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some luxury hotels in Scotland

some luxury hotels in Scotland

Old Oct 12, 15, 5:57 pm
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some luxury hotels in Scotland

Just back from fourteen nights in Scotland, exploring the destination and doing hotel site inspections... these are my reviews. As always, I would emphasize that these are my own, subjective opinions, based on my own personal aesthetic taste. Others can and should disagree!

EDINBURGH

All three Edinburgh hotels reviewed are members of Virtuoso.

Rocco Forte The Balmoral, located by the train station in Edinburgh, was built in 1902 as a railway hotel. The railroad put the project out to bid, seeking proposals, and the winning proposal was submitted by Sir Rocco’s father. The hotel later became the first hotel to bear the Rocco Forte brand when Sir Rocco (the son) formed his company.

Due to high occupancy, we were able to see just two rooms. Guest room categories include Classic (not included in the Virtuoso contract), Executive, Deluxe, and Castle View. The Castle View we were shown was a spacious room with a high ceiling. Decorated in an updated residential style, primarily in shades of green, the room bears a definite family resemblance to other hotels in the Rocco Forte chain. Large bay windows offer a great view of castle in the distance and Scots Memorial in the foreground. The bathroom provides a single vanity with the shower was in tub. Some suites have step-in showers in addition to soaking tubs.

The Classic Suite felt quite residential and had a gas fireplace in the living room with a small, separate bedroom (the size of a Classic room). The bathroom had a step-in shower and soaking tub but still just a single vanity. Some but not all suites offer step-in showers.

Most Virtuoso clients would probably choose The Balmoral over the other choices in Edinburgh.


Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian. We were guests for two evenings staying in a Deluxe Castle View room. Our room measured about 350 square feet with high, ten foot ceilings, a reasonable size for a European hotel in a landmark building. Our room (#400) had a tall window in the corner affording a direct view of the Edinburgh Castle with St Cuthbert’s clock tower in the foreground. A second large window in the bathroom offered the same view. I enjoyed the sunrise and sunset views from my window, although the window placement was such that one had to stand directly in front of the window in order to see the view. There was no real view from the center of the bedroom.

The interior style is traditional, walls painted grey-green to a height of eight feet with a two-foot strip of wallpaper above with a design of thistle over a dark gold field. The room would definitely benefit from a lighter, updated colors and rethought hard goods (the furniture was rather nondescript). WiFi was fast and reliable, but the desk lacked proper outlets. The bathroom had a large double vanity with plenty of shelf space and a shower in the bathtub.

Housekeeping left something to be desired. We asked for extra towels the first day which were brought right up, but but when housekeeping made up the room the next morning, they left only one set of clean towels. Turn-down service turned down just a corner of the sheets on one side of the bed but did not leave water on the table or slippers by the bed.

The hotel’s best feature is its convenient location with an easy walk to the Edinburgh Castle.


G&V Royal Mile Hotel, formerly branded The Missoni, is a design hotel that bills itself as the only five star hotel right on the Royal Mile. (G&V stands for George and Victoria). The hotel has a creative and modern interior design, having worked with several local interior designers in Edinburgh and given each the freedom to design something unique. The results are imaginative and almost whimsical. Bottom line: though it’s not my style, I loved it!

There are four room categories — Standard (not yet renovated), Superior, Deluxe, and Suites. We did not see a lead-in Standard/Superior Room (just 28 square meters). We were shown a Deluxe room, 32 square meters in area. Though the room has no closet (just an armoire) and a very small bathroom, the most is made of the available space, and the room felt comfortable to me. The tiny bathrooms have no tubs (just a step-in shower) and a small single vanity. Suites, on the other hand, are spacious and quite unique. Some offer both a shower and soaking tub.

Bottom line: unless the small rooms and tiny bathrooms are an absolute turn-off, and if you want to be on the Royal Mile in the heart of Edinburgh’s touristic attractions, G&V Royal Mile is worth a try. I think it would be fun to spend a couple of nights here in a Deluxe Room or Suite.

We were hosted for lunch at the hotel’s exceptional Italian restaurant, Cucina, which I can highly recommend.


