not sure how it would be if it was full of burly hillwalkers all trying to cook breakfast at once. But that aside, I'd definitely stay again. It was really quite lovely!

Room Tip: Imagine all the rooms to be good!
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank suduperth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BrattA1, Owner at Ballater Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded May 26, 2012

Thank you very much for your great review. As you guessed all the bedrooms both bunk rooms and private rooms have en suite wet rooms with separate toilets.We get a lot of very positive feedback regarding how good our showers are.

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Reviewed March 24, 2012

We stayed here with extended family in early March.I had never stayed in a hostel/bunkhouse before so was a bit unsure of what to expect.My goodness what a pleasant surprise.The family rooms are ensuite,with kingsize beds,electric blinds,flatscreen TV,s,wet room and underfloor heating.All the decor is modern and stylish -very metropolitan.Our teenagers were in an equally nice dormitory which had 7 beds.The place was absolutely spotless.I have never stayed in a cleaner place.Lots of extras were provided -mountain bike magazines,maps,the usual tea ,coffee etc but also all your cooking needs like spices and tin foil etc.It really is a great place.As novice hostellers we loved it but a couple from Germany who were staying said they have been hostelling in Europe for 15 years and this was the best place they had ever stayed...

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank jeffy19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BrattA1, Owner at Ballater Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded March 29, 2012

Thank you for your review.We are delighted you enjoyed your stay with us and hope that you will consider using other hostels in the Cairngorms National Park.

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Additional Information about Ballater Hostel

Address: Bridge Square, Ballater AB35 5QJ, Scotland (Formerly Habitat Hostel)
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Aberdeenshire > Ballater
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 7 Specialty Lodging in Ballater
Price Range: $47 - $101 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Ballater Hostel 5*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ballater Hostel (formerly Habitat at Ballater) is a 25 bed five star self-catering hostel situated in the centre of Ballater, near Balmoral, on the east side of the Cairngorms National Park. The Hostel is owned and run by Dominique & Daniel, who took over the hostel in August 2016. We have both traditional dorm rooms and private rooms, along with a large open plan kitchen / dining / communal area with wood burning stove. A drying room and cycle storage is also available. Either book the whole hostel, a room or just a bed, with no minimum stay. From £20 per person per night (mixed dorm) and £33 per room per night (private room). Excellent facilities, comfortable beds and a warm and friendly welcome awaits you – the kettle is always on! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ballater Hostel Scotland

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