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Rattray Head Eco-Hostel

Traveller (31)
Pool & Beach (5)
Room & Suite (1)


Former lighthouse shore station among huge dunes on an isolated 11 mile long beach. Come and relax in this gorgeous most easterly part of mainland Scotland, and enjoy one of its driest, sunniest, midge-free areas. The 1892 granite building has been renovated to form a modern, non-smoking, dog-friendly coastal retreat. The hostel has a self-catering kitchen, a double bedroom, and three bunkrooms with four beds in each.
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Property amenities
Free Internet
Free Parking
Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Good to know
2Room tips
Traveller rating
  • 21
  • 16
  • 4
  • 4
  • 1
Time of year
Traveller type
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  • English
A lovely, friendly, laid-back hostel, comfortable and clean. Rob and Val are very accommodating hosts. The location is remote and beautiful, saw some great bird life at the RSPB reserve nearby and the resident badger just outside the hostel!
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Came to photograph the Rattray head lighthouse which is surrounded by sand dunes you can get good shots from various vantage points on the dunes would recommend good sturdy foot ware there are also good coastal walks ideal for dogs although the beach as some debris
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Positives, the location is absolutely outstanding, we brought our wee dog, had a fantastic walk along the deserted beach and soaked up some of bonnie Scotland at her best. The owner very helpfully gave us a jump start (but "forgot" to ask if we were warm enough or had enjoyed
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I stayed at Rattray Head Eco Hostel for 5 nights and I am glad I did. Don't get me wrong it is a hostel with 4 bunk beds per room, shared facilities and self catering. If this is not for you then don't stay there. I came prepared. Prepared also for the bumpy ride along the pot
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It's taken me a while to gather my thoughts on reviewing this property. After reading all of the rave reviews I was so excited to stay here. Sadly, the stay was a disappointment. We checked out the location on google earth so we knew it was remote. That wasn't the issue.
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Response from Rob K, Owner at Rattray Head Eco-Hostel
Responded 29 Sep 2015
Hello Flatlander3, Thank you for taking the time to carefully review our hostel, even if it was a poor rating. We're sorry that your stay was disappointing. It's too late to remedy your stay, but hopefully I can address most of your concerns here. We are an eco-hostel and pride ourselves on keeping our carbon footprint to a minimum. We use free damaged pallets for our carbon-neutral heating system, and they are usually stacked neatly in the pallet store in the corner of the garden. When we have a delivery we also have some dropped off next to the boiler room to cut up and use right away, and unfortunately it does look untidy on those occasions, but usually it is only for a short time. I had to smile at your reference to a trailer sitting on top of pallets. This is our classic motorhome that is now retired as our summerhouse, and the pallets have been carefully placed around it as the decking - a lovely place to sit and relax with a cup of tea on a summer evening. Just another creative recycling project that you misunderstood, and no, nobody is living in it. Our green credentials also extended to constructing a wheelchair ramp to the hostel from recycled pallets, rather than the alternative of a concrete structure that uses energy-hungry cement. Perhaps not as attractive as a brick and mortar ramp, but a much greener solution. The hostel is adjacent to a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and a more extensive dune system, all wild countryside. Our grounds are deliberately not landscaped, they are simple grassy areas with some mown for neatness, but most left semi-wild for the wildlife and wild flowers. We even allow gorse bushes to grow in our linnet reserve so there is at least somewhere for the birds to shelter in this treeless coastal area. Warm summer days mean that we generally don't put the central heating on, and of course we can get caught out if there is a sudden cool evening just as you experienced. We always ask guests to knock at our door if they need anything, and if you had done so we would have switched on the central heating for that cool evening. Winter in the hostel isn't an issue at all as the heating is timed to be on to keep our guests cosy. There are certainly some carpet stains and ceiling stains that we do take care of during our regular maintenance, but no sooner than one is sorted, another needs addressing. It shouldn't really detract too much from your stay. We do housekeeping every day before the 4pm check-in, but of course other guests may have prepared dinner before new guests arrive, and it is unfortunate and unavoidable if the kitchen isn't clean at that time. We do rely on guests cleaning up as they go along, and we cannot be expected to hang around mothering untidy guests, annoying as they can be. The beach is a wild beach. There is no regular cleaning other than the tides, and whilst there is some visitor rubbish, most litter comes and goes with the tides. One day the beach is completely clean and flat, and another day it might be churned up with huge piles of seaweed, or 20 car tyres, or new broken fishing nets, or lots of plastic bottles. It's an ever-changing environment, and our regular litter collections while dogwalking just don't make much difference. We are actually pleased to offer wifi at all, and even have 3 wifi extenders throughout the building because the walls are so thick. Even a weak signal in such a remote place is useful for our guests. I hope you can accept that my explanations account for your disappointing perception of our hostel, and whilst there are some maintenance issues that we are continuously addressing, I don't think things are as bad as you perceived. Regards, Rob
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View from the window after a rainy afternoon
"Go to the Isle of Skye instead."
"See if you can get a room facing the lighthouse, much more scenic."
United KingdomScotlandPeterhead
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