ST. ANDREWS

The Old Course Hotel is not what I expected. From the name and its location, I anticipated an older, traditional hotel in a building whose architecture matched its setting in the historic town of St. Andrews. Instead, the Old Course Hotel is a contemporary building with 144 rooms, built in the 1960’s, with two floors of guest rooms (and a very few on the ground floor). On walking in the front door, the elegant decor reminded me of a Ritz Carlton — or perhaps a step up, as the doormen were dressed in tails and live piano music from the Afternoon Tea wafted into the lobby. Quite an upscale first impression.

As the hotel was quite full, we were only able to see two rooms. The Eden King room (320 square feet) is the lead-in category. The room feels like a Superior and the dimensions seemed a bit long and narrow, although the narrowness of the room was somewhat mitigated by the full mirrored wall behind the bed. The bathroom was small with a single vanity and shower in the tub. Eden Rooms face the front of the hotel with a view of the parking lot and road.

If you’re going to St. Andrews to experience its golfing ambiance, you’ll definitely want to book an Old Course Room, slightly larger at 337 square feet but directly facing the double fairway of the 2nd and 17th holes of the Old Course. It was enchanting to stand in the room for a few minutes and watch the golfers play this historic course.

The Old Course Suite we were shown has the same fairway view. These large suites are 647 square feet. Entering the living room, there is a short passage around the bathroom (the room is “U-shaped”) to the bedroom. Walls in the suites have silk wallpaper, and the bathrooms offer both a step-in shower and jacuzzi soaking tub.

The Old Course Hotel offers a Golf Concierge service to store your clubs as well as enter you in the lottery for a tee time at St. Andrews. Playing golf on the Old Course is a bucket list item for many golfers, especially on a “big” birthday, and the Old Course Hotel is definitely where you’ll want to plan your celebration.

A member of Virtuoso.


Rufflets Country House is a four star country inn a few miles from the center of St. Andrews, and it delivers exactly what it promises. A solid four star experience, comfortable room (though the bathroom is tiny with just a toilet, sink, and step-in shower), an excellent restaurant, and a beautiful garden behind the hotel. There’s a cute stuffed teddy bear on the bed which serves as your “do not disturb sign” (just leave it outside your door).

The inn attracts an older, upscale clientele (although it’s set up for weddings and probably gets quite a few wedding buy-outs). The other guests during our stay were local (or near-local) couples, quite nicely dressed, enjoying a weekend getaway.

Not Virtuoso, but it’s part of Celebrated’s collection. Guests receive complimentary daily breakfast for two, free WiFi access, and the Celebrated Perk lets you bring your teddy bear home with you.



INVERNESS

Culloden House

A four star Manor House located several miles outside of Inverness, Culloden House was our home for two evenings. It has a storied history, once serving as headquarters for Bonnie Prince Charlie who led the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. Culloden House offers a striking first impression. Driving down a wooded lane, guests pass through stone gates where they see the manor house centered at the far end of a very large lawn.

The main floor contains the reception area, bar, living room/lounge, and dining room, all with impressive 16 foot ceilings and high windows. Guest rooms are on the second and third floors. Second floor rooms were originally bedrooms for family members and feature high ceilings. Third floor rooms were originally for the help and have lower ceilings. We stayed in two second floor suites — # 12, a very large open floor plan suite with two queen beds — and # 15, a true 1BR Suite with a King bed. Bathrooms had showers-in-the-tub.

I saw several third floor guest rooms during a brief site inspection. These were significantly smaller with low ceilings and somewhat obstructed views. Given the quite reasonable rates here, I strongly recommend booking a Suite on the second floor.

Culloden House has a “homey” elegance and a real sense of local character. With a thorough soft goods renovation, the hotel would really shine! The building has real character, and Culloden House’s restaurant serves exceptionally fine meals. Not Virtuoso but part of the Celebrated Collection, room rates include an a la carte breakfast and free internet. The Celebrated Perk is a welcome drink and gift..


Looking for a nearby casual dinner one night? Culloden Moor Inn, just three miles from the House, is a family restaurant patronized by the locals where I enjoyed the beer battered Haddock and chips and a glass of Guinness.



