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Hotels: Glasgow, Aberdeen and Shetland

We are planning to spend about 3 weeks in Scotland in May 2021, 2 weeks in Glasgow and I week up in Aberdeen and Shetland. Looking for accomodations that are reasonably priced. Wondering about the Premier Inn near Buchannan Galleries. Thanks for your info

Posted by
18923 posts

I stayed in that PI last year and thought it was perfectly fine. If you haven't stayed in a PI before: They are what I call "business hotels". They are clean and very well priced for their locations but short on charm, and I wouldn't expect the same sort of front-desk services you'd have at a place like a Hilton. But the infrastructure is there--air conditioning (very unlikely to be needed in May), elevators, Wi-Fi, plumbing, hot water, etc. There isn't a lot of hanging space for clothes, and in my experience there will be 6 hangers provided. I don't eat hotel breakfasts if I can avoid paying for them, so I cannot comment on the food.

PI has recently added a third category of bookings. Under normal circumstances (which these manifestly are not) all the rates tend to creep up as you get closer to the arrival date. In your shoes I'd book the room now at the one of the refundable rates (I don't remember the distinguishing details) and keep watching to see whether it drops for some reason or you stumble on a better deal.

Be careful in submitting your booking. Although I believe it looked OK the last time I checked, for many months last year the PI website changed the arrival date as you progressed through the reservation process. The problem went on and on and on; it has made me very cautious about using that website (which is pretty poor for such a large company). The company was not very responsive either online or by phone on that issue or to answer questions, but I've been very happy with the hotel stays themselves. When there's a possibility of needing a/c and you are a party of at least 2, I think it's hard to beat Premier Inn.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks for your response! Last time we stayed at the Hilton’s during our tour and prior but this time we’ll be on our own ....Any other suggestions would be great! Upstate NY 🙂

Posted by
3091 posts

I stayed at the Premier Inn , Buchanan St ( Actually the location is Niles Street ) a few years ago . Typical of the brand , the rooms are spotless , pleasant and very comfortable . The windows do not open , and the room is climate controlled . You pick the temperature and the system will deliver either AC or heat as necessary . Perfect location !

Posted by
561 posts

About 2 years ago we stayed at the Grasshoppers Hotel right by the Central Train Station. We found it very convenient, pleasant rooms (not fancy, but plenty comfortable) with a great breakfast. The staff were very accommodating.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks for the info...…...will be looking at Grasshoppers and Premier inn near Buchannan St. So excited to begin booking...…….hopefully in the next month!

Posted by
216 posts

Hey There,

I actually found some adorable Airbnb's in Scotland. I love the fact you can see the reviews and also the cancellation policy is in bold print. I think it gives you more of a real experience.

Posted by
5 posts

Hello,
We’ll look at the Airbnb’s Do you think the reviews were pretty accurate? Any pointers in finding good ones? We’ve never used airbnb. Thanks!

Posted by
18923 posts

Be sure you dig into the listings you're most interested in to find out about the fees. No sense falling in love with a place and then finding out there's a 200-euro cleaning fee that pushes it out of your price range.

Some folks have mentioned finding the same apartments listed on one or more other websites, at a lower cost. I haven't gotten serious enough about Airbnb to encounter that. I think the advice is to Google a key phrase from the description and see what pops up.

I know that booking.com includes some apartment listings (not all with extra fees). I have occasionally ended up in such places when they were cheaper than hotels for a last-minute booking. That has only occurred in southern Europe, though.

Posted by
6543 posts

I have stayed at both the Premier Inn at Buchanan Galleries and at Grasshoppers. The Premier inn is fine, comfortable but sort of soulless, while Grasshoppers is charming (and has a small library and afternoon cakes if you want to relax).

If I were just coming in a night or two, it would depend which train station I needed to be close to, but if I were staying two weeks I would pick grasshoppers as more homy.

I personally am annoyed right now with AirBnB, which cancelled on us Thursday a couple of weeks ago for a Sunday arrival with the infamous “water leak” story — I lost 21 bucks in the exchange rate between when I booked and when they refunded me. In other words, it cost me $21 to waste my time booking a place that cancelled on me, only to leave me with 36 hours to find somewhere for a six-week stay. Of course that is not everyone’s story, but it happens enough with them to make me wary (this was in France, not the UK for what it’s worth). . .

