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“Not the Waldorf, thankfully”

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Papa Westray Hostel
uk
Level Contributor
285 reviews
67 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 158 helpful votes
“Not the Waldorf, thankfully”
Reviewed 24 August 2014

A great little spot. HLf a mile from the airport, it is an easy walk or somebody will drop you off.There are kitchens to prepare food. A communal dining room, which turns into the pub after 9pm at weekends and a lovely sun room to doze off after a long walk. If you are booked in and arrive to find nobody here, don't worry. Drop your bags and go out and do your thing. Somebody will be a long at some point.

You do have the option of buying food at the shop next door and cooking, or having pre prepared meals delivered. We were told the delivered meals were really good. We cooked and bought a bottle of wine from the shop.

The atmosphere in the "pub" was lovely, with live music from local people.

There is an option of private rooms with en suite. This definitely isn't a hotel or B&B but it isn't a typical hostel either. It has a nice laid back vibe and if you are happy to go with the flow, a great place to stay.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank gisUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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50 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Dundee, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 August 2014

The only hostel on the island, Beltane House does not have to try in order to get custom, but the welcome could not be more friendly. The rooms are large and comfortable, and of a quality to rival many hotels. Two well equipped kitchens, a large diningroom which doubles as a cinema and bar for the community, and a comfortable conservatory/lounge to relax in make this an ideal base for exploring the island. Our host, Jennifer could not have been more helpful.
I would not hesitate to recommend this hostel to anyone.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank andyfinlay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada
1 review
Reviewed 15 August 2014

One of the highlights of our 6 weeks in Scotland! It is more than a place to lay your head. It is the centre for all activity that takes place on the island. The location is central and is right next to the community shop, where you can buy most anything you need. Jennifer made sure we were met at the airport, answered all our questions about the hostel's facilities and the island. Rooms are large, clean and the ensuite bathroom was great for us middle aged types. We were able to make our own meals which was great, and we often enjoyed them in the company of other travellers. Our short stay on Papay included a movie night, a pub night, a tour of North Hill with the RSPB warden, and a fabulous meal from the local caterer Mary, home cooked and delivered to the hostel Best meal of our entire trip! If you are going to Papa Westray, this is the place to stay.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank John D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leipzig, Germany
Level Contributor
28 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 August 2014

A fantastic room with a comfortable bed, a beautiful view and a great en suite bathroom. Two very well equipped kitchens. On a tea trolley you always find everything to make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and usually find some lovely homebaked goodies. The hostel is situated in the middle of the island - only a couple of minutes walk from the tiny airport. Near to the Knap of Howar and the little Bothy museum. You can also walk to both ends of the island - to the ferry in the south or to the cliffs in the north to watch puffins in the evening. The shop is next door. Jennifer and Tim who run the hostel are wonderful hosts. We felt so welcomed here - many thanks for the amazing short time home on Papay.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank seeblick_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kirkwall, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
65 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 July 2014

Forget your antiquated ideas of what a hostel is: Beltane House breaks all the rules. Comfortable en-suites in rooms 3 - 6 with actual closets to hang clothes and a luggage holder to get your bag off the floor make the room more like a guesthouse than a hostel. We were in number 6 which had two twin beds and a chair. There is plenty of storage space under the windows and a vanity and mirror. We both slept very well and the first morning I woke up at 4:15 to take my husband's guide dog for walkies and the sunrise was incredible; pink hues, oranges and a dash of yellow.

The bedrooms at this end of the house and nice and quiet; shut off from the rest of the building by fire doors we couldn't even hear the music and the Shindig hubub from the dining room on Friday night.

The shower cubicle had very good water pressure and was easy to use (just remember to pull the string to turn the shower on - common in lots of Scottish abodes), the toilet and sink area spotlessly clean. There was handwash at the sink and bodywash in the shower cubicle. Plenty of space on the deep window ledge for storing cosmetics and things.

There is a conservatory with comfortable chairs and sofas; set up for television watching or reading. A tall bookcase full of books about birds, local history and recent popular novels was helpful as we could look up some of the wild flowers we came across.

There are two kitchens, both clean and well stocked with all the pots, pans, plates, cutlery,knives, bottle openers one could need to create a family meal. The island shop is very well stocked with fresh and frozen food, we even saw fresh figs for sale. It is easy to reach as it is hooked onto the hostel. They have everything a self-caterer could desire: local beer (Try Corncrake and Orkney Blast), wine, soda, nappies, cheese, local fresh bread, rolls and crackers, my husband even found a salad dressing we hadn't seen in town which he bought to take home and try. Their meat comes from Orkney butchers so you know it is good and the prices were very reasonable. We found that items in the shop were no more expensive than on Mainland. The shop staff were nice girls who were very helpful at finding items. For instance the hostel actually supplies towels but I didn't pack face cloths so we purchased brand new dusters and used those; a perfect inexpensive solution.