TORRIDON

The Torridon is a wonderful four star lodge overlooking Loch Torridon, The Torridon was originally built in 1887 as a private hunting lodge. It has been converted into a hotel and has twice won the AA designation as the best hotel in Scotland. The Torridon is located in the scenic Wester Ross region of Scotland, and it is an ideal destination for active travelers. Potential activities include hiking, climbing, archery, kayaking, and fishing. Instead, we did a full day trip to Applecross, a scenic drive with some incredible scenery.

Room choice is important here. Lead in Classic and next category Superior rooms are rather small, with Superior rooms having a view of the Loch. We were assigned two Superior rooms on the third floor. Our room (#16) was L-shaped with the long, narrow axis of the room facing windows with a very nice view of the Loch. Although the room decor is very attractive, the dark wallpaper absorbed much of the light from the windows, and the room was dark. Josh & Jessi were blocked in the adjacent Superior room (#15) built under the dormers. Although the floor space was larger, the space was visually constrained because of the angled walls. Bathrooms had a single vanity and shower in the tub.

Much nicer was the Classic room we were shown in the back of the house. Although it did not enjoy a lake view, the view of the woods was pretty and the dimensions of the room were much more appealing to me. But definitely book a Deluxe or, even better, Master room — and request a second floor room for the high ceilings. Bathrooms were larger with a separate soaking tub, step-in shower, and single vanity.

We were also shown two Suites, but unless a separate living room is an absolute must, a Master Room is definitely the way to go at The Torridon.

Not Virtuoso but part of the Celebrated collection, breakfast is included in the room rate. The Celebrated Perks are complimentary tickets to the Gardens at Inverse and a complimentary half day activity.


OBAN

Glenburnie House is an elegant and comfortable B&B in Oban on the west coast of Scotland, a spot you would visit as a jumping off point to the the Isle of Skye or the Hebrides islands. Oban has a busy port with ferries coming and going almost constantly to the islands — and even cruises on The Majestic Line between Oban and Inverness. We stayed here because the B&B is owned by the boyfriend of one of our FS reps in the U.K., and it was a great chance to connect. We also did a day trip to Iona.

We were given the best room in the house, a large second floor bedroom with a large bay window facing west over the water. We had a beautiful sunset view from our window. The room was comfortable and very attractively furnished, and the bathroom had a single vanity and step-in shower.

Not a hotel, so hotel services were not provided. WiFi is free, and the included breakfast was quite good with a buffet of cold items and hot items cooked to order.



GLENEAGLES

Gleneagles is an elegant golf resort less than one hour from Edinburgh and Glasgow, probably the closest thing in the UK to a Four Seasons or Ritz-Carlton resort. Though it has just 232 rooms, the resort is set on an 850 acre estate with three 18 hole golf courses and recreational facilities for shooting, falconry, and horse riding. The resort also has a full-featured spa with an amazing outdoor hot pool as well as four restaurants.

We were ensconced in a pre-renovated (by our request) third floor Estate Room with a beautiful view out the front of the hotel. The room was large, bright, and comfortable with high ceilings. The bathroom in this particular room was long and narrow, but I was delighted because this was my first (and only) bathroom with a double vanity for the entire trip. The shower was in the tub. However, not all rooms have the same configuration; Josh and Jessi’s room did have a step-in shower.

Our reception was wonderful, and the front desk did a great job of providing us with a new room when the very recently renovated room in which we were originally blocked was too new to have out-gassed. The food was very good and the breakfast buffet was extensive; however some clients have commented about slow service at meals. The main dining room has the sense of a large dining room on a cruise ship, with guests all ordering from the same prix fixe menu with a limited number choices. Prices for food and activities seem quite high.

Gleneagles is particularly recommended for the following:
(1) If you’re coming to Scotland to play golf at Gleneagles and want a large and luxurious resort, sparing no expense (more than experiencing a sense of place), then it's a good choice.

(2) If you're traveling with a family, need connecting rooms, and want the wide range of activities (shooting, falconry, archery, and horse riding) plus swimming pool, it's a great family resort.

(3) Foodies who are collecting Michelin stars will want to stay and dine at Andrew Fairlie
Gleaneagles is not the place to stay if you want a small, local, country house experience.

