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Edinburgh hostel question: okay for 40-something solo female?

Edinburgh hostel question: okay for 40-something solo female?

Aug 26th, 2007, 09:31 AM
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Edinburgh hostel question: okay for 40-something solo female?


I'm planning my April 08 trip to Scotland. I've already learned that it's too early to book anything but I'm researching now while my schedule is a bit less crazy. And then I'll be ready for serious contact for bookings come January.

I've found some b&b's that I'm considering. A self-catering apartment for the week would be fun, but I can't swing the prices that I've seen while traveling alone.

I'm starting to look at hostels. It's nice that some have female-only rooms. I'd probably consider those first.

Something that I'm really wondering about is cleanliness.

I read some reviews and they're all gung-ho positive and then someone mentions the noise, the dirt, the smell ... and then I wonder whom I should believe?

The thought has crossed my mind that the, shall we say, outlook can change from 20 to 40. The 20-something is completely happy as a clam, while the face of the 40-y-o has a look of horror.

I could actually stand a bit of noise. Sigh. Going from 20 to 40 one ear is now mostly deaf. All it takes is a shift and instant quiet, or much lower noise levels, anyway.

But I sure won't use a smelly kitchen.

Either in the city centre or on a good bus route .. do you have recent, positive experiences with an Edinburgh hostel that welcomes a diverse range of ages?

scotlib is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 10:13 AM
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Too bad you aren't going in July. I just stayed at the Edinburgh Metro Hostal and it was the best travel deal I've ever had!!! I couldn't believe it. For £18 a night I got a single, locable room in a flat with 5 other rooms that shared 2 bathrooms and a full kitchen. It was great, unfortunately it is only open in July and August. It is a dorm for the U of Edinburgh the rest of the year.

But I was pretty impressed with Scottish Youth Hostal Association. They were very professional and kept the property quite clean. There were families with kids of all ages, "youth", middle aged people and even a number of grey haired elderly.

I'm not sure I'd want to stay in a place where I couldn't lock the room in the day time when I was out. But the sharing of bathroom and kitchen didn't bother me at all. Of course, I was only sharing with 4-5 other people. I do know that SYH runs a number of properties all over Edinburgh and Scotland. Good luck
isabel is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 04:04 PM
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If you decide to go the hostel route, you'll want to bone up on the etiquette... about safety and locking your possessions when sharing rooms or dorm space, keeping you money belt with you, etc. I would worry more about the hassle of your possessions than how clean a kitchen is.

Have you been to The Thorn Tree? www.lonelyplanet.com has a forum with many people who travel staying in hostels. Fodor's is more of a hotel crowd here.
suze is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 03:40 AM
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Hi, thanks for the replies!

Thanks for the info, Isabel. Yes, I would have more options if I could go later in the year. This is a sneak visit, until I do have time to go for at least several weeks in the summer. I'm hoping, too, that the relatives who don't believe I'm really making the trip will be more interested in doing the follow up trip

Good tips, Suze! I'll work on continuing my education in hostels and try The Thorn Tree.

It did occur to me, as I spent the rest of the day cleaning my own kitchen, that I managed to sound a right fuddy-duddy with my post. Still a few months to go for planning my trip, both the where and how I'll stay, I guess.

scotlib is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 06:25 AM
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scotlib - is it Ok if I say it sounds like you'll be fine.

Attitude is a big factor. You've already got over the first hurdle - you've considered a hostel!!

Now, trust me, dirt and smell are not usual. I've stayed in hostel dorms in London, Hong Kong, Cordoba, Helsinki, and all over Australia and NZ (granted the two latter have the best backpacker/hostel standards in the world!!) and it's been fine.

You meet plenty of interesting people; you spend a lot less money (hey - it's just somewhere to sleep).

I've never had anything stolen (including places where you don't have a personal locker that you can padlock). But then I've never left a passport or tickets or credit cards or my camera in my bag. Always carry them with you or leave them in the hostel safe. That's just common sense.

Youth Hostel Assocation (YHA) places are the best choice for a beginner. Independent hostels can be great but you need to be able to read between the lines to work out which ones will suit you (and avoid the party places).