The dining room had good light and a wonderful selection of family games to play such as Trouble, Scrabble, etc. There is a small bar which I believe is open on Saturday evenings generally but also for special events such as Papay Fun Weekend. Nice wooden tables and chairs made it a bright, positive place to share a meal, have a chat, or play a game.

The building itself is long and low and fits the Orkney tradition, we were fortunate enough to have a friend who had been born in the building and conveyed some of the history of Papa Westray and the building (his kitchen was were the shop is now) so that made it even more special.

The hostel has a Manager, Jennifer, who is efficient, organized, practical, interesting and nice but not smarmy. She was wonderful at answering all my questions and drove us to the pier to catch our boat. Jennifer organized a dog rug for our dog, is a wonderful baker (there are homebakes on the tea trolley with an honesty box and they are highly recommended. We suggest you purchase a few!) and she knows all the intricate local dances! She could teach a lot of expensive, fancy hotels about excellent customer service skills.

Four couples had planned to meet up for the Papay Fun Weekend and it was a blast. All the activities were close to the hostel so the folks who aren't as mobile anymore could access everything fairly easily. We did long walks, explored the history of the island, enjoyed the skyscapes and drank beer in the sunshine. My husband is having a big operation this week and it was our last fling before hospital, it was the most relaxed I had been in months.

The island folk really pull together to make the Papay Fun Weekend an amazing time. I am only sorry that we stayed only two nights out of the three.

I already want to go back some weekend and do more walking. We will stay at Beltane House again. What a great little place! Put to rest my preconception of a hostel as having somewhat iffy hygiene, poorly organized and smelling of dirty socks and filled with pretentious hippies. Wrong! A great family place, it has family rooms so you can bring the children on a holiday and not break the bank. Highly recommended.

Everything on Papay is fairly easy to get to, if you don't have too much luggage you can walk from the airport right down to the hostel. However, the pier is a bit farther and in either case you might want to pre-arrange a ride to Beltane House with Jennifer so your gear doesn't get soaked on the off-chance that it is raining.

There is wi-fi available but it works best in the North end of the building close to the laundry room and pay phone. Wi-fi doesn't easily get through the thick walls to the other end and there is somewhat spotty reception in the conservatory next to the TV. However, I found it a delight to be offline all weekend.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SartreLives
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 July 2014

I spent two nights here, and only wish I had planned for longer - for such a small island, there is certainly enough you can see and do!

I was met by Morag at the pier, and she brought me and luggage to the hostel where I was given a double room sharing with another girl. For just a few pounds you can get a ride anywhere on the island, though it is small enough to walk easily (except for luggage!) The room was bright and airy, even had a skylight! The bed was extremely comfortable, and perfect to collapse into after a long day of exploring. There are two kitchens, the bigger one was the one I used, and it had everything needed to cook a meal. The dining room was also bright and airy, with a door opening to the outside to bring in the lovely fresh air, and I loved the sun room, which was perfect for sitting and reading. The community shop next door is packed full; I only wished I could've purchased more! And to top it all off, goodies were available in the hallway on the honor system - and I discovered how delicious malteser tiffins are! Now if only Maltesers were available here in the US, I'd be asking for the recipe.

I highly recommend taking the trip out to Papay and make a point to spend at least a few nights here at the hostel; you will regret it if you stay fewer than two!

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank iwearredsocks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Inverness-shire
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 May 2014

I wrote a review in June 2013 about Beltane Hostel, Papay, but having just visited again with my teenage daughter feel it deserves further praise!
Everything was every bit as good as my last stay, and the rooms have had a fresh coat of paint and makeover, making it even more attractive.
As ever, Jennifer was helpful, welcoming and friendly, as were all the other islanders. The weather was fine, and although rain threatened, it came to nothing. When booking send an e-mail and you will soon receive a reply!
Travel was simple; this time we took the Pentland Ferry and Loganair flight to Papay. Once arranged via a couple of simple phone calls, no hitches at all.
Papay is beautiful, and the hostel is a comfortable base from which to explore, where you can relax at the end of a long day in the fresh air.
I'll be back soon!

Room Tip: I like the rooms at the old "guest house" end (rooms 3-6) as I do not require a family roo...
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Catherine C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Papa Westray Hostel

Property: Papa Westray Hostel
Address: Beltane House, Scotland
Region: United Kingdom > Scotland > Orkney Islands > Papa Westray
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Speciality Lodging in Papa Westray
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Papa Westray Hostel 3*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Independent island hostel with 6 quality en-suite rooms including single, twin, double, family/dorm rooms and well equipped kitchens, comfortable social areas and free wi-fi. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Papa Westray Hostel Orkney Islands

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