A member of Virtuoso.



GLASGOW

Hotel du Vin at One Devonshire Gardens is the Virtuoso choice in Glasgow, and it’s something special. Five adjoining townhouses in the affluent residential West End of Glasgow have been joined to create a boutique hotel with just 49 rooms. Each of the five townhouses has its own entrance and retains its original central hall and staircase (with stained glass at the top of the stairs). Quite close to the University of Glasgow campus, this is an ideal hotel if you have business at the University or are visiting a son or daughter attending school there.

The hotel is utterly charming. Being in a landmark buildings, rooms can be small (as with many European hotels), but the sense of authenticity and place make Hotel du Vin a very special treat.


Blysthswood Square was home for our final two nights in Scotland. We were blocked in two high ceilinged rooms on the first floor with an outside connector — a Classic King and a Deluxe King. Our Deluxe King was a comfortable room with two large and very tall Colonial windows facing the green park across the street, Blysthswood Square. The room was equipped with a sofa and two armchairs, as well as a desk with outlets conveniently provided at desk level. Styling was contemporary — clean and attractive. Our marble bathroom (brown marble with white veins) had a soaking tub (although with vertical walls, making it less than ideal for soaking in the water), a step-in shower, a WC, and a single vanity.

While the adjoining Classic King was a bit smaller, it was on the corner of the building with three large windows which provided great natural light for the room.

Blytheswood Square is a boutique hotel with a great location, easy walking distance to a large pedestrian mall and some good restaurants (notably a gastropub named The Butterfly and the Pig just around the corner!). The hotel has a spa in its basement, including indoor jacuzzi pools. If you’re traveling on business in Glasgow and need to be in this part of town, the hotel is highly recommended. Not part of Virtuoso, but breakfast and WiFi are included in the rates, and it’s part of the Celebrated Collection.

Last edited by DavidO; Oct 15, 15 at 12:21 pm
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Old Oct 13, 15, 6:14 am
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Really enjoyed your pictures this trip, David. Nice write-up.

How was the scotch?
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Old Oct 13, 15, 6:20 am
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Excellent review

Maybe I'm misunderstanding your review of The Balmoral but Lord Forte had nothing to do with the design of the original hotel he wasn't even born until after the hotel was built and didn't open his first cafe until the mid 1930s
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Old Oct 13, 15, 7:08 am
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Originally Posted by pricesquire View Post
Really enjoyed your pictures this trip, David. Nice write-up.

How was the scotch?
I second that. Nice hotels, but tell us about the Single Malts.
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Old Oct 13, 15, 8:14 am
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Originally Posted by Kettering Northants QC View Post
Excellent review

Maybe I'm misunderstanding your review of The Balmoral but Lord Forte had nothing to do with the design of the original hotel he wasn't even born until after the hotel was built and didn't open his first cafe until the mid 1930s
Hmmm... that's what the sales manager told me. Perhaps she was misinformed - or I misunderstood (always possible in a jet-lagged state).
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Old Oct 13, 15, 4:10 pm
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Excellent review of some of the leading properties in Scotland. Having been to all of them except for the Glasgow properties, I tend to agree with all of your assessments.

EDINBURGH: I stayed at the Caledonian when it was just a Hilton, and it was very pleasant and among the nicest Hiltons at which I'd stayed. Since being converted to Waldorf, however, I think it fails at its price point compared with the Balmoral--which I agree is wonderful. I'd stayed at the Royal Mile when it was still the Missoni, and I did love it. I love the chic modern style and boutique nature of the property, and friends had told me its new ownership/management is still top drawer. For those wanting boutique who like modern, this is the best bet--but I agree a suite is better and more spacious. Otherwise, the Balmoral is the best in town overall. I'd stay again at either the Balmoral or Royal Mile depending on what rates were available.

HIGHLANDS: Three other hotels I'd mention that you didn't get the chance to visit are Inverlochy Castle (Fort William, about an hour north of Alban), Kinloch Lodge (Isle of Skye), and the Boath House (Nairn, maybe 30 min east of Inverness).

Inverlochy Castle is a beautiful property with great service, food, and nice rooms/suite, and in a spectacular location.

