“ If your halls aren't included here please suggest them. „
I am a first year student at the University of St Andrews, and I am currently living in McIntosh Hall, fondly nicknamed Chattan. McIntosh Hall is a catered residence, and is perhaps the most central of all the student accommodation in the town. McIntosh Hall stretches the full length of Abbotsford Crescent, and in my opinion it is one of the most beautiful halls of residence, excluding St. Salvator's of course!
McIntosh Hall has 101 single rooms and 65 shared rooms. Most of the single rooms are given to second year onwards students - it's quite rare for first year students to manage to get hold of a single room in one of the central residences. I have been lucky enough to get a single room, and mine is on the ground floor, overlooking a grassy area through a beautiful bay window.
McIntosh Hall is a catered residence, and all students here get 19 meals per week. These 19 meals are breakfast and lunch seven days of the week, and dinner Monday to Friday (students have to cook dinner for themselves on weekends). The dining room is situated on the basement floor. It is an average sized room, and usually accommodates for most students, although at busy meal times, it can be difficult to find a seat and you might have to sit on your own at the end of the table.
For breakfast, there are cereals, bread, toast, fruit, yoghurt, porridge and a cooked breakfast that changes every day. For example, one day the breakfast may be bacon and beans, the next haggis and potato cake. Breakfast is usually very quiet - the same group seem to appear every morning - usually those of us who are victim to 9am lectures! Lunch is two course - main and dessert. There are usually 3 or 4 hot meals to choose from, and 2 or 3 sides (for example chips or potatoes, salad or vegetables). There are always desserts too, and a selection of fresh fruit. Dinner is very similar, although it is 3 course; the starter is usually soup, but on a good day it might be melon or even mozarella and tomato salad! The food is on a 4 week rotation, which means that you aren't always faced with the same food! However, salmon crops up far too much for my liking...
The food here is very hit and miss but considering that the kitchen staff cook for around 250 students every meal time, they don't do a bad job at all. After a few weeks, people start to realise which are the good meals to opt for and which aren't so good. Some of the meals are excellent, and some are terrible. To be honest, I think if I cooked for myself I would do a better job but it would be so much more expensive to cook for one person how they cook for 250. If you have a specific diet and tastes and are particularly bothered about what you eat, then I would definitely go into self catered accommodation. However, if you're willing to settle for average food and just don't want the hassle of buying and cooking your own food, McIntosh will do for you.
There are five floors here, each with ample bathrooms and one kitchen. The kitchens on the top 3 floors are tiny, and not very impressive at all. However, I'm lucky enough to be on one of the two floors with good kitchens - these kitchens are large, with lots of cupboard space, a fridge/freezer, microwave and toaster. However, the good kitchens tend to get taken over by everyone else on a Saturday and Sunday evening so you really never have great kitchen facilities! The bathrooms are good, too. You'll typically have around 6-12 showers per floor, and around the same number of toilets. The facilites are fine and are cleaned Monday to Friday by the cleaners - which is much more than they would be cleaned by students in self catered residences!
There are also two TV rooms, two study rooms (one with amazing views of the beach - think Chariots of Fire), and one very large common room. Furthermore, there are two laundry rooms on the basement floor.
Bins are emptied in students' rooms on Monday to Friday, and rooms are also hoovered (once a week I think). Communal areas such as kitchens and bathrooms are cleaned (to an excellent standard) every day from Monday to Friday. Furthermore, the common room is cleaned and tidied daily. Linen is washed and changed every 2 weeks, although most people seem to forget and don't bother changing it all term, lovely...
When I tell people I'm in McIntosh, they immediately ask: "Is that the hall with all the Americans?" Admittedly, there are many Americans here, but St Andrews is a university with an incredibly high international intake. The hall is full of so many cultures and you can be sitting at the dinner table with people from 6 or 7 different nationalities. I love this aspect of hall life. In many other halls, the students are mostly English, or mostly American, yet in McIntosh there is a real mixture of people. Many people think McIntosh is full of 'Yas', but you'd have to judge that for yourself...
The hall spirit is amazing, and the committee regularly throw hall events, such as Cheese & Wine and Mr McIntosh...It's really great to get involved with these events and enjoy your surroundings as much as possible.
McIntosh Hall is incredibly central - literally 2 minutes from the Student Union, a couple of minutes from the beach, and right by Tesco. This is great, but it can make you pretty lazy. It takes a matter of seconds to get into town from McIntosh which is covenient, but it can also be incredibly tempting to nip to the pub when you should be working. If you're lazy or you like everything within your reach, McIntosh will be perfect for you. Unless you dislike 3am noise...
I love McIntosh. It's central, full of great people and just has a wonderful feel to it. However, I'm not a fan of being catered and would much rather have my own independence and be able to cook for myself more than twice a week. I think I'd prefer to be further out of town, too, as I find that I do get incredibly lazy being so close to everything as going anywhere is just too easy! I'd definitely look at McIntosh if I were you, and consider it very seriously.
Gannochy House is a postgraduate only hall of residence, located next to St. Salvator's Hall on North Street. It's easy to spot: grey, concrete, 60's in style...a slight eyesore next to the beautiful, period style buildings that surround it.
The 81 rooms are all standard singles. They're relatively small and contain a bed, wardrobe, bookcase and desk, aswell as a wash basin. There's also a port for internet connection and a telephone handset.
The decor is basic (think magnolia painted breeze blocks and garishly coloured curtains) but one wall is covered with a large noticeboard and there's plenty of shelf space so it doesn't take long to make the room your own.
And if you're lucky enough to have a rear facing room you'll have a sea view.