Posted by
18923 posts

I think Grasshoppers is usually quite a bit more expensive than the Premier Inn Buchanan Galleries; the website refers to the hotel as a "luxury" property, a term I don't think I've seen applied to any Premier Inn. Grasshoppers has only 30 rooms, so I would expect a less institutional experience there. Unfortunately, I don't think Grasshoppers is air conditioned. That wouldn't frequently be a problem, but if you're there when it is...

Posted by
9 posts

You don’t say how long you’re staying in Shetland or what you want to see there. If you haven’t been before, keep in mind it is much bigger than maps lead you to believe. My wife and I have stayed in four different self-catering accommodations and one hotel. My highest recommendation for a wonderful experience is Eshaness Lighthouse. We stayed four nights on our first visit to Shetland and loved it. One night had a howling storm off the Atlantic with winds well over 60 mph and we could barely hear it through the two foot thick walls. The main caveat with Eshaness is it is almost an hour drive from Lerwick. That didn’t bother us, we just adjusted our schedule accordingly.

My second recommendation is Voortrekker. In many ways this is much nicer then Eshaness. Eshaness is great for the dramatic Atlantic Ocean at your doorstep and staying in a lighthouse. Voortrekker is also about the view, but in a much better location for sightseeing on mainland Shetland. Plus the owners, Niki and Piet, are wonderful people. Niki arranged our rental car for our second visit to Shetland and saved us a ton of money. The accommodation is new and very comfortable.

We stayed in a wonderful croft house in Aith I found on Airbnb. The location is very peaceful and quiet. This is owned by another very nice couple. Nice people are a common theme in Shetland. You would be hard pressed to find a nicer community anywhere.

The only bad experience we ever had through Airbnb was on Unst. I’ll leave it at that. We ended up instead at the Baltasound Hotel. It’s not the fanciest place but we would happily stay there again. It’s a good location from which to explore Unst, especially Hermaness Nature Reserve. Once you see Muckle Flugga, you know you can’t go farther north in the UK.

If you go to Unst (you really should), stop by Victoria’s Tearoom for a real treat. On mainland, Da Cake Fridge is the most dangerous place anywhere in Shetland. It’s a roadside refrigerator a woman restocks every morning with delicious baked goods. You take what you want, leave your money and off you go. Your diet doesn’t stand a chance.

Posted by
216 posts

My experience with Airbnb has always been positive except 1 night stay in Athens Greece. I sent my concerns to Airbnb with pictures and the host agreed to refund my money that same night. I did have to find another place to stay which was nerve racking the same night but we have stayed in some of the best places.

I typically never stay in a place that does not have at leave 150 or more reviews. I really like the Airbnb Plus and also use the Super Host option in the filters. I have never seen cleaning fee's as high as 200 Euro a night. However, I am looking at places that are typically 1 bedroom. My only downfall with places I have stayed is the air dried towels... I HATE this but found in all the countries I have been to and used Airbnb (minus the US) have air dried leaving the material scratchy. The cancellation policy is cut and dry and in the description so you know exactly what you are walking into. I did lose some money over COVID for my Scotland Airbnb's but at the same breath I did not get my deposits back for the private B&B's that I scheduled as well. It really boils down to what type of traveler you are and what are the expectations! Ive even rented a boat at the marina in Miami Florida and spend a night. It was a fun little getaway.

Posted by
6543 posts

You’re right, acraven, Grasshoppers’ website does refer to itself as a luxury property but it doesn’t feel like a luxury property at all, just a small charming hotel, and I remember the price being quite comparable to Premier Inn, if not actually less for the nights I stayed there.

I admit on that trip to being really annoyed with Premier Inn when I stayed there (on my last night in Glasgow) — got there early evening having taken the West Highland line from Glenfinnan but had to wait forever for my room — then got up there to find it still had the prior occupant’s towels hanging behind the door, etc. (Which of course I didn’t discover until I was in my pj’s etc). The only time I have ever had any kind of problem at a PI, and bless the girl at the “desk” who tried to help me, but on that trip for the same money, Grasshoppers was a much better experience.