PS I am even older than you, have been hostelling since I was 40, and still am.

chimani is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 02:42 PM
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Thank you for the information and ideas, Chimani!

Checking for the Edinburgh YHA option, it's already full for the nights I planned to be there. I even e-mailed asking if it really was, and answer is yes. Wow.

Well, other YHA hostels in Scotland are open on those nights, so now I'm rethinking my trip. There's actually no reason that I have to do it the way I was originally planning. Time to throw off the blinkers and get creative
scotlib is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 02:52 PM
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Isabel, I'm glad (relieved) that my recommendation of the Edinburgh Metro worked out for you.

Scotlib, there are some other non-YHA hostels that might work out for you too, because Edinburgh is too good to miss. You just have to read reviews carefully. Most likely, a 4-woman room would be the best option if you are going for a shared dorm.
WillTravel is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 05:08 PM
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Will - yes, thanks so much for the recommendation, I was very very glad I stayed there. When I consider that the next cheapest place I looked at, the Ibis at 79£ a night would have cost me $726 more (I was there 6 nights) I can't believe what a good deal it is. Not even to mention that with a full kitchen I was able to cook some very yummy Marks and Spencer prepared foods - very little work and very little money for very decent meals. Now if only the weather had been more cooperative I might really have loved Edinburgh.
isabel is offline  
Aug 28th, 2007, 08:16 AM
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Which one is already full, the Edinburgh Central YH on Haddington Place ?
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Aug 28th, 2007, 08:46 AM
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Read the reviews in www.hostelz.com before booking. Some hostels are party hostels and some are quiet. Check for lockable storage areas and security.
wally34949 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2007, 05:10 PM
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Hi Caroline, yes, the Edinburgh Central is the one that has full beds for most or all of my nights.

I've learned that just last year two other YHA hostels were closed: Bruntsfield and Eglinton, so Edinburgh Central is the only YHA option, except for when the Edinburgh Metro is also open in the summer months.

Thanks Wally and Will, I'll be reading reviews as carefully as I can. I saw no use in partying when I was younger, and I still can't see the fun of it, but that perspective is more expected at this age, lol.

Thanks again, all
scotlib is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 04:38 AM
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That's a shame as Edinburgh Central YH is what I would have recommended - it only opened a year ago & is supposed to be nice, with all rooms (from singles to 8-bedders) en suite.

Another thought - will your trip be in the university Easter hols ? If so you could maybe get student accommodation. What dates will you be here ? How long for ?

Otherwise - what is your budget ? Some of the cheaper chain hotels may be within budget.

B&Bs have an advantage for single travellers in that they are usually priced per person rather than per room. You'd be looking at c.£25 for the cheapest in a less desirable suburb to c.£50 for somewhere really nice in or near the centre. It deepends on whether you fancy the intimacy of living in someone's house or not, though - personally I prefer the impersonality of a hotel.

But here are a couple of links to B&Bs where I know the owners slightly, and they and their houses are very nice - http://www.aboutscotland.com/edin/albertterrace.html, http://www.pringlesingle.com/. Both are in Morningside which is a nice area 1.5 miles from Princes St, on an excellent bus route, with good local shopping and a few pubs & restaurants.

Just to clarify - would you prefer self-catering if possible ? If so we can try to think of any other options.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 03:20 PM
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Thank you so much for the help with my trip, Caroline!

I'm looking for accomodations for the six nights of Sunday, April 20 to Friday, April 25 (up early on Saturday to head for the airport!).

Thank you for the B&B names. Picking from reviews is so hard. I've been in contact with some B&Bs and think that I could find a single occupency room for £35 (I've been looking for £30-£35), but many have said that rates for 2008 are not actually set yet, so I'll have to wait until later in the winter for actually making final choice if I go that route.

I have found one place with a single for self-catering (http://www.numberfive.com/). It's a compact room for sure. Again, the rate is not yet set, but it would hopefully work out to about the equivalent of £20, I think. The info says it's on a good bus route.

Asking for clarification is a good point, Caroline, because I'm feeling less than clear myself, which doesn't help anyone nice enough to try and help me!

