Where to Stay in Scotland for a Local Experience

See another side of Scotland with a stay that'll make you feel like a local
See another side of Scotland with a stay that'll make you feel like a local | © Rob Ford / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Siobhan Warwicker
26 November 2020

Ticked Scotland’s big tourist sites off your list and looking for a new way to see this magnificent country? These hotels provide immersive experiences that will show you a destination in a brand new light, whether it’s homely touches, opportunities to meet locals or trying out an activity. See a new side of Scotland as we show you where to stay to fit in like a local.

Motel One Glasgow

Map View
Courtesy of Motel One Glasgow / Expedia

This design-led budget hotel beside Glasgow Central Station is a love letter to Scotland’s romantic railway journeys, with industrial-style fittings and local photographers’ work of scenic stations displayed in the lobby. Mingle with fellow travellers in the One Lounge, which serves toasties and snacks – but a real taste of Glasgow comes in the form of the Tunnock’s caramel wafers waiting in your room.


Boutique Hotel, Bed and Breakfast
Map View
Courtesy of 15 Glasgow / Expedia

Make yourself at home in this high-class B&B on the edge of Glasgow city centre. The 19th-century terrace house has all its original features and five bright, airy rooms kitted out with Scottish Fine Soaps toiletries. By the time you’ve pottered around the private garden, played games in the lounge and enjoyed a complimentary nightcap or two, you could easily feel like you’ve moved into the place.


Dakota Glasgow

Boutique Hotel, Chain Hotel, Hotel, Luxury
Map View
Courtesy of Dakota Glasgow / Expedia

The Dakota’s got real style, with muted tones and suites that take on a Manhattan loft feel. You won’t just find guests propping up the bar – since it claims stakes to the “best cocktails in Glasgow.” Locals and guests are lured here alike, thanks to an original cocktail list and premium spirits. You could also retreat to the outdoor heated Cigar Terrace or Library, and sit with a book in one hand and a whisky in the other.


Glasgow Guest House

Budget Hotel, Chain Hotel
Map View
Courtesy of Glasgow Guest House / Expedia

Four miles (6.4km) from the city centre, in the suburb of Bellahouston, this 10-room guesthouse will instantly make you feel at home. The popular neighbourhood is a peek at the more lived-in side of the city, as well as being close to galleries and Glasgow’s biggest park. Get to know your fellow guests at the guesthouse’s outside seating area, shared kitchen and lounge, where squishy armchairs face a fireplace, and books, board games and brochures are laid out.


Auchenlea B&B, Glasgow

Bed and Breakfast, Guesthouse
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Item card image
Auchenlea B&B | Auchenlea B&B

There’s an instantly relaxing quality to this cosy guesthouse, in a century-old renovated farm cottage in Bargeddie – a village in the Glasgow suburbs where horses graze on the bordering fields. The sunbathed conservatory is the place to hang out with fellow guests in winter, while in summer, the garden is decked out with seating and a barbecue. Year-round, the B&B serves up Scottish cooked breakfasts and warm hospitality from the husband-and-wife team behind it.

Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile

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Courtesy of Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile / Expedia

Bagpipes wail and shops flog their tartan all along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, but this touristy location feels local when you check into a serviced apartment at the centre of it all. Rooms have all the amenities of a holiday rental, but with the conveniences of a hotel, such as a communal lounge, breakfast buffet and kids’ activity zones. Book an early check-in (from 10am) to make the most of this fabulous location.


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  • Holyrood Aparthotel, Edinburgh

    Serviced Apartment, Apartment
    Map View
    Courtesy of Holyrood Aparthotel / Expedia

    These well-equipped two- to four-person rooms in central Edinburgh feel like Airbnbs-with-extras, with an on-site gym and the option of Grab & Go Breakfast Boxes. But the best bit is the excursions you can book through the site. One of the “insider” tours is whisky tasting away from the crowds, guiding you to good quality scotch at four hidden bars.


    Golf View Hotel and Spa, Nairn

    Spa Hotel, Hotel
    Map View
    Courtesy of Golf View Hotel and Spa / Expedia

    Brooding hills and the atmospheric Moray Firth shore are a fitting backdrop to a dinner of scallops and fish, just some of the local produce at the hotel’s Hickory restaurant. Head to the bar for a nightcap and you’re likely to find others doing the same, as the sun sets on this beautiful Highland scene. The friendly seaside resort of Nairn is often cited as a “near perfect place to live,” with its forest trails and coastal activities.


    Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa, Edinburgh

    Hotel, Luxury
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    Guest room at Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa
    Courtesy of Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa / Hotels.com

    Move over, single malts, it’s all about Scottish gin at the Sheraton, a well-heeled hotel where some rooms come with castle views. The One Square Bar has more than 100 varieties of gin – including its own One Square Gin made nearby (you can also have a go at making your own). If you reserve a Club Room or Suite, you’ll be served drinks and canapés in the Club Lounge each evening, along with fellow guests.


    Glencoe House, West Highlands

    Hotel, Luxury
    Map View
    Courtesy of Glencoe House / Expedia

    While you’d be very rich indeed to “feel like a local” at 10-acre (4ha) Glencoe House, the team behind this five-star hotel work hard to provide insight into the local identity. Many of the paintings are for sale through Scottish contemporary galleries, and staff will help immerse you in your surroundings via all sorts of activities, from salmon fishing in lochs to tasting your way around three distilleries nearby.

    These recommendations were updated on November 26, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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