Accommodation types

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  • A sleek double bed with sofa seating at the end in a smart, ambient bedroom
    A double room at the Blythswood Square Hotel, Glasgow
  • A cooked breakfast is served in the conservatory, overlooking the sea
    Beul-na-mara B&B, Seilebost, Isle of Harris
  • Port Ban Holiday Park and caravan site at kilberry, Argyll lwhich looks across the sound of Jura to island of Jura
    Port Ban Holiday Park and caravan site, Argyll
  • Looking over to a stone cottage at Elgol Loch Scavaig and mountains behind, Isle of Skye, Inner Hebrides
    A self-catering cottage at Elgol by Loch Scavaig and the Cuillin mountains, Isle of Skye
  • Looking through the trees to the elegant, 3-storey hotel
    The Turnberry Hotel, Ayrshire

There is a huge variety of accommodation in Scotland, with something guaranteed to suit the needs and requirements of every visitor.

To help you choose the right accommodation, the following definitions describe what each type has to offer.

Guest house

A guest house normally has at least 4 letting bedrooms, some with ensuite or private facilities. It is usually run as a commercial business. Breakfast is available and evening meals may be provided.


Accommodation offering bed and breakfast, usually in a private house. B&Bs normally accommodate no more than 6 guests, and may or may not serve an evening meal.


Bed and breakfast or guest house accommodation provided on a working farm or small holding.


A hotel normally has at least 20 letting bedrooms, of which most have ensuite or private facilities. They serve breakfast, dinner and, normally, lunch, and they usually have a drinks licence (it may be a restricted one).

Small hotel

A small hotel normally has a minimum of 6 letting bedrooms and a maximum of 20. Most bedrooms have ensuite or private facilities. Small hotels serve breakfast, dinner and, normally, lunch, and they have a drinks licence (though it may be a restricted licence). They are normally run by the owner(s) and reflect their own personal style.

International resort hotel

A hotel with a 5-star quality award that has a range of leisure and sporting facilities. These include an 18- hole golf course, swimming pool and leisure centre, and country pursuits.

Country house hotel

A country house hotel with ample grounds or gardens, in a rural or semi-rural situation with an emphasis on peace and quiet.

Town house hotel

High quality town/city centre properties of individual and distinctive style with a maximum of 50 rooms and a high staff-to-guest ratio. Public areas may be limited. Possibly no dinner served but room service available instead.

Metro hotel

A town/city hotel providing full hotel services with the exception of dinner. Within easy walking distance of a range of places to eat.


Overnight accommodation, usually purpose-built and situated close to a major road or in a city centre. Reception hours may be restricted and payment may be required on check-in. There may be associated restaurant facilities.

Budget hotel

Budget Hotels are always part of a large ?branded? hotel group and offer clean and comfortable en-suite facilities, 24-hour reservations and a consistent level of facilities.


Bed and breakfast accommodation within a traditional inn or pub. The bar and restaurant is open to non-residents, and provides food at lunchtime and in the evening.

Restaurant with Rooms

The restaurant is the most significant part of the business, and is usually open to non-residents as well as those staying there. Breakfast is usually provided.

Campus accommodation

The accommodation provided by colleges and universities for their students is often made available - with meals - to individuals or groups at certain times of year, typically the summer, Easter and Christmas holiday periods.

Guest accommodation

Similar to a guest house though there may be some differences in the amount of services and facilities.

Exclusive-use venue

Accommodation exclusively for one customer group or party with a minimum let of one day. It will normally have a minimum of three letting bedrooms, will hold a residential licence or equivalent and provide a full range of services to guests including all meals.


A house, cottage, apartment, chalet or similar accommodation, with self-catering facilities, which is let normally on a weekly basis to individuals, although shorter breaks may be available.

Serviced apartments

Essentially self-catering apartments where services such as cleaning are available. Meals and drinks may also be available, either to each apartment or in a restaurant and/or bar on site.


Star-rated accommodation often in shared rooms with bunk beds but family rooms may also be available. Hostels normally welcome individuals, families and groups, many of whom are staying on a short-term basis. Hostels often have a quite formalised structure, which may or may not include restricted access, meal service, etc.


Very similar in style to a hostel, but may be run on less formal lines, such as 24-hour access. They are often more appropriate for longer term independent travellers and the younger end of the market and they tend not to take family groups.

Group accommodation

Star-rated accommodation often in shared rooms with bunk beds. Predominantly group bookings only accepted. May be fully serviced or self catering.

Activity accommodation

Star-rated accommodation normally provided on a group basis. The establishment will also offer fully certified or licensed activities.


Rural accommodation which can be booked by groups or individuals. Services and facilities may be limited but will include a self-catering facility. Bunkhouses are not star rated but will meet or exceed minimum standards for cleanliness, maintenance and quality.

Bods, bothies and camping barns

Simple, overnight accommodation, usually in remote or rural locations where facilities and services may be limited.

Holiday park

A park that offers holiday homes and, most likely, touring and camping pitches.

Touring Park

A park that offers touring pitches, and may offer camping pitches as well.

Camping park

A park for camping only.

Caravan holiday homes

Individual caravan holiday homes are not star-rated but will meet or exceed minimum standards for cleanliness, maintenance and facilities.

Thistle caravan holiday homes

The Thistle award recognises a high standard of caravan holiday home based on a 4- or 5-star park.