Kinloch Lodge is a small lodge with a main lodge and a secondary lodge building on a remote point looking out to the incredible loch and mountainous views to the mainland. Service was fantastic, and the food was near Michelin level. It was a bit formal. But we loved it.

The Boath House is a very traditional boutique hotel with just 8 rooms, one of which is a Cottage separate from the main building, with tremendous service and even more tremendous food--the restaurant had a Michelin star and was FABULOUS. This is a great place to stay while checking out the multitude of Speyside distilleries. There is the Craigellachie Hotel not 25-30 min away with its incredible bar offering over 600 single malts by the dram, which is a much cheaper alternative in the thick of Speyside whisky country. (FWIW, my husband proposed to me while staying in the Cottage of the Boath House.)

I am a single malt fanatic (we have a whisky bar at home showcasing my 650+ whiskies), so I visit Scotland every several years--and am overdue for my next visit.

Thanks again for your reviews of such wonderful properties in one of my favorite places in the world.

Last edited by bhrubin; Oct 13, 15 at 11:48 pm
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Old Oct 13, 15, 9:00 pm
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A bit OT here but just want to ask season travelers, is Edinburgh a nice place to visit? It's a short flight / train from London which I visited every year.
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Old Oct 13, 15, 9:58 pm
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Originally Posted by BENLEE View Post
A bit OT here but just want to ask season travelers, is Edinburgh a nice place to visit? It's a short flight / train from London which I visited every year.
Yes , have been there a few times since the '70s .
The UK isn't that big , the adventurous or those that love cars can & will drive up . Have done various modes of transport , even by coach as a student when there was an airport strike . Haven't done the route by rail recently .

Very happy that there are actually a few hotels in Scotland that now belong in this forum . Have appreciated the improvements through the years . My parents lived in Edin in the '50s / '60s
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Old Oct 14, 15, 9:10 am
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Having stayed at the Balmoral during the Fringe Festival, I have to say that if this is the best there is in town, I'd hate to be in the second best.

This is one of those hotels with the key holder by the door that turns off the power when removed, something housekeeping did every time they serviced the room, despite repeated requests to the contrary, which the desk said would be honored. The few times they left the keycard in, they turned off each light individually.

Furniture in my room, which admittedly was at or near entry level, was old and tired. Service in general was weak.

The whole place had a kind of faded glory feel to it.
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Old Oct 14, 15, 11:24 am
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
Having stayed at the Balmoral during the Fringe Festival, I have to say that if this is the best there is in town, I'd hate to be in the second best.

This is one of those hotels with the key holder by the door that turns off the power when removed, something housekeeping did every time they serviced the room, despite repeated requests to the contrary, which the desk said would be honored. The few times they left the keycard in, they turned off each light individually.

Furniture in my room, which admittedly was at or near entry level, was old and tired. Service in general was weak.

The whole place had a kind of faded glory feel to it.
Yikes, that doesn't sound good, indeed. We've always stayed in a suite, and our service experience had always been great. They did leave the keycard in for us without any issue after we made the request. Of course, we never stayed during a high visit period, usually preferring lower occupancy times like April, May, November, and December. Sorry.
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Old Oct 21, 15, 1:00 am
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I'm just back from a brief break in Scotland, taking advantage of some miraculously good autumn weather on the west coast. We stayed at The Airds at Port Appin, a long-standing Relais & Chateaux member. Not strictly speaking a luxury hotel and our room (the last available) had some drawbacks, especially its dated bathroom, but it is a fabulous place to stay for a few days. However, as 5C members we were given no special treatment or amenities.

On the way back we stopped for one night at Cromlix, near Dunblane. This is the hotel bought by tennis champ Andy Murray. It's part of SLH and as Club members we were upgraded to the Bruce Suite - one of the best rooms we've ever had anywhere. Downstairs there are lounges, a chapel and a snooker room and the bar. The bar is far more contemporary than the main part of the hotel and it's also a sort of transitionary space from the hotel to the decidedly 21st century, metropolitan restaurant which is run by Albert Roux's company. The hotel is managed by Inverlochy Castle and it's obviously a huge success. Its hard product and service levels are seriously in the luxury class.
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Old Oct 21, 15, 4:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Pausanias View Post
I'm just back from a brief break in Scotland, taking advantage of some miraculously good autumn weather on the west coast. We stayed at The Airds at Port Appin, a long-standing Relais & Chateaux member. Not strictly speaking a luxury hotel and our room (the last available) had some drawbacks, especially its dated bathroom, but it is a fabulous place to stay for a few days. However, as 5C members we were given no special treatment or amenities.
..