What a hostel and B&B both have over a self-catering apartment is people, for interaction. The unfamiliarity of a hostel situation or sleeping in someone else's house still beats being in a strange room, all alone.

I've got a friend who I keep egging to jump on board for this trip, but so far the answer is no. If she did, a little self-catering apartment would be a great option, but until then I'll read hostel reviews and follow up on B&B suggestions.

scotlib is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 03:47 AM
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Hi scotlib - sorry I haven't had the chance to respond before.

Not sure how much you already understand about the location of Number Five, but - it's not actually in Edinburgh, it's in Portobello which is a slightly depressed seaside town a few miles outside the city. It would not be my choice, especially if travelling alone - I don't know about you, but I'd rather be in the city centre or at least a lively-ish area where I could stroll around with things to see and places to eat in the evening.

You could try the Castle View Guest House which posters on this board have always raved about. The website is http://www.castleviewgh.co.uk/ and I see their rooms start at £35. It was for sale a few months ago, either as a business or as a private home, but I haven't heard the outcome & the website still seems to show it's open. It's extremely central, just off Princes Street in the New Town. The only possible drawback is if you have a problem with stairs - it's on the 3rd & 4th (or 4th & 5th ? or American 4th/5th or 5th/6th) floors of the building & there's no lift.

If the city centre is too expensive you could try the Tollcross/Bruntsfield area - it's just on the edge of the city centre but cheaper, a bit studenty but with lots of places to eat & drink, quite close to the sights, very good for buses and a good area for strolling round at night - there are always people about. It's also close to 2 good independent cinemas and 2 of the best theatres. Some street names to look for are anything starting Lauriston... or Barclay..., Leven Terrace, Glengyle Terrace, Viewforth and Leamington Terrace.

Someone here recently highly recommended a B&B in that area - I think it was Elmview, but that still looks a bit pricey.

Otherwise, some other areas with lots of B&Bs, mostly a bit further out but still in quite decent bits of Edinburgh and on good bus routes are

1) Clerk Street/South Clerk Street/Newington Road/Minto Street/Mayfield Gardens/Craigmillar Park (all the same road, in ascending order of distance from the centre, from c.1-3 miles out)

2) West Coates/Roseburn Terrace/Corstorphine Road/St John's Road/Glasgow Road (ditto)

3) Dalkeith Road (not Old Dalkeith Road which is a bit too far out IMO).

And have you tried the tourist board website ? It's http://www.edinburgh.org/

I'm afraid you will be too early to take advantage of student accommodation in the university Easter hols.

And I'm afraid your budget is a little too low for the cheap chain hotels - the central Travelodge in St Mary's Street is £49pn whether there is 1 or 2 of you and I wouldn't recommend the locations of the other Travelodges further out. The other chains like Premier Travel Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Ibis are more like £60pn.

Sorry, Edinburgh is expensive - as well as being a tourist destination it is Britiain's 2nd financial centre.

I'll let you know if I think of anything else. Also keep checking the Central YH every week - I think that between now & April there will quite likely be cancellations.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 05:41 PM
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Thank you so much for the continued advice, Caroline!!

I knew Portobello was a bit out of the city, but "depressed" is not an adjective that I've seen mentioned to date.

I've just rec'd a lovely packet of information from edinburgh.org. Lots of reading to do!

I've been keeping my "hopeful" budget on the low side. I tried to start low with the realization that I'd probably go some higher, rather than start higher and have to work down. Since hard-earned money from my job can only be spent once, I've been tucking it away ever since determining that I'm going on this trip. Time to tuck some more away!

With a major expense potential (i.e., the holidays) just around the corner I'll be getting out a little book I discovered last year: Hundred Dollar Holiday, http://www.amazon.com/Hundred-Dollar.../dp/068485595X

I've seen threads discussing how the cost of a trip can be managed on tight budgets. This little book is one tool that I will use. Last year, I didn't cut back all the way to just the hundred dollars, but I sure did reduce quite a bit.
scotlib is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2007, 02:55 AM
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Keep trying, scotlib, and I hope you find somewhere nice. Even though the Central YH is allegedly full then, it is still quite early days.

When you know where you're staying, hopefully I will be able to suggest cheap places to eat & things to do.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  

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