We just finished a 4 night break in The Old School and stayed in the 'Staffroom' with our 23 month old son. The only reason we didn't rent one of the classrooms was because of the spiral staircase and our son's inability to foresee danger! Kate showed us one of the classrooms and we would rent one of those next time as they are a lot bigger than the Staffroom.
The accommodation was very comfortable and clean. The living accommodation is one room with a seating, dining and kitchen area. The double bedroom is very spacious with more than enough room for a travel cot (we took our own as Kate does not have them to borrow, but did offer us an inflatable bed). The bathroom is also very spacious. The advantage is also that there are good solid doors and a small hall between the bedroom and the living space allowing us to still access the bathroom and keep the TV noise away from the bedroom so our son could go to sleep uninterrupted at his normal time. It was a really nice environment with a lovely finish on the decor, and this enabled us to relax that bit more as it felt like a home from home.
We cooked in the kitchen area every night and it is well equipped with utensils, pans etc but could do with a few more large glasses for normal drinks as we only had two. It was nice to have a dishwasher which was frequently used! The heating was on regularly making the accommodation very cosy and warm. It felt very homely, and welcoming which was added to by Kate's provision of coffee cake and fresh eggs on arrival. Our son also loved the chickens and the secure grounds where he could stretch his legs. We would definitely stay here again.
Bear in mind that you have to sign Terms and Conditions and pay a £100 good housekeeping deposit. Kate came and checked the accommodation on our last night and gave us back the deposit that night.
The only minor cons:
- Signing the T and C's and giving a cash deposit initially made us feel a little uncomfortable in the accommodation and we were scared we were going to damage something (having a toddler this is a regular occurrence). However we soon chilled out and settled in.
- No bath (despite being a big bathroom). I'm sure a bath would be nice for walkers/skiers etc to have a soak afterwards as the shower is not overly powerful. Luckily our toddler doesn't mind a shower, but it seemed a bit of a waste of such a lovely big bathroom to not have a bath.
- No tea/coffee/oil/clothes washing powder provided. Bear in mind you need to take all that kind of stuff with you unless you want to go shopping straight away. It would have been good just to have a few provisions on arrival so we could have a cuppa and settle in. When we have normally stayed in places like this we normally get a few teabags, sachets of coffee, some washing machine tablets, milk and maybe some bread in a welcome pack. There is also often oil for cooking so you don't have to go and buy absolutely everything. We took some food with us and purchased some from the Tesco in Aviemore, but assumed there would be tea/coffee/oil etc already there so didn't take this with us.
- No WiFi. To be fair we didn't ask Kate about this and just assumed that they didn't have WiFi. I see from earlier posts that we could have used the house WiFi, but we couldn't use it within the staffroom itself.
- DVD player but no DVDs. We didn't take any with us as we assumed there would be some there. When we asked Kate lent us a few.
- Would be good to have a few board games.
Local things to do with a toddler:
- Strathspey steam railway was a HUGE hit with our son.
- Highland Wildlife Park was a great day out.
- Reindeer Centre. We didn't do the trek but should have, as it wasn't worth paying just to go into the paddocks. Our son still enjoyed exploring the paddocks.
- Cairngorm Mountain Funicular railway. Our son loved this, although the exhibition could do with some more interactive exhibits for younger visitors. Food in the cafe at the top of the mountain a bit overpriced and poor quality.
- Also Known As:
- The Old School Carrbridge, Scotland