We stayed nearby at Pierhouse Hotel albeit 8 years ago , & wondered about staying at The Airds ( but did have a delightful dinner there ) . Chose this as it was right on the waters edge & situated at the very end of the road .
Wasn't quite luxury back then but bereft of choices there . Lovely views from our " room / suite " .
Just relieved that our car wasn't adrift when we woke every morning as the water sure came close to the parking area at high tide on that rocky stony beach .
Had thought they weren't serious when they told us & others to park where we did . Thought quite an " adventure " it would have been if we found our vehicles all afloat .
From what I recall , the meals were excellent , & we were very pleasantly surprised .

Last edited by FlyerEC; Oct 22, 15 at 2:18 am Reason: Add information
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Old Oct 23, 15, 7:23 am
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The Highlands - always lovely

Interesting report from the OP.

If your traveling is focused on food, you might wish to stay at only 4 rooms 21212 Paul Kitching in Edinburgh. The rooms are stunning and the chef as well as his food are eclectic.

Agree regarding Cromlix House, this is the new generation of country house hotels with less formality, but real service and easy going high quality food. This is sadly not the case for Inverlochy Castle, where Michelin was right to remove its star. The rooms are still fantastic, Jane Watson a fantastic GM, but the whole experience is now outdated and gone with the jacket and tie story.

Torridon is the new top performer, the rooms to go are # 3, 4 or 5.

Airds is what it is, cosy and good food in a romantic location.

Going to the Isle of Skye consider two top Michelin star places: Kinloch Lodge in the traditional country house style and Three Chimneys for a more temporary feel - my best meal in Scotland.

Regarding Culloden House, prefer the Boath House, despite a certain surly arrogance of the owner family and weird service techniques.

Not all of them might be Virtuoso .
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Old Jul 10, 17, 11:31 am
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Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa, St. Andrews, Scotland, UK [REVIEW:PHOTOS]

September 2016, Our 2 nights/3 days stay experiences

My fiancť and I knew the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa in St. Andrews from the Leading Hotels of the World catalogue and always wanted to stay there. Since a few months it is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts Legend Collection.

Until recently the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa had been on our back burner somewhat, but decided the time was right to go in September 2016 for two nights.

We figured out how to best reach St. Andrews from Glasgow by public transport.

We took the Stage Coach Bus from Buchanan Street Bus Station to St. Andrews Bus Station. The journey took approximately 2 hours 45 minutes and was scenic.

The cost was 18 GBP return per person, ca. 20.45 Euro or ca. 22.75 USD.

The Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa is situated at the outskirts of St. Andrews, which isnít a problem since the town itself is small, but famous for its university, golf and Prince William and Kate Middleton.

The walk to the Old Course Hotel took ca. 10 minutes from the main bus station.

On the way golf history already started with plaques related to it, including Old Tom Morrisís home (a golfer, club and ball maker, greenskeeper, instructor and course designer) and the New Golf Club and the Swilcan Bridge at the 18th hole of the Old Course.

The hotel felt overall very romantic with lots of flowers and other plants around the main entrance, in the lobby, on the floors and room.

We were greeted warmly by Tam, who wore a kilt, and was the doorman. He is an asset to the hotel, because he had generally time for a chat, for example about our Harrods bag with a West Highland White Terrier on it. He owns two of the breed, called Terry and Toby. He gave us also the tip to go to the West Deck, a viewing terrace on the 4th floor for spectacular views from the hotel. He is also on the hotelís own video.

Tam took our luggage and brought us to reception. Check in was done quickly and friendly. We were offered Prosecco and ginger beer as welcome drinks. Normally there would be Champagne too, but it had run out and hadnít been replaced yet we had been informed.

