Hostels in the Cairngorms vary from, small, independent, privately owned hostels to larger lodges and bunkhouses. They do, by their very nature, vary in how they operate. The FAQ's below try to provide stock answers for many of the frequently asked questions. However, it is often the case that it is best to contact the hostel of interest directly with any specific query. Hostel owners and managers will always try, within reason, to accommodate guests' needs.
Q. Is a deposit required?
A. Most hostels expect a deposit to be made to confirm a booking although it is often possible to make and hold a tentative booking for a few days to allow the guest to finalise overall plans.
Q. Can payment be made by credit card?
A. Most hostels do take credit cards. Some that do may impose a small charge to offset the admin cost of accepting cards. Those who do not accept credit cards will always honour a booking whilst awaiting payment by cheque to arrive.
Q. Can I change my booking once made?
A. Contact the hostel as soon as you know of a change in circumstance. They will endeavour to find alternative dates or rooming arrangements if required. The closer to the arrival date, the more difficult it will be to accommodate a change and the guest may lose his or her deposit if cancellation leads to a loss of business.
Q. Can I make my booking over the internet?
A. All member hostels have an email address and most have a website complete with pro forma enquiry and/or booking facilities. Some have online booking facilities also. The hostel pages will tell you if members have their own website. You can also email any individual hostel or all hostels from this site using this link.
Q Will there always be someone at the hostel to greet me?
A. Arrangements vary from hostel to hostel, larger ones may be manned for the greater part of the day whilst smaller hostels may have the owner, or an employee, only in the morning or early evening. Some hostels may be left unlocked awaiting your arrival. Unless the hostel's website or literature sets out specific arrival times, it is best to ask when making the booking.
Q. Do hostels accommodate late arrivals?
A. Some hostels have owners or employees who live on site and can be very flexible, others may need to make arrangements. If your arrival is going to be delayed please contact the hostel as soon as possbile, even whilst you are travelling, to let them know you will be late. Remember, if you arrive late, other guests may be sleeping and this is particularly difficult in the case of some very small hostels.
Q. Do hostels provide guest parking facilities?
A. This varies from hostel to hostel so please ask. In general, given that our hostels are located either in rural areas or in low density towns or villages then parking is not usually an issue.
Q. Do hostels provide secure storage for cycles?
A. Again this varies from hostel to hostel and if not clear on the hostel's web site or literature then please ask beforehand.
Q. Do hostels provide single sex dorms?
A. Hostels tend to have a variety of room sizes with the majority being four beds or greater. Owners will endeavour to avoid male and female guests from having to share a room but cannot guarantee it. If this is important, please discuss this upon booking as a supplement may be required to guarantee a place in a single sex dormitory.
Q. What is included in the price of accommodation?
A. Your beds, cooking and dining facilities, a common room area, toilet and washing facilities. Many hostels include bed linen, towels, gas and electricity etc within the accommodation charge. Check the hostels web site/literature in the first instance and if in doubt enquire beforehand.
Q. Does the hostel cater for large parties?
A. Most hostels provide large pots, pans etc. to allow large groups to eat together. Remember, you may be sharing with other smaller or single parties who will also need to cook and eat at the same time. Look out for the Groups Welcome logo.
Q. Can we stay in the hostel during the day?
A. Most hostels are open all day to allow parties to stay indoors in inclement weather. Remember that the hostel staff may need you to vacate your room for a period of time to allow cleaning to be carried out.
Q. Can we bring our dog into the hostel?
A. Some of Cairngorms Hostels allow dogs into hostels. Please enquire upon booking if this aspect is not made clear in the hostel literature or website.
Q. What time do we need to depart on our final day?
A. Most hotels expect guests to have left by mid morning to allow cleaning and preparation for other incoming groups or individuals. Check with the hostel beforehand, especially if you want to extend your departure as this may be possible.
Q. Do we need to clean the hostel before departing?
A. Hostel owners expect guests to leave the hostel in a reasonable condition. Make sure you wash, dry and put away all your items in the kitchen as well as tidying up for the next guests. If guests are expected to clean the hostel this will be advised to them upon booking.
Q. What happens if I am not satisfied with any aspect of the hostel or service?
A. Alert the hostel owner or manager of your concerns as soon as possible, preferably during your stay, as this will allow the opportunity to resolve the issue immediately. Owners depend on the feedback of guests to improve the service they provide.
If any issue cannot be resolved then contact Cairngorms Hostels administration via email. The issue may be passed onto either Scottish Independent Hostels (if the hostel is a member) or VisitScotland.
For information on how to get to the Cairngorms National Park, click here.