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 spiers, 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 best hotels in Aberdeen are:
- Best for golf and country glamor: Meldrum House, booking.com
- Best-for-royalty: The Marcliffe, booking.com
- Best for style: The Chester Hotel, booking.com
- Best for steak and single malts: Malmaison Aberdeen, booking.com
- Best-for-business: Sandman Signature Aberdeen, booking.com
- Best for gig-goers: Aloft Aberdeen TEAK, booking.com
- Best for history: Atholl Hotel, booking.com
- Best for lords and ladies of the manor: Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House Hotel & Spa, booking.com
- Best for stopovers: Moxy Aberdeen Airport, booking.com
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.
Price: Doubles from £93
More than the drawing room, featuring originals by Scottish artists, the fine-dining restaurant and the fact it can organize 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 whiskey-crammed bar, plus the guestlist’s not bad either: current royalty (HRH Prince Charles and HRH Princess Anne), plus Scots pop Royalty (Rod Stewart).
Price: Doubles from £150
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.
Price: Doubles from £82
Aberdeen’s silver-grey may provide the eye-candy, but this hotel amps-up the color 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 whiskey selection. Just remember that, if settling in for the night in Scotland, a malt whiskey expert is anyone with an opinion.
Price: Doubles from £76
Neighborhood: City center
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 travelers, 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.
Price: Doubles from £71
Neighborhood: Aberdeen Airport
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.
Price: Doubles from £69
Neighborhood: King’s Gate
All witches hat turrets, rose windows and glorious buildings, this 34-bed independent outpost is a brilliant bet due to its proximity to the city center 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.
Price: Doubles from £90
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 whiskey bar with grand fireplace make it fit for a prince. There’s a brasserie onsite, too.
Price: Doubles from £76
Neighborhood: Aberdeen Airport
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 bestbit? The in-your-face wall art, bumper-sized TVs and general sense of fun.
Price: Doubles from £47