The Best Places to Stay in Orkney, Scotland

Orkney comprises more than 70 islands, with many places to explore and rest
Orkney comprises more than 70 islands, with many places to explore and rest | © mark ferguson / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Tori Chalmers
16 October 2020

Where you rest your head for the night speaks volumes about a destination. It gives you a flavour of the culture and insider knowledge about the local idiosyncrasies. With more than 70 beautiful islands, a strong arty presence and some of the best-preserved Neolithic sites out there, Orkney is overflowing with hidden gems. Check out Culture Trip’s round-up of the best hotels and places to stay in Scotland’s Orkney Islands.

Standing Stones Hotel

Independent Hotel, Hotel
4.4/5 (8 Reviews)
Courtesy of Standing Stones Hotel / Expedia

Between its lochside location and penchant for Orkney cuisine done right, the aptly named Standing Stones Hotel is a sound option. With a varied pub menu, the food is forever on point, which owes credit to the finest seasonal ingredients. The rooms are simple, clean and comfortable, and each hosts an ensuite bathroom. The best part is breakfast overlooking Stenness Loch and the open hearth fire. Once more, the hotel is but a stone’s throw from Maeshowe, the Standing Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar, all world-famous sites that make up the Heart of Neolithic Orkney.

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St Ola Hotel

Independent Hotel, Hotel
3.8/5 (59 Reviews)
Courtesy of St Ola Hotel / Expedia

Described as a home from home, St Ola in Kirkwall is as friendly as it is lively. And by lively, we are referring to its two smashing wee bars. The updated rooms hit the spot and range from singles and twins to doubles and superior doubles, leaving room for larger groups or families. The harbourside and outer isle views from the superior rooms are out of this world. Those ready for a real party should look no further, as St Ola is wonderfully placed near the weekend pub-hop hustle and bustle of Kirkwall. It’s fuss-free and authentic.

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Wheems Organic Farm Camping Pods

Capsule Hotel, Camping, Cottages, Eco-Lodge
Map View

On the breathtaking island of South Ronaldsay and spread across 15 acres (6ha) of ecological and organic land, Wheems Organic Farm ticks every box. Between the eco-campsite and glamping units, campervan sites, charming country cottage, idyllic yurt and bell tents, there is something for everyone. The Loft, a renovated rustic love nest with outstanding views, is the kind of place you want to move into. More importantly, this Orcadian paradise is wholly committed to true green living, reducing the carbon footprint and preventing overconsumption and wastage. This ethical mindset extends across all spaces, from the sensitive landscaping and conservation areas to the artfully upcycled furniture, locally sourced futons and home-grown produce. It’s pure bliss.

The Orkney Hotel

Independent Hotel, Hotel
Map View
Courtesy of The Orkney Hotel / Expedia

The Orkney Hotel blends history and hospitality like no other. It dates back to 1670 when it was built as the family home of a local merchant, and today, it retains much of its historical flavour, with tasteful renovations only adding to the charm. Just minutes from St Magnus Cathedral, local shops and Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces, it has 30 elegant rooms, some of which play host to grand four-poster beds. The Garden View Restaurant offers a compelling menu of freshly caught seafood, native beef and lamb as well as innovative vegetarian dishes.

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  • The Albert Hotel

    Boutique Hotel, Hotel, Pubs with Rooms
    4.4/5 (141 Reviews)
    Courtesy of The Albert Hotel / Expedia

    The Albert Hotel is a great choice for those looking for a smaller place to stay. The intimate atmosphere and contemporary boutique-style rooms make for a relaxed trip. In the centre of Kirkwall, the hotel is within easy walking distance of the ferries to the outer North Isles, St Magnus Cathedral and the Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces. Local produce reigns supreme on the restaurant menu, which caters to all palates with light bites and a three-course meal. Perhaps the best part is the authentic traditional Orkney bar, complete with local alcohol galore, a cosy fire and home-cooked meals.

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    Aviedale Suite

    Bed and Breakfast
    Map View

    Aviedale Suite is an absolute joy. Close to the towns of Stromness and Kirkwall, this unique private guest accommodation features a king-size bedroom, a dining kitchenette and a private shower room. This compact suite lies in a new annexe and hosts private parking, 3 acres (1ha) of striking landscaped property and outstanding seascape views. Between the snacks, free unlimited wifi and sleek furnishings, Aviedale has all the comforts of a charming contemporary hotel but with an added dose of privacy.

    The Shore Hotel

    Boutique Hotel, Independent Hotel
    Map View
    Courtesy of The Shore Hotel / Expedia

    The Shore Hotel in Kirkwall is one of Orkney’s most popular places to stay, and with unrivalled hospitality as its secret, this comes as no surprise. Spotless contemporary rooms available in an array of sizes, elegant dining and a full breakfast destined to make your day are always a given. The harbourside location on Shore Street is a bonus and conveniently close to all the fun. For travellers forever on the go, there is even an option of a packed lunch. No expenses spared.

    These recommendations were updated on October 16, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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