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Bridge Square, Ballater AB35 5QJ Scotland
Prices are provided by our partners for one room, with variable occupancy rules as provided by the property, and reflect total costs of the stay, including all taxes and fees known to our partners. Please see our partners for more details.
Payments made by partners impact the order of prices displayed. Room types may vary.
Traveller (18)
Room & Suite (7)
Dining (5)
Payments made by partners impact the order of prices displayed. Room types may vary.


#3 of 9 Speciality lodging in Ballater
Ballater Hostel (formerly Habitat at Ballater) is a 25 bed five star self-catering hostel situated in the centre of Ballater, near Balmoral, on the east side of the Cairngorms National Park. The Hostel is owned and run by Dominique & Daniel, who took over the hostel in August 2016. We have both traditional dorm rooms and private rooms, along with a large open plan kitchen / dining / communal area with wood burning stove. A drying room and cycle storage is also available. Either book the whole hostel, a room or just a bed, with no minimum stay. From £20 per person per night (mixed dorm) and £33 per room per night (private room). Excellent facilities, comfortable beds and a warm and friendly welcome awaits you – the kettle is always on!
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Property amenities
Free parking
Free High Speed Internet (WiFi)
Non-smoking hotel
Shared kitchen
Shared lounge / TV area
Laundry service
Self-serve laundry
Room features
Additional bathroom
Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Family rooms
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Languages Spoken
82Reviews0Q+A4Room tips
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Mac36 wrote a review Sep. 2020
Donaster47 contributions15 helpful votes
Dominique and Dan are fantastic hosts who run a brilliant hostel, although hostel doesn’t do it justice, It’s much more a well equipped hotel. Excellent facilities, en-suite room with a brilliant separate shower wet room and LCD tv. Everywhere was clean, with plenty of tea/coffee/hot chocolate/milk/sugar in the rooms. Secure covered bike storage was great, even with a hose to wash them down! It’s located in Ballater centre which has numerous facilities to eat, drink and stock up on supplies before heading out for the day to discover the beautiful surroundings. It’s at the end/start of the Deeside way, a short ride (flat) to Braemar and also only 10 miles from the stunning Loch Muick.
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Date of stay: September 2020Trip type: Travelled with friends
Emma H wrote a review Aug. 2020
Chandler’s Ford, United Kingdom144 contributions85 helpful votes
Due to COVID our foreign holiday was cancelled and so we decided on a staycation in the UK, choosing to travel around Scotland. I emailed ballater hostel a couple of weeks beforehand and there was only a 6 person room available, for just two of us. Dom assured me this would not be a problem, she explained about the changes due to COVID and so it was booked and paid for - all wonderfully easily. Emails followed shortly afterwards confirming all the details we had discussed. I've stayed in some nice hostels and some not so nice hostels over the years - Ballater hostel rates up there in the top three of great hostels. Dominque and Daniel were so welcoming and friendly, it was lovely to be able to chat to them at length about the area, what to see and where to go (socially distanced of course!) Unfortunately the kitchen and common areas were closed due to COVID - which we knew about at the time of booking, but there were coffee and tea making facilities all in our room and loads of shops with a three minute walk. It was a huge, lovely, clean room - with a great tiled bathroom and shower, hanging space on the wall and lockers too. Dominique was kind enough to sort some of our laundry in the laundry room for us as we were half way through a two week adventure and fast running out of clean things! We loved the little blankets and hot water bottle in case it was cold (which it wasn't!) Good wifi too. Parking in Ballater is plentiful and free and felt very safe. Its a beautiful little Victorian village with everything you could need for a stay and a great selection of places to eat and drink. The weather was perfect (apart from the overnight storm) so we were able to do lots of outside activities. The hostel is a minute's walk from the Royal Bridge, from which you get a picturesque view of the River Dee. It all felt very safe COVID wise, both our stay at the hostel and also everywhere we visited in Ballater. There was plenty of hand sanitiser and social distancing precautions were taken. Ballater is a great base for visiting Balmoral and Braemar, and there are loads of wonderful walks and natural areas to visit very close by (Lochnagar, Glenmuick, 7 bridges walk...) Thank you Dom and Dan, we had a perfect stay and wouldnt hesitate to come again when we're up that way.
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Date of stay: June 2020
Sleep Quality
2 Helpful votes
Karl D wrote a review Jul. 2020
Telford, United Kingdom21 contributions23 helpful votes
We were allowed to stay as part of a "soft opening" before the full reopen post-Covid. We'd booked long in advance but the lovely couple who run this hostel didn't need to let us stay, they just did us a lovely favour. The welcome was really friendly and they were keen to share local knowledge even down to which specific pint to order from the local pub (it was delicious). Situated perfectly and the surrounding landscapes are breathtaking. We'll be back!
