Have you stayed: At new Glen Nevis Youth Hostel?
I have a confession to make. While I do like the concept of a hostel, and I used to stay in them when I was younger, I have never been that comfortable with group sleeping. I am a light sleeper at best and, at worst, a non-sleeper. So, if there is a room with lots of people or even just a room with a few friends and one is a snorer, or a tooth grinder, that means I won’t get very much sleep at all.
There, I’ve said it. And I doubt I am unusual.
Thankfully, the hostelling organisations and hostel owners of the 21st century are doing their best to make changes. At many newer hostels, and those that have been revamped, there are now smaller rooms that can be booked for private use. Some have beds for couples who like a bit of privacy and others are ideal for families or small groups. Some even have ensuite facilities.
And so now I am making a return to the world of hostelling. I am seeking out hostels that offer the option to book a private room.
I like hostels for many other reasons, including:
- Cheaper rates for a bed (compared to a hotel or B&B)
- Meet like-minded outdoorsy people
- Group trips with friends
- Cheaper meals thanks to self-catering kitchens
- A toilet and a shower (after spending a few nights without in a campervan)
- Warmth in winter.
- Great locations close to the mountains.
A new favourite Scottish hostel: Glen Nevis Youth Hostel
I recently stayed at the revamped Glen Nevis Youth Hostel, near Fort William. Not until you visit can you truly appreciate what Hostelling Scotland has created.
It was quite dark when Gordie and I arrived and we actually drove right past the Glen Nevis Hostel. “Was that it?” I asked, looking back over my shoulder.
“It can’t be,” said Gordie. “It looks too smart; like a hotel.”
“But I think it’s in the right place. That is where the hostel used to be. I can’t see any other buildings that might be a hostel.”
We did a u-turn and there was theGlen Nevis Youth Hostel sign. The hostel had clearly been treated to something of a mega make-over.
The outside of the building is beautifully clad in wood, with big windows to the front. This turned out to be the bar/dining area, which offers lovely views of the nearby mountains.
A re-tarmacked car park at the back of the building had just one space left (the hostel was busy even in early November) and signs pointed us to a wooden ramp and around to a front decking area. This will be particularly lovely in summer time.
We also took a peek through another window to see a large, modern kitchen.
The reception area looks more like the reception area of a hotel and we spotted several couples already enjoying beer and wine sat on comfortable sofas in front of a wood-burning stove.
At other tables, there were people working away at laptops, while still more were huddled in groups chatting or flicking through social media posts on their smartphones. A few more were eating a late meal (we had previously taken advantage of a pub in Fort William for our meal).
Everything looked fresh, modern and rather, well, non-hostel!
We were checked in by a friendly and informative staff member and shown the way to our room, including two bunk-beds (four beds) and ensuite shower room. The door to the room was opened by a card (again like a hotel).
We took a look around the kitchen (left milk and tomorrow’s lunch in the large modern fridges) and checked out the laundry and drying room. Again, all brilliantly modern.
We were asked if we wanted a cooked breakfast? Or a Continental breakfast? Or maybe we had our own with us?
The cooked breakfast turned out to be a good choice. It was really nicely cooked and the perfect amount to see us off for a day of walking two Munros in the nearby Mamores range, Stob Ban (3277ft) and Mullach nan Coirean (3080ft).
Also read: My husband: The Munro banker.
Other things to note about Glen Nevis Youth Hostel:
- This year marks the hostel’s 80th birthday and it’s estimated that more than 1.3 million guests have stayed over that time.
- The hostel has been awarded five-star VisitScotland accreditation.
- The hostel has seven twin bedded rooms, a triple, seven quads and four eight bedded rooms.
- There is secure bike storage.
- Local craft beers and wines for sale.
- Free Wi-Fi is available for guests.