Bed down in tartan-clad style
Bed down in tartan-clad style

The best hotels in Aberdeen

Whether you’re visiting Aberdeen for business or pleasure, Mike MacEacheran has scoured the Granite City city for the best places to stay

Mike MacEacheran
Wednesday 08 January 2020 16:35

Aberdeen has a remarkable sense of tone and colour, particularly when it comes to silvery grey. The telling shimmer of its mottled granite buildings lets you know you could only be in Scotland’s northeast – the city is fashioned from so much rough stone and coarse rock its architecture makes it one of the UK’s most dazzling places.

Scotland’s third largest city has more than spires, striking facades and the imposing St Andrew’s Cathedral to appreciate. There’s a jumble of sweeping beaches, galleries and museums to mull over, plus the medieval streets and wynds of Old Aberdeen to get lost in.

Some of its most memorable hotels are hidden in this network of streets, but there are an equal number of punch-packing boutiques worth checking out elsewhere.

The Independent's hotel reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and book, but we never allow this to affect our coverage.

Best for golf and country glamour: Meldrum House

Neighbourhood: Oldmeldrum

Meldrum House is a golfer's dream

With a golf course for every week of the year, Aberdeen has some of the best links golf anywhere. When not playing the spectacular, wood-fringed 18-holer at this boutiquey country hotel 18 miles northwest of the city, there’s plenty else to catch the eye. The recently-renovated hotel has a 13th-century tower (an eyrie from which to view the surrounding 240-acre estate), as well as a lavish spa and restaurant.

Doubles from £112, room only

Best for royalty: The Marcliffe

Neighbourhood: Pitfodels

The Marcliffe is Aberdeen's only five-star

More than the drawing room, featuring originals by Scottish artists, the fine-dining restaurant and the fact it can organise salmon fishing trips, it’s the family-friendly feel of Aberdeen’s only five-star hotel that lingers. The Victorian-era manor house has 32 rooms and seven suites, a spa, a lounge for afternoon tea and a whisky-crammed bar, plus the guestlist’s not bad either: actual royalty (HRH Prince Charles and HRH Princess Anne), plus Scots pop royalty (Rod Stewart).

Doubles from £150, B&B

Best for style: The Chester Hotel

Neighbourhood: Rubislaw

The Chester Hotel caters for all

With an audience of business travellers, golfers and weekend breakers, you could call this granite bolthole Aberdeen’s most hardworking hotel. The big benefit is attention to detail and plenty of sophisticated touches, for those who want it (designer toiletries, rainfall showers, Egyptian cotton sheets), plus an annual Best-of-British dining festival held in IX Restaurant every November. For a little more tartan flavour, enjoy an afternoon tea of homemade sausage rolls and Dundee Cake with a peated dram.

Doubles from £86, room only

Best for location: Skene House Rosemount

Neighbourhood: City centre

Skene House Rosemount offers upmarket apartments

With 40 years in the business, and looked after by 84-year-old Charles Skene and his clan, this family-run block of serviced apartments was born during the city’s oil boom in the late 1970s. There’s a choice of mid-priced one, two and three-bed suites to pick from for families and executive groups, plus it’s so close to the downtown core that a night out feels like a formality rather than a treat. Should it be full, check out the family’s two other worthy properties, Skene House Holburn and Skene House Whitehall. All are pet friendly, too.

Doubles from £50, room only

Best for steak and single malts: Malmaison Aberdeen

Neighbourhood: Rubislaw

Malmaison Aberdeen has sumptuous style

Aberdeen’s silver-grey may provide the eye-candy, but this hotel amps-up the colour and sparkle. There’s razzmatazz from talk-of-the-town Aberdeen Angus steak restaurant, Chez Mal Brasserie (dressed to the nines with photos of shaggy-haired Highland cattle), and plenty of punch from the fruit cocktails and amber-hued single malts served in the snug bar. In a city blessed with great drinking spots, it’s rare to find one with such a great whisky selection. Just remember that, if settling in for the night in Scotland, a malt whisky expert is anyone with an opinion.

Doubles from £80, room only

Best for business: Sandman Signature Aberdeen

Neighbourhood: City centre

Sandman Signature Aberdeen is one of the city's newest hotels

What was once part of a university campus (where Donald Trump was awarded an honorary degree before, hysterically, having it revoked) is now one of the city’s newest hotels, complete with chophouse-style grill. The kingsize rooms and executive suites are set up for business travellers, with kitchenettes and spa-inspired bathrooms, whisking you from meeting to night-on-the-tiles in minutes. It’s bankrolled by a Canadian hotel group, with an out-the-box functional feel, but the draw is the location: an easy stroll to the city centre.

Doubles from £89, room only

Best for gig-goers: Aloft Aberdeen TECA

Neighbourhood: Aberdeen Airport

Aloft Aberdeen TECA is great for gig-goers

Just opened, this is Aberdeen’s most switched-on hotel (or at least claims to be). It’s a looker, as you’d expect from parent company Marriott, and comes packed with open-plan, urban chic design and a playful vibe that’s clearly on show in the gym and at the pool table. It’s bang next door to new multi-million-pound venue P&J Live at The Event Complex, so expect late night revelry and gig-going fans in pre- and post-concert mood at craft cocktail bar W XYZ. It’s out of the city, but easily walkable from the airport.

Doubles from £50, room only

Best for history: Atholl Hotel

Neighbourhood: King’s Gate

Atholl Hotel is packed with traditional charm

All witches hat turrets, rose windows and glorious edifices, this 34-bed independent outpost is a brilliant bet due to its proximity to the city centre and storied history (it was built in 1892 as a private Victorian pad). There’s an extension, believed to have been used as a private chapel, and a restaurant that focuses on local ingredients like black pudding, blade of beef, trout and North Sea haddock. It’s as traditional as a tartan tin of shortbread.

Doubles from £69, room only

Best for lords and ladies of the manor: Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House Hotel & Spa

Neighbourhood: Ardoe

Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House has country manor vibes

Stately home showstoppers are all the rage in Edinburgh and in the Highlands, but they’re rare as hen’s teeth in Aberdeen. That makes this luxury baronial manor six miles to the southwest of the city a popular choice with those dreaming of Walter Scott’s romantic Scotland. The chateau-like hotel was inspired by Her Majesty The Queen’s Balmoral Castle just down the road, and its 30 acres of gardens and classic whisky bar with grand fireplace make it fit for a prince. There’s a brasserie onsite, too.

Doubles from £64, room only

Best for stopovers: Moxy Aberdeen Airport

Neighbourhood: Aberdeen Airport

Moxy Aberdeen Airport is chic and convenient

You won’t be staying here if you’re visiting for a few days, but if on a flying visit this predictably cool 200-bed chain can’t be beat. The design is new-era-contemporary-chic, with an open-plan lobby, living room and bar all strewn with casually-cluttered furniture and tripod film lamps. The best bit? The in-your-face wall art, bumper-sized TVs and general sense of fun.

Doubles from £33, room only

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