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Date of stay: July 2020Trip type: Travelled as a couple
1 Helpful vote
Graham wrote a review Jan. 2020
109 contributions30 helpful votes
This was my third stay at this excellent hostel. The hostel is well situated for visiting Ballater and the many wild mountains in the region including the Munros Mt Keen and Lochnagar. The owners make everyone very welcome and are ready with local advice. The hostel is fitted out to a very high standard with good kitchen and effective drying room. In winter there is a lovely log fire in the spacious lounge. The dorms are cosy and have lots of electrical charging stations. Parking is in the local side streets.
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Date of stay: December 2019Trip type: Travelled solo
Wendy B wrote a review Nov. 2019
Edinburgh, United Kingdom24 contributions26 helpful votes
Stayed here for two nights with a group of friends from the Scottish Midweek Mountaineering Club. It really is a superb, immaculate and welcoming Hostel, with impressive facilities not least a lounge with a log burning stove, large comfy sofas, big tables with benches ideal for group dining(and map reading!), a TV with DVDs and plenty of walking/mountaineering/travel magazines. The lounge is open plan to the kitchen which is well stocked with cooking and eating utensils plus conidments/herbs and spices/dressings and oil. There is even flour and a electric food whisker for anyone keen to do some baking! Another thing which struck me as impressive were a supply of tupparwares and clearly marked crates for the various recycling so that a bin was hardly necessary! The large Drying Room was much needed after our two/three days out in very wet/snowy conditions and has more than enough hanging rails, clothes airers and shelfs with newspaper for stuffing sodden boots! There is also a washing machine/tumble dryer available for a minimal charge. The bedrooms were warm with comfy beds and the ensuite showers(wet room) were hot! Another welcome touch is underfloor heating throughout the Hostel making it great for warming cold feet after a return from the hills. The friendly, welcoming hosts, Daniel and Dominque, really have attended to every detail! There is however, one problem/criticism; the Hostel is closed between 10am and 4pm and only one key (a key card) is issued per dorm for gaining access between these hours. Clearly this is a problem if all those sleeping in a dorm are not sticking together during the day. A key per guest would make things a lot easier! Finally, a few other suggestions would be: an additional microwave positioned in a more accessible area of the kitchen than the existing one (which gets congested being around the food storage area); to be able to open the bedroom windows(which appeared to be locked closed making it very stuffy when there are 8 of you in a room!) and some board games in the lounge.
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Date of stay: November 2019
2 Helpful votes
Response from Ballater-Hostel, Owner at Ballater Hostel
Responded 23 Nov. 2019
Thank you for your lovely review it was lovely having you. Just to cover some of your points you mentioned in no particular order 😊. The bedroom windows can be opened using the Velux pole at the top of the stairs - the notice in your room explains how to open the window and close the automatic blind. Or you could have asked us and we would have assisted. Unfortunately, we have no plans to add another microwave - we have tried many different layouts for the kitchen and the current layout works best (without knocking it down and starting again). Extra room keys can absolutely be obtained from the office for a returnable £3 deposit, as was mentioned to your group on arrival and as some of your group took up – extra keys were given out! Ballater Hostel is closed between 10am & 4pm - this is no secret. We advertise this to guests before you book, when you book, and after you book – so on arrival you are fully aware we are closed between 10am and 4pm. This is reflected in the price of your stay. We are a small hostel with a small income that doesn’t cover extra staff for cleaning and to man the hostel during the day. It is also our time off! We are just a two-person operation that work 7 days a week 340 odd days a year. On a normal day after cleaning we get a couple of hours off before opening up again. Finally, we do have an array of board games in our games cupboard in the lounge.
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USD 48 - USD 93 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Habitat Hostel
United KingdomScotlandAberdeenshireBallater
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Frequently Asked Questions about Ballater Hostel
Which popular attractions are close to Ballater Hostel?
Nearby attractions include Old Royal Station (0.3 km), Dee Valley Confectioners (0.3 km), and The Balmoral Bar (0.2 km).
What are some of the property amenities at Ballater Hostel?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free wifi, free parking, and laundry service.
Is parking available at Ballater Hostel?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
What are some restaurants close to Ballater Hostel?
Conveniently located restaurants include Rothesay Rooms, Clachan Grill, and The Lochnagar Indian Brasserie.
Is Ballater Hostel located near the city centre?
Yes, it is 0.1 km away from the centre of Ballater.
Are any cleaning services offered at Ballater Hostel?
Yes, laundry service and self serve laundry are offered to guests.
Are there any historical sites close to Ballater Hostel?
Many travellers enjoy visiting Crathie Church (2.0 km).
Is Ballater Hostel accessible?
Yes, it offers wheelchair access. For specific enquiries, we recommend calling ahead to confirm.