WHEN we bought this place, it was a very messy student flat that needed a LOT of work,” explains Glen Malloy, owner of The Greyfriars Apartment in St Andrews, as he shows us round this newly refurbished holiday home.
Thanks to his efforts, this two- bedroom apartment is now the very antithesis of digs. The days of empty pizza boxes are long gone, and it’s been reborn as something akin to a New York bachelor pad.
Stacked neatly on a sideboard, there’s a back catalogue of Livingetc and Wallpaper – apt, as this place is like something that’s fallen