Village life, accommodation and nightlife
There is no accommodation and only a small gift shop on the mountain. However, the Spey Valley is home to a number of good traditional local villages that serve an all year round tourist trade. Aviemore, which is only 9 miles from the slopes, is the nearest village and the main hangout, with places like Kincraig, Kingussie, Boat of Garten, Carrbridge and Grantown-on-Spey all close by. Wherever you stay, local amenities are very good with each village offering something different. Aviemore is a cool place and attracts lots of visitors especially at weekends during the winter season. There are a number of places to hangout when the mountain is closed which includes an overkill in sports shops. There are also loads of out-door attractions to check out, such as 4x4 driving, go-karting, clay pidgeon shooting, dog sled riding, or climbing.
EatingAviemore has a good choice of eating outlets. The Cairngorm Hotel is very good where you can get great bar food at affordable prices (the soup and sandwiches are mega). Harkais Chip Shop does a mean fish supper, while the new Einich Restaurant, with its rather rounded chef, has an excellent choice of dishes. The PH22 restaurant is the place for pizza. However, the number one place to dine in the whole valley has to be The Ossian Hotel in Kincraig, a total eating joy and great value.
Aviemore is probably the most lively and nearest destination. The Cairngorm Hotel has a good, lively bar with friendly staff and a decent selection of whiskeys to warm you up after a hard day on the slopes, they also offer live music most weekends. The Old Bridge Inn is also well worth a visit for a cosy pint by the fire. Cafe Mambo, Mackenzies and RG's all offer "music" late into the night for those who still have the legs for it.
The Spey Valley has a large selection of hotels, guest houses, bed and breakfast and self catering homes. Rates vary considerably, with the big hotels in and around Aviemore being the most expensive. Best budget hostel type accomodation can be found at the Old Bridge Inn Bunk House (about £15 a night) 01479 811 181 or the Glenmore Lodge (closest accomodation to the ski resort) 014179 861 238. The Cairngorm Hotel in Aviemore is in the centre of the town tel 01479 810 233, and the Old Ministers House is on the ski road tel 01479 812 181, both will do B&B for about £45. The Cairn Hotel in Carrbridge, tel 01479 841 212 is good value at £28 B&B and has a lively bar at weekends. Silverglades, 01479 810 165 is a top self-catering company in Aviemore as is Pine Bank Chalets on 01479 810 000.READ NEXT: Mountain statistics