Hotels with a heart: social enterprise places to stay in Scotland
Fancy the ultimate ethical staycation? Why not visit one of these beautiful hotels and hostels that are run as not-for-profits for the greater good
The Eisenhower at Culzean Castle
Named after its former resident, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, The Eisenhower at Culzean Castle in Ayrshire is a small, country house hotel, located on the upper floors of the National Trust for Scotland-run historic castle, enjoying panoramic views along the coast and across the sea to the mountains of Arran. Guests access the accommodation using an original 1920s elevator that transports them from the ground floor of the castle to an exclusive hideaway that was the holiday home of Eisenhower and his family from 1945 until his death in 1969.
New Lanark Mill Hotel
By booking the New Lanark Mill Hotel you’ll be contributing to the local social economy and carrying on the tradition of social enterprise first pioneered by one of society’s greatest reformers – Robert Owen. Nestled in a spectacular valley in southern Scotland, close to the Falls of Clyde, New Lanark is a Unesco World Heritage Site and has attained global recognition. Originally an 18th century cotton mill, New Lanark Trust now runs the hotel and has done so since 1998.
Callander Hostel is an iconic building within the popular tourist area of Callander, dubbed the Gateway to the Highlands. Run by local social enterprise Callander Youth Project Trust (CYPT), it works to develop diverse activities for young people from all backgrounds across the rural Stirling area, helping them reach their full potential. Unique features such as landscaped gardens opening out to guest barbeque areas and seating will ensure that guests have a memorable stay. It also boasts a fully licensed beer garden. The hostel provides training opportunities for young people as well as vital space to continue CYPT’s programmes including skills workshops and support for young entrepreneurs.
Torridon Youth Hostel
The jewel in the Youth Hosteling Association’s crown, this lodge has some of the most spectacular scenery not just in Scotland but according to many Trip Advisor reviews, the entire world. Situated at the head of Upper Loch Torridon in the shadow of the mighty Liathach, Torridon Youth Hostel is a great option for walkers and climbers as well as those simply wishing to relax and enjoy the wildlife. Other local activities include clay pigeon shooting, archery and kayaking. Those interested in activity holidays can book via Torridon Munros and winter skills courses which are based at the youth hostel.
North Ronaldsay Lighthouse
Fancy something out of the ordinary? Ferocious seas and windswept headlands give these remote Lighthousekeepers’ Cottages their wonderful romantic feel. It’s easy to imagine the kind of shipwrecks, treasure troves, rescues and skilful seamanship of Robert Louis Stevenson’s tales while on North Ronaldsay and indeed the Lighthouse adjacent to the cottages was designed by his uncle, Alan Stevenson, in 1854. Run by National Trust for Scotland, those who have stayed in the cottages say they offer a never to be forgotten experience. Could get windy though - so mind the windcheater.
Carlowrie Castle is pitched as one of Scotland’s most beautiful venues set on Edinburgh’s doorstep. Only two families have owned the castle in its entire history and current owners, the Marshalls, contribute a percentage of profits to a worthy cause. The hotel helps fund the work of Restart, an innovative charity working in the areas of homelessness, unemployment and social change. It also raises cash for the charity through various fundraisers - a charity ball held in the castle last year managed to raise over £40,000 - over 25% of Restart’s current annual running costs.