Youth hostels will start to reopen from tomorrow as their charity operator begins to welcome back visitors after the most challenging year in its history.
Hostelling Scotland, which is marking its 90th anniversary this year, is starting a phased opening of its network following the latest easing of lockdown restrictions.
Ahead the bank holiday weekend, 19 youth hostels across Scotland, including a number in the Highlands and Islands, will open to guests on a private room only basis.
Another 12 will be available on RentaHostel for exclusive private hire and are seen as ideal as a base for staycations and people exploring the outdoors in some of the most scenic parts of the country.
The charity says its teams are looking forward to welcoming back adventure seeking hostellers after the network had to close in March 2020 when coronavirus struck.
Margo Paterson, Hostelling Scotland’s CEO, said: “We are delighted to be re-opening our youth and affiliate hostel network after a very tough year.
“If you love to travel, escape the everyday and find your adventure then give Hostelling a try; with a warm welcome and a comfy bed, you can discover the best of Scotland with us.
“As we reflect on our most challenging year since 1931 and celebrate being 90 years young, we are determined that 2021 will be a year of positivity and hope, celebrating our hostelling family’s past, present and future.”
Youth Hostels providing private rooms include Aviemore, Broadford, Cairngorm Lodge, Gairloch Sands, Glen Nevis, Glencoe, Inverness, Loch Ossian, Oban, Port Charlotte Islay, Portree, Torridon and Ullapool.
Hostels available for RentaHostel include Aberdeen, Achmelvich Beach, Braemar, Durness Smoo, Glen Affric, Glenbrittle, Kirkwall, Lochranza, Ratagan and Tobermory.
Ms Paterson said hostels in the Highlands and Islands are among the most in demand, with those at Glen Nevis and Portree among the ‘hotspot’ destinations.
‘This year has been unprecedented’
“We are finding our rural hostels are particularly popular. They are excited to get open, it’s been a long time coming. There is certainly good demand for this weekend and for the summer.
“We’ve had challenges before but this last year has been unprecedented, to have such a blanket close down.
“So we are delighted to be ready to welcome back guests. It will be good to see the hostels operational again.
“We are still under some restrictions just now, but hopefully the day when hostelling in its true sense comes back is not too far away.”
The charity operates more than 60 youth and affiliate hostels in Scotland and welcomed 346,989 overnight guests in 2019-2020.
Nearly half – around 48% – are from overseas, with 36% from Europe.
In the last five years, £7.2 million has been invested in renovation and refurbishment projects across the network.
There are also now 14 dog-friendly ‘WoofHostels’.