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“Unique but wonderful stay”

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Rattray Head Eco-Hostel
Reviewed 26 February 2012

We spent 2 days here in the middle of February and had such a good time that we are already considering going back. We arrived on a dark and very windy night and we're slightly concerned about where the hell we were but we were treated to a very warm welcome and within an hour had a warm fire and comfy seats to relax into. The next day we enjoyed about 2 miles of the 11 miles of completely deserted beach which was a delight for our somewhat city bound dog ( and us as well). This freedom actually made the entire trip worthwhile. We also explored some of the local area and found there would be plenty of things to do for both dog and non dog owners, if you were to inexplicably get bored of the beach!!!

Overall the hostel is warm, clean and comfortable. To agree with some other reviewers the road to the hostel is also fairly potholed but given the location is would unreasonable to expect a fully paved road right up to the beach - it doesn't take long to get along and the trip is more than worth it.

Rob was incredibly helpful and friendly, popping into give us weather updates and check we were ok, but all done very unobtrusively. He also suggested places we could go which would be weather and dog appropriate.

Just a note on the weather - its Scotland, be prepared for all eventualities!! We got arctic winds but it almost made it all the more enjoyable being holed up in front of the fire. The draft proofing on the building must be immense!!

All in all we loved it and were gutted to be coming even though we were only there for 2 days! Bring on more school holidays.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank Jen G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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19 - 25 of 46 reviews

Reviewed 28 January 2012

I arrived late and wet on a motorbike and in the dark, and had to leave next morning in the sunrise for an early job interview, but the whole experience was perfect. January, North-East Scotland - and the only guest brave enough to venture here at this time of year, but the radiators were warm enough to dry my leathers and myself, and the hostel (4-bed dorm) was affordable, well-stocked and more than adequate.
The track on approach was very wet, with big puddles: I decided to adopt an 'off-roading' approach and powered through... I was a bit more wary in the morning as I was breaking the ice on the puddles, and the engine was not fully warm! But what a glorious morning in a perfect place, with the sun rising behind me lighting the countryside ahead - whatever the day might bring didn't matter after such a perfect start.
I hope to visit again soon,,,

Oh, and I got the job :-)

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled solo
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2  Thank Lulach_the_Simple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 December 2011

If you love good scenery with your relaxed getaway, Rattray Head does both well. I stayed in the hostel for 5 days and wished I'd scheduled more time there, even if it was winter! Just 5 minute's walk from 11 miles of secluded beach with plenty to explore if you're a nature lover.

The owner, Rob, was friendly, flexible and a great host. Also does not stinge when it comes to guest comfort and often anticipated what they might need. Although other travellers stayed in the hostel during my time there he made sure to put us in different rooms since there was space available.

The building the hostel is located in is over a century old but is well-kept and clean. Indeed, it was more clean and comfortable than some modern hostels I'd stayed in and I did not feel uncomfortable at any point during my stay there. Would visit again if I'm in Scotland for the summer!

Room Tip: See if you can get a room facing the lighthouse, much more scenic.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled solo
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2  Thank Eseru
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 October 2011

Hope your car has a good suspension. To reach the accomadation you have to travel along a farm track with many many potholes for about 1 mile.

When I arrived I was greeted with a friendly welcome by the owner Rob and his 2 dogs. Rob took me into the main building the old lighthouse keeper cottages, built in 1892. As I enterered the building things did not look that great. The stairwell up had bits of old plaster paint on the floor and just looked a bit grubby. It got worse as I entered the landing. Walls badly in need of a lick of paint, as did the skirting boards and some of the doors. This is obviously a very old building and to some this may be part of the character of the building. Some new hostel buildings are just to clinical.

On entering the first of the common rest areas there is a lovely big stain on the floor where someone has spilt perhaps a cup of coffee. This area has a sink, cooker, fridge fridge freezer, 4 comfy chairs as well as a table with 6 chairs around the table which have seen better days. There was also an old microwave but this did not work. A TV with video and about 40 VHS video tapes as well as a radio, with some games and books completed the room. The room is heated by central heating as well as a wood burning stove. The window frames, again original looked like they had been stripped back and were ready to be painted.