For 8 of us we have one shower, one bathroom and 3 toilets. They're all very basic again and the shower is a bit drizzly!
The location is perfect. To the rear you'll find the English Dept. (perfect for me as an English student!) and to the right you have Younger Hall. The library is a 2 minute walk and the Student's Union is a 5 minute walk.
Gannochy House is self catering. The kitchens, again, are very basic. They come with a communal set of pans but it's a good idea to bring a couple of your own, aswell as your own utensils. There is also a basic dining area which contains food lockers for each room. My one criticism would be that, despite suggesting that the student to kitchen ration is 5:1, there are around 10 of us sharing our kitchen, which has one small cooker...not great!
There is a small communal room downstairs with chairs, a television and a drinks machine.
But be aware there is no designated car parking!
You can choose between a 37 week contract and a 50 week contract (£2, 583 and £3, 594 respectively).
Overall, I think the halls offer excellent value for money: living is basic, but the price (inclusive of bills, internet and contents insurance) is very reasonable.
If you're not a 'YA' then you will be right at home at David Russell Hall, as its certainlt not at the posh and fancy end of the scale! In fact, its at the 'ming' end of the scale!! It consists of 10 seperate blokes, each holding 2 sets of 24 inside them. They aren't as bad as some people make out! On the ground floor there is a small porch way, a kichten used for cooking up snacks (this hall is catered), and a common room (some blocks have a tv). Then, on each of the six levels above that is landing shared by four people. There are four reasonable sized bedrooms, each with a telephone connection, and internet connection (both really cheap to use!). There is also either a bath or shower (alternate floors) and a toilet. There is one main block. This is where the dinning room is. It also has a TV room, with sky tv! And pool and table tennis. Smoking is allowed in this tv room, and also in the Strachen Suit. The Strachen Suit also has a small cafe. This is really handy because, although it is a catered hall, you only get two meals a day (breakfast and dinner). SO if you cant be bothered to cook anything EVER, you can also buy some really cheap tasty from there. (my personal favourite is the chicken nuggets and chips for only £1.45!) The cooked meals at DRH have the nickname 'ming by mouth'. Its not the nicest food on the planet, but i've been told its all changing next year. DRH is about a 15min walk from the centre of town, which isn't really too bad. For those of you who cant walk that far, however, there are a few taxi services that do a £2 run in for students (B&M taxis). If you are studying sciences, its not too far to walk to lectures. there is a short cut behind the halls to the science park (takes about 10mins) This short cut is fine, until it strats to rain, and the path becomes a river!! The Athletic Union is right behind DRH too, so there is no excuse for not using
the FREE gym! I really like David Russell, it certaintly has character! this hall is definatley not for 'YAs'. They all go to Sally's, Uni, or New hall. Oh, one last thing though. They are in the process of knocking down DRH!! well, not for another couple of years yet really. But they have started building the new self catering flats that will replace DRH. I'd still recommend this hall to all you freshers though!!
I disagree with our Fife Park resident. Although I have never lived in Fife Park, when I moved here the first thing people told me when I asked about accommodation is "Don't live in Fife Park or DRH!" My housemate who lived in St Andrews for 5 years said all the people she knew who lived there had depression at some point. I've stayed in DRH and the amount of anti-suicide measures was ridiculous (set in light-fittings, window restrictors). Although Gatty and Fife Park rooms are similar, the scenery is not "industrial" I can see the sea from my room and not all the flats are small. The postgraduate rooms are large, have a lounge and are only four people sharing. Seriously though, LAH10 is the only person I have heard say one nice thing about Fife Park other than “it’s cheap”. The walls are very thin and the University was thinking about knocking it down until the surge of applications to St Andrews from hopeful single American girls... Of course there is that rumour about all the accomodation being based on prison designs - New Hall even has watch towers! Other than Gatty which is fine, New Hall is your best bet (en suite etc. although expensive). Price given is for Gatty and includes bills
I lived in Fife Park for 2 years and I've applied to live there next year so I guess you could say I know what I'm talking about. Fife Park is a self catering residence about a mile and a half from the centre of town. It consists of about 40, 6 roomed houses. Each house has a kitchen, 2 toilets and a shower. The rooms vary in size but on the whole they are pretty average for uni accommodation. Each room has bed, wardrobe, desk, bedside table, bookshelf, reading lamp and notice board.There is also a phone and place for you to connect to the internet. Technically you are only supposed to put posters on the notice board but nobody cares if you put them on the walls. The kitchen has a reasonable sized fridge/freezer and cooker and comes equipped with a kettle, pots and pans, plates and utensils. Fife Park is pretty good value for money. There is always hot water and usually the rooms stay quite warm - just make sure and complain if your radiator doesnt work. That reminds me, if you every have a complaint or anything is broken they send people round ASAP which is good. Fife park is almost in the countryside so it is really pretty in the summer and it is just beside another big hall (DRH), where you can buy food, watch TV or do laundry. And that brings me onto the subject of laundry...there is brand new self-service laundry adjacent to Fife Park which is very handy, if a little expensive. The dryers tend to leave things warm and moist so your room will smell of laundry for a while. Fife Park also has its own computer suite if you dont have your own, but the computers arent the best. The only disadvantages with Fife park are its distance from town, which seems like miles in first year and the lack of a common room. If you would prefer a house with a common room Albany Park is the place for you although the rooms are MUCH smaller as is the kitchen and the scenary is much more industr
ial. Fife Park can be great fun if you're in with a bunch of your friends but I wouldnt recommend it for first year as the you meet much more people in hall and the atmosphere is better.