Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney


Reception Area and Main Foyer

Our main reception is where students may collect their room keys and daily mail. It has a modern data screen where at a glance residents will see on screen information on the latest news in the hostel community. It is a light and airy area with comfortable sofas, art work and architectural plants.

Reception area

Main Lounge

A large spacious open planned lounge is the hub of the students’ recreational area and boasts a host of facilities including a modern coffee bar, a soft seating area with views out to our private garden, and two wall mounted 50” plasma television screens, a darts area as well as two pool tables. An electric organ with piano movement is also located within this area.

Television room

Switha - Quiet Room

A homely lounge set out as a sitting room with bookcases affords a quiet space where students may escape the noise of modern life to be able to relax and read a book or simply chill out without television.

Cava - Television Lounge

Similar to our quiet room in size and layout this a comfortable small lounge equipped for television where small number of students may watch television in peaceful comfort

Standing Stones - Library/Homework Room

We have a small well-furnished library containing a comprehensive range of study and recreational books as well as state of the art IT facilities. It is in this room that we run organised homework classes which are staffed by our House Parents.

Dining Room

Whereas all meals are taken in our dining room this space is much more than just a dining room, indeed it houses a number of innovations and is well equipped to facilitate the following activities:

  • It has a wall partitioning system which affords a number of different room configurations depending on the activity being carried out.
  • The floor is a sprung oak floor which was specifically designed for dancing.
  • We have an in-house cinema with cinema surround sound. This may be also used for conferences and other educational purposes.
  • Bespoke storage cupboards at one end of the dining room used in conjunction with the wall partitioning system gives us a suitable art room space.
  • A music system has been installed to provide morning radio or for dancing.
  • The glass patio doors open out into the private secure garden.

Catering Facilities

A dedicated professional catering team provides a bespoke food service to meet the needs of our residents. Please see the catering section for more details.

Kitchen facilities are also available on occasions under staff supervision during the evening for the provision of catering classes for example baking, making Easter eggs, Christmas cakes etc.

Coffee Bars

There are a total of five coffee bars located throughout the building, one of which is located in the main lounge area and one each of the accommodation areas in Gairsay, Huip, Fara and Swona.

In all coffee bars we provide free of charge a range of drinks such as tea, coffee, decaffeinated coffee, milk, water, lemon tea and hot chocolate for example.

Students can store their own lunches in the refrigerators provided, microwaves and hot water boilers are fitted as standard.

However, we would like to stress that no food stuffs are permitted in bedrooms for reasons of food hygiene and vermin control.

Drinking Fountains

Three cold water drinking fountains are readily available to students. They are located in the coffee bar in the main lounge, in the dining room and at the reception area.

Visiting Isles Accommodation

We have a suite of rooms Auskerry which is available to other schools from the Inner and Outer Isles here in Orkney. This enables our schools to attend short term educational and recreational activities as well as supporting work experience programmes. Auskerry has a total of sixteen beds for students and an additional two for accompanying staff.

IT Facilities

All bedrooms are hardwired with computer access and power points.

The ground floor including garden area has wifi installed and we have a laptop docking station with twenty-four laptops which are available to resident students for homework or research purposes. In addition to which our Standing Stones library is equipped with eight computers.

Our home cinema and projection equipment in the Standing Stones is also fully IT integrated.

When logging on-line students automatically log on to Kirkwall Grammar School’s secure server and are able to access their own school files.


A large private garden has been created in the centre off the halls of residence. It is easily accessible from the dining room and the main lounge. It enjoys the following facilities:

  • Water feature.
  • Patio.
  • Raised flower beds.
  • Outdoor sound system and lighting.
  • Barbecue with seating and tables.
  • Outdoor chess/drafts board.
  • Outdoor store.
  • Greenhouse and compost areas.

An allotment in the adjacent has also been secured and a gardening club is being planned in conjunction with students, staff and colleagues at Orkney College.


We have two well-equipped laundries one of which is an industrial laundry for washing all hostel bedding, towels etc. The other is for the use of students and is fully equipped with washing machines, driers, ironing boards and steam irons as well as a Belfast sink for washing smalls. Freestanding driers and pulleys for hanging up wet clothes complete our facilities.


There is a nominal charge for the use of washing machines and electric driers.

Family Room

This is a small homely well equipped sitting room which can be used when residents want to spend a little time together with their family members. This room is also used for meetings or interviews.


Although most people have their own mobile phones we also provide a private payphone for the use of resident students. It is located in a comfortable little telephone room which affords complete privacy. This telephone room also has a range of information on Childline and anti-bullying services amongst other services for example.

Baggage Area

A designated area for the storage of students baggage is available adjacent to the main reception area, this includes some secure student lockers and a large upright fridge freezer for the storage of frozen and perishable foods. Many students purchase food at their family’s request to take home at the weekend hence the reason for an appropriate storage area as we cannot store anyone’s frozen foods in our kitchens for reasons of preventing any cross contamination.

Bicycle Shed

There is a large lockable cycle shed / workshop in the grounds of the halls together with two external cycle racks.

Multipurpose Playing Field

A grass covered multipurpose playing field for sports such as rounders, football, netball and basketball is located within the campus. It is a floodlit space surrounded by an ornamental fence which has graded slopes adjacent to it from which activities can be observed.