Rob has clearly done a lot of work in the hostel and I believe that the painting could be in hand as some other areas were fine. The place just looked a bit grubby and I think the building is very much work in progress. To be honest the painting is just a minor detail and did not concern me greatly, otheres may have different ideas

Bathrooms were clean and and had new sinks and taps fitted as well as a decent shower

On the first floor were 3 bedrooms each with 2 bunk beds, (4 beds in total) and a room with a large double bed. Rooms were central heated and very warm. Bedding is supplied and is warm. The bed was vey comfortable and I had several good nights sleep

In addition there is also another communal area which is much better than the first one. It looked cleaner and had better furniture as well as a much larger TV but with no video but plenty of video tapes. There was no aerial in either room so no TV picture

The lighthouse is about 200 metres away through the sand dunes. The beach here is fabulous and runs for about 10 miles. The beach was deserted most of the time, I think I saw about 4 people in 2 days on the beach. Plenty of birds and even some seals near the shore

Rob was very friendly during my stay but not intrusive and overall I would recommend this hostel. With a lick of paint here and there and the stunning location this could be a truly fantastic hostel

Did not see the famous Rattray elephants, ask Rob

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled solo
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2  Thank smc4761
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 October 2011

If you are looking for a holiday that embraces nature, quirky accommodation and outstanding natural beauty, where kids and dogs are welcome, this is for you.
We had a family room for a week in August. There are two of these downstairs in the old lighthouse keepers house. Both rooms have their own bathroom. The accommodation is basic as it's a hostel, but its clean and fun as it's quirky, you can see the lighthouse from the back windows and are on the dunes.
The first day we went immediately to the sea, 5 minutes and saw 4 seals, this continued, every time. The children 11and 7 couldn't believe their luck, we saw a seal pup on the beach and an adult seal on the lighthouse platform, who had missed the tide.
The dunes were covered with wild pansies, and at night we sat there watching the rabbits, diving into burrows before nightfall.
There are loads of second world war, bunkers to explore, within minutes.
We saw frogs and toads, bats circle the hostel at night, we also saw foxes and loads of birds of prey, including sparrow hawks that we watched from the garden diving for their supper.
The children swan and learned to surf, we bought a dingy it was fabulous!
Rob the owner, was there any time we needed him, a lovely chap, extremely knowledgeable about the area and happy to help in any way. As soon as he realised that our children loved wildlife, he can over anytime he had something to share.
Once to tell us that the seals were howling on the beach, so we took a glass of wine and sat outside to listen to them, sitting at the picnic table, another time it was to see the bats.
This sounds like there was nothing else but the beach, but there was so much else.
Go to Gardenstown and pick buckets of sea washed glass off the beach, catch fish, shrimps and hermit crabs.
On our way back ( 11 hour drive ) we asked our children, how did it compare to all our holidays in Greece etc, they were categoric this one was the best ever!

Dogs are allowed on all beaches, only one asked you to keep to one side, and that was the best side!

The road to the hostel is wild and as some huge potholes, but Rob drives a tiny car, so it is manageable!

There is a huge Tesco within a few miles, so even though you are in the wilds, there is somewhere to get supplies. Though come with the basics and anything special, no M&S or Waitrose.

No where to eat out really but a good chippy not too far away, so bring your dine in for £10.00 with you and enjoy it with the seals howling in the distance and dine outside by the light of your own lighthouse!

We'll be back as soon as we can!

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank Charlie N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 August 2011

The hostel/B&B is in a very cool location, surrounded by the coastal nature! Very friendly place for a weekend with great walking on the beautiful beach with the lighthouse in the middle of the sea (amazing on the night!) !...just at half hour from Aberdeen!

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank GorgoVetBart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2011

Stayed here one night to visit the nearby RSPB site. Excellent hostel accomodation in a stunning beach location. The Bird watching is excellent too. Hostel was warm and cosy and the owners was very welcoming and helpful.

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled on business
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1  Thank StapeStrider
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Rattray Head Eco-Hostel

Address: Lighthouse Cottages | Rattray, Peterhead AB42 3HA, Scotland
Region: United Kingdom > Scotland > Aberdeenshire > Peterhead
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Speciality Lodging in Peterhead
Price Range: £12 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
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. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Rattray Head Eco-Hostel Peterhead, Scotland

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