Beside our keys we received a resort/surroundings map, which was appreciated.

We were accompanied to our Old Course Room with a view, which was on the second floor. Each room is named after a famous golf player and ours was the Henry Cotton Room, who was active from the 1920s to the 1950s.

Originally we had been in contact with the hotel via email to book our table at the Sands Grill and to request if possible a room with a balcony.

Unfortunately this time we didnít have a balcony. On the other side we were very happy, because it was a large corner room with great views over the 17th hole, the sea and St. Andrews.

The layout was a bit unusual with large panorama bay windows, which could be opened.

Color scheme was mostly brown, red and beige, everything felt natural to the location and of high quality in a traditional way and setting.

The carpet was golf themed too with crossed clubs.

The king sized bed was large with six pillows and a heavy duvet. Even if it was only September the nights could be a bit cool and it kept us warm and comfortable.

There was a seating area for two with a coffee table and St. Georgeís and Welcome to the Kingdom of Fife Magazines.

On the large, classic writing desk was a telephone. It didnít work though. There was a second one on one of the night stands, so it didnít bother us, but we mentioned it at check out. The receptionist was grateful and promised it would be taken care of.

A mirror above the writing desk and across one wall enhanced the feeling of having a large room.

We also found the Directory, Connoisseur Scotland, information about the Dukeís Course and in room dining and the Kohler Waters Spa menu. The hotel is owned by the American plumbing products manufacturer Kohler, so all the appliances and bath room products were by them.

Kohler Waters Spa treatments range in price from 30 GBP (ca. 34.20 Euro / ca. 39.10 USD) to 290 GBP (ca. 330.60 Euro / ca. 377.75 USD).

The artwork was paintings of Loch Lommond, Loch Summit, St. Andrews, the ruins of St. Andrewsí Castle and the Links was beautiful arranged in our room throughout.

The large flat screen TV had 146 local and international channels including all Sky Sports, BBC World, CNBC and Bloomberg among many others.

There was a credenza and a minibar, which contained Fentimenís Ginger Beer and Rose Lemonade, Tonic water, Coca Cola, Peroni and Bellhaven Beer, Highland Spring water and spirits. Costs for the soft drinks ranged between 2 GBP to 3.50 GBP (ca. 2.30 Euro / ca. 2.60 USD to ca. 4 Euro / ca. 4.55 USD), beer from 4 GBP (ca. 4.60 Euro / ca. 5.20 USD) and spirits from 6.50 GBP (ca. 7.40 Euro / ca. 8.45 USD).

Tea and coffee making facilities were available too and the tea was provided by Twinnings.

The wardrobe was good sized and allowed the storage of some items suitable for longer stays.

Romantic touches were the fan and the Orchid on the writing desk.

There was of course air condition too which worked well.

The free WIFI was fast at all times .

Turn down was offered every night and included two bottles of Highland Spring Water.

The bathroom was medium sized with a bath tub/rain fall shower combination, which was very deep.

The sink was a bit unusual due to it being rippled. Bathroom amenities were by Kohler Water Spa Hollyhock. We loved them and would have liked to buy the soap at the Spa Shop. Unfortunately they werenít available there.

Materials used were marble, granite and wood.

Water pressure was good and no problems with temperature changes.

On our first evening we made use of the 24 hour in room dining.

We ordered a large bottle of Highland Spring still water, one hot chocolate, one traditional smoked salmon, the Isle of Mull Cheddar and Vine Tomato Sandwich, plus the Old Course Sandwich selection, which included Scottish Smoked Salmon, cucumber and cream cheese, honey glazed ham and chutney, free range egg and cress, again Isle of Mull Cheddar and Vine Tomato and prawn, dill and lemon. Our desserts were the coconut panna cotta with pineapple Carpaccio and summer berry infusion with lemon sorbet. Everything was very good and fair value at 55.25 GBP (ca. 63 Euro / ca. 72 USD).

The room was comfortable and we liked looking out of the windows to enjoy the views or spending time at the seating area, talking for hours.

Breakfast was included in our rate and was served at the Road Hole Restaurant, which is the fine dining venue in beautiful and traditional surroundings.

The Road Hole was located on the same floor as the viewing terrace. It had floor to ceiling windows, overlooking the golf course. The maÓtre dí brought us each morning to our table. All cold items were available at the buffet and hot dishes, tea and coffee could be ordered from the waiting staff. A luxurious touch was that the a la carte items were unlimited.

The buffet offered one of the largest selections during our trip to Scotland in Sep. 2016 and included different types of bread, cold cuts, fruits and fruit salads, haggis, yogurt, jams, vegetables, cereals and much more. The only item I couldnít find was cheese for some reason.

The A la carte pancakes and Eggs Benedict were very tasty too.

Other restaurant and bars on and off the premises were the Road Hole Bar, Sands Grill (where we had dinner), the Jigger Inn (a traditional pub) and Hams Hame.

There were also shops in the hotel and the Golfino Store in a quaint little house on the grounds.

We went to the Old Course Golf Shop and bought a few items. We could undisturbed browse until we made our choice. We chatted with the sales person for a bit and when she found out it was our first time in St. Andrews she proactively offered us a map and suggested to leave our purchases with her Ė charging them to the room account was no problem at all. She would make sure they were delivered to our room. The map came in handy and the goods were on our room when we returned.

On a side note St. Andrews is unsuitable for late risers. Most shops and the sights, like the castle or cathedral, close early at ca. 17.00/17.30 hours.

Check out approached very fast Ė as usual and was done by a trainee. There was only one small hiccup.

We had prepaid our stay and booked via hotels.com, but for some reason the overnight rate was shown on the bill as still outstanding. With help from a colleague the issue was solved within minutes and we were on our way.

We loved St. Andrews and the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa. Both are romantic and a good place to relax by the sea including a visit to the British Golf Museum which we equally very much enjoyed.

Service standards were high as was the food quality and everyone encountered was friendly. We would return again, because we missed a few sights and found a gelateria we would like to try and would love to experience the Old Course Hotel again in our future.

Here are some of our images we took during our stay at the memorable Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa, St. Andrews in September 2016:




































Would we recommend this landmark resort to a friend? YES! ^
Would we want to stay at this landmark resort in our future again? YES! ^

Thank you & Safe Travels.
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Old Jul 10, 17, 11:53 am
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Sands Grill at the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa, St. Andrews, Scotland, UK

Sands Grill at the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa, St. Andrews, Scotland, UK [REVIEW: PHOTOS]

September 2016, Our Dinner Experiences

On our second evening of our three day stay at the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa (please see our review, above) my fiancť and I had dinner at the Sands Grill.

The restaurant was located on the ground floor and had a clubby upscale atmosphere with dark furniture and green upholstery.

The staff was warm and efficient.

Fellow diners were international and of all age groups.

The Market Menu, which is available in lots of Scottish upscale restaurants, was good value at 35 GBP per person (ca. 40 Euro / ca. 45.30 USD) and we liked the choice of dishes, so we decided to go for this and not for a la carte.

The cuisine can be described as light and classic with some experimental touches.

Our drinks were a large bottle of still Highland Spring water, one Tia Maria and two hot chocolates.

Our starters were roasted pigeon breast, chocolate, parsnip, passion fruit. It caused some debate between us. We liked the dish and the slightly unusual combination. He thought the passion fruit was too few. I thought the amount was just right. We are a bit different in that regards.

His main course was gnocchi with sundried tomatoes and mozzarella. Mine was sea bass fillet with shrimp and mussel sauce and potatoes.

Normally gnocchi dishes are too large and heavy. This one was just right.
The shrimps and mussels were very generous and the dish was tasty.

Our desserts included raspberry panna cotta with vanilla ice cream and plum crumble with custard and vanilla cream.

The bill was 89.90 GBP, ca. 102.50 Euro, ca. 116.30 USD.

Overall we had a very pleasant evening and would have a meal at the Sands Grill again, when staying at the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa in St. Andrews.

Here are some of our images we took during our dinner at the Sands Grill, Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa in September 2016:













Would we recommend this restaurant to a friend? YES! ^
Would we want to enjoy lunch/dinner again at this restaurant in our future? YES! ^

Thank you and safe travels.
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