Is the Premier Inn the best cheap hotel in Fort William, Scotland? Find out in this Premier Inn Fort William review.
Fort William in Lochaber, the self-anointed outdoor capital of the UK, is the starting point of the famous Harry Potter Train and the perfect base from which to explore the magnificent West Highlands of Scotland, including historic Glen Coe. And as Fort Bill (as it is affectionately called) has excellent transport links, it is a particularly good place to stay if you are touring Scotland without a car.
However, accommodation can be pricey, especially if you are visiting in high season. So which is the best cheap hotel in Fort William?
The UK budget hotel chain, Premier Inn, has scooped up a number of awards for business and leisure travel. I have stayed in their hotels a number of times, from pre-red eye stays at Premier Inn Heathrow T4 to an affordable overnight stay in Leeds. In my experience, the brand offers reliable budget accommodation in central locations.
But does the Premier Inn offer good value in Fort William? Find out in this Premier Inn Fort William review.
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Premier Inn Review: Is This the Best Cheap Hotel in Fort William?
Unlike other Premier Inns in which I have stayed, there were no self-service check-in terminals. Instead, a good old-fashioned human being did the honours. The process was efficient if a little impersonal.
What is the check-in time at Premier Inn Fort William?
The earliest check-in time is 2 pm. Check out by 12 noon on your departure date.
If you picture yourself relaxing with a book in a comfortable hotel lobby forget it. There is no public area in the Premier Inn Fort William. Two vending machines near the reception desk sell cold drinks and snacks.
My room was spacious but tired.
Decorated in the chain’s corporate grey and purple tones, it had good lighting throughout with a combination of downlighters and lamps.
Storage space was adequate for a short stay. There was an open space for hanging clothes, a set of deep shelves and a solitary drawer.
The Hypnos king-sized bed was very comfortable with decent linen and plump pillows.
There was a comfortable armchair next to the bed, backed with tartan-patterned material – a nice local touch – and a wall-mounted television opposite.
A kettle with limited supplies for making hot drinks – two sachets of instant coffee, two Twining’s tea bags, UHT milk and sugar/sweetener – was provided. Further supplies were available on request.
Power points were adequate and included USB charging points at either side of the bed. There was no safe, fridge, or iron and ironing board in the room.
Although the room had thermostatically controlled heating, there was no air-conditioning. This was a bit of an issue as the room did feel very stuffy, despite the less than tropical temperatures outside, and the small desk fan provided was ineffective.
Facing the entrance to the bathroom was a small vanity unit that housed a hairdryer.
The bathroom was clean and functional with good lighting. There was a full-size bath with an overhead, non-adjustable shower head.
Don’t expect to sink into the towels but they were reasonable quality.
Hair and body gel in wall-mounted dispensers were provided as was a soap dispenser by the sink.
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available for all guests staying at Premier Inn Fort William. Whilst this is not lightning fast, it is adequate for checking email and for Internet browsing.
For a faster connection, you need to purchase Ultimate Wi-Fi costing £5 for 24-hour access.
Eating and drinking at Premier Inn Fort William
Food and drink were available from the Brewers Fayre pub, located next door to the hotel (Premier Inn and Brewers Fayre are both owned by Whitbreads). It looked so dingy that I didn’t step across its threshold.
For £8.99 you can have the Unlimited Premier Inn Breakfast. The menu offers healthy fruit and yoghurt, through to a full English Breakfast, pastries and pancakes. However, due to Covid-19, gone are the days when you could fill your face from the generous breakfast buffet. Instead, this has been replaced by table service.
A Continental Breakfast option was also available for £6.99.
Both breakfast options are served with unlimited drinks.
Is Car Parking Available at Premier Inn Fort William?
There is free, on-site parking available at the hotel.
How Much Does It Cost to Stay at the Premier Inn Fort William?
Room rates in 2021 range from an extremely modest £29 to a whopping £178, depending on cancellation terms and season.
Premier Inn offers three room rates:
- Flex: Pay upfront or on arrival. Fully refundable with free cancellation up to 1 pm on the day of arrival
- Advance: Pay upfront. Fully refundable with free cancellation up to 28 days before arrival
- Standard: Pay at the time of booking. Although this rate is non-refundable, you can change the check-in date at the same hotel up to 1 pm on the day of arrival.
The Bottom Line: Is the Premier Inn the Best Budget Hotel in Fort William?
I am a fan of Premier Inn hotels. In my experience, the chain has achieved the right balance between comfort and affordability.
I’m not the only traveller who feels this way. Amongst other accolades, Premier Inn scooped the Best Budget Hotel Brand for the ninth consecutive year at the 2020 Business Traveller Awards.
The Premier Inn in Fort William is in a good location, particularly if you are taking day trips out of town by bus or train. It is also a clean hotel, essential during a global viral pandemic.
It’s fair to say that this is a no-frills hotel. However, when you are visiting Fort William, you are not likely to be spending very much time in your hotel or guest house and the Premier Inn does provide a comfortable bed for the night.
But does the Premier Inn offer good budget accommodation in Fort William? Maybe.
When I booked for my visit in July, although it wasn’t cheap at £125 a night, the Premier Inn was considerably less expensive than other centrally-located accommodation in Fort William. This may not be the case at other times of the year, so you will need to check a few options to see which hotel or guest house offers the best value for you.
Lastly, a note of caution. Check where your Fort William accommodation is located. Many of the town’s guesthouses line the main Achintore Road (A82), south of the centre, and many are a considerable distance out of town.
It could be that bargain b&b in Fort William accommodation isn’t such a bargain after all.