Scotland has a wonderful range of accommodation available to choose from. There is everything from 5 star luxury hotels to cosy traditional cottages. I, though, can often be found looking for unusual places to stay in Scotland. I like to look for something quirky and unique, something with the wow factor, something you just can't find anywhere else. Sometimes it will seem relatively normal and it will be the outstanding location that makes the property stand out, being on the edge of a white sand beach or tucked away in a picturesque forest, sometimes it will have facilities and amenities that I've never experienced before, a handmade wood-fired hot tub or a rustic honesty shop with fresh food from the farm, sometimes it will be so pretty that I just can't bring myself to turn it down. I do enjoy being pampered but I'm just as happy to challenge myself without the basics if it means I get the opportunity to have a digital detox in a breathtaking location. Accommodation in Scotland varies greatly so wherever you fancy staying and however you fancy doing it you'll probably find what you're looking for here in Scotland. Just check out these bonnie wee places.
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Four Sister Boatel, Edinburgh
Moored in the Lochin Basin in Edinburgh Quay, the Four Sister Boatel, a 4 star luxurious boat is certainly a unique place to stay. There is a full kitchen, 2 cabin bedrooms, a kids bunk room, a flat screen TV, free WiFi and a beautiful shower room. It’s a pretty special way to experience ‘city glamping’ and as you lay in bed, bobbing gently, you’ll feel a million miles away from the centre of Edinburgh. With a lovely little sun terrace to enjoy your breakfast as you watch the locals begin their day, or with a glass of wine in the evening after a delicious meals in one of the many nearby restaurants a stay here is a quirky alternative to a city hotel. To check prices and availability click here
Skye Eco Bells, Isle of Skye
The Eco Skye Bells, in Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye, are three cosy little cabins surrounded by stunning mountain views and more wildlife than you could shake a stick at (please don’t do that!). With no WiFi or 4g reception, it’s a real opportunity to detox and enjoy the outstanding surroundings. There is a solar-powered USB socket to charge your phone, but other than that you’ll be left in peace without buzzing and ringing which is often utter bliss. The hosts have thought of everything in these delightful little cabins, there is an ample supply of cushions and blankets, a wood-burning stove with a bucket of firewood, a double bed and a single bed and little lanterns to provide light. This site is extremely eco-friendly with a compost toilet and greenhouse shower. For prices, availability and to book click here
Woodland Cabins, Glencoe
Another way to get away from it all is to stay in these romantic luxury wooden cabins at the foot of Glencoe. They are tucked away in a native bluebell wood on the shore of Loch Linnhe and there are only four so it feels secluded and peaceful. Each cabin has original beams, a wood-burning stove and huge windows so you can enjoy the beautiful view. Built by the owner’s dad in 1972 they were fully renovated in 2017 and now offer free wifi, a TV and a fully equipped kitchen including a dishwasher. There is a double room and a twin room in each. These cabins are wonderful and are surrounded by forest trails and loch sidewalks, perfect for a romantic break away. For prices, availability and to book click here.
Nisbet's Tower, Eyemouth
Nisbet's Tower is a renovated 18th-century' doocot' in the small town of Eyemouth in the Scottish Borders. Doocots were used to house nesting pigeons, beginning in the 12th century, they were more commonly shaped like a beehive and you might spot some in fields as you travel around Scotland. This unusual tower sleeps four people with a king-sized bed in the bedroom on the ground floor, along with a shower room, and a sofa bed in the open living space upstairs. You'll also find the kitchen and dining space with Smart TV. Perched on top of a small hill the tower has amazing views over the harbour. Nisbet's Tower is named after John Nisbet, a local smuggler who built the nearby Gunsgreen House, which is now a museum. The house was built to include lots of secret hiding places to hide smuggled goods and contains the world's only 'tea chute' where smugglers hid their tea from prying eyes. Kids love the Smugglers Trail and there are challenges on offer in the museum where they can dress up and play to their heart's content. Above the museum, there is also another apartment, called Merchant's House, which sleeps, 11 people. For prices, availability and to book click here.
Beach Houses with Hot Tubs, Glencoe
These two architect-designed detached houses sit on the banks of Loch Linnhe, just a short drive from the above Woodland Cabins. They really are the ultimate in luxury with a private terrace both downstairs and upstairs so you can enjoy a drink or two or have your breakfast while enjoying the fantastic view over the water. One house has four bedrooms sleeping nine people with 5 bathrooms, the other sleeps seven people in three bedrooms. Then, of course, you have the hot tub, on the bottom deck with those amazing views, utter bliss! Underfloor heating throughout will keep your tootsies cosy and there is a flat-screen TV and wifi too. The owners of the lodges also own and run the Holly Tree Hotel which is only two minutes away, where you get free access to the beautiful indoor heated pool, hot tub spa and sauna. For prices, availability and to book click here.
Aberdeen Lighthouse Cottages, Aberdeen
If you are looking for unusual places to stay in Scotland how about staying in a lighthouse? These original lighthouse cottages were built in 1833 and sit on the edge of some pretty dramatic coastline in northeast Scotland. The compound was designed by the famous Robert Stevenson, who also designed the Bell Rock Lighthouse and the lighting for the smallest working lighthouse in the world. The lighthouse is still working today although it is controlled remotely and stands at 130 feet. Each of the three cottages are individually decorated with a wood-burning stove, free wifi and few beautiful original features. One of the cottages is the original lighthouse keeper's cottage, another is where all the important machinery was housed. For prices, availability and to book click here.
Tangle Tower, Inverness
What was once a watchtower in the Victorian era and an observation tower during the war Tangle Tower is now an ultra-modern apartment with a stunning mixture of original and contemporary features. In South Kessock in Inverness, it looks over the Moray Firth so there is a chance you will spot the pod of dolphins that play in the low tide. A lovely enclosed garden and patio area sits out front with a table and chairs so you can enjoy the view. On the ground floor is a large open plan living/dining area with a gorgeous bespoke kitchen with everything you'll ever need and the huge floor to ceiling patio doors lead out to the garden. Next door is the large master bedroom. Upon the first floor are the second bedroom and huge family bathroom with roll-top bath. On the top floor is the impressive viewing room decorated with touches of beautiful modern tartan and uninterrupted views over the Beauly Firth to the Black Isle. For prices, availability and to book click here.
Calendonian Cabin, Invergarry
This Highland Hideaway is more than just a lodge, it's one of the best lodges I've ever seen. It is made from red Cedar logs, handcrafted in Canada using traditional methods, and brought here to the Highlands. Situated 50 yards from the shore of Loch Garry this cabin is cosy, warm and the perfect way to experience a little 'hygge' in Scotland, especially as there is ample supply of rugs and throws, underfloor heating and a pretty fireplace. There is access to a canoe and rowboat to use should you fancy and an outdoor hot tub and pizza oven. If the weather is rubbish and you want to stay indoors there is sky tv and a brilliant wooden games table with chess and backgammon. For prices, availability and to book click here
Harvest Moon Treehouse
In Dunbar, just south of Edinburgh on the east coast is the Harvest Moon Treehouses. It's just a short walk to the beach which has amazing views of the Bass Rock and you can sea swim or go sledging down the sand dunes if you are feeling active. The farm is on a site of scientific interest so there is lots of wildlife around, you can see deer, wild hares and rabbit and many different types of birds. If you are bringing kids they can help to feed the chickens, rabbits and ducks and they can also collect the eggs in the morning for breakfast. The treehouses themselves are split into two, one half is the living/dining space with a pine kitchen, log-burning stove and sofa with views over the farm, fields and towards the sea. A covered walkway leads to the second octagonal space, with a bathroom with shower and two bedrooms. The floor is two meters above the ground and underneath is a love seat, a swing, and a table and chairs. For prices, availability and to book click here.
Rock House, Edinburgh
Built in 1756 Rock House sits at the foot of Calton Hill and has panoramic views of the city. The house once belonged to artist and photographer Davis Octavius Hill who, with Robert Adamson, developed the calotype process in their studio here. It's one of the oldest houses in the New Town and is elegantly decorated with period touches and a whole lot of character. It's a special place, so much so that Conde Nast and Luxury Traveller named it 'The place to stay in Edinburgh'. The house sleeps eight guests in four bedrooms and there are three bathrooms. For prices, availability and to book click here.
I hope this list will give you an idea of the type of quirky and unusual accommodation that there is on offer in Scotland. As i travel around Scotland for my Scottish travel blog I will find more to add to this list, you can subscribe to my monthly newsletter here and you'll be the first to know when I add some more. Have you stay somewhere in Scotland that is out of the ordinary? Let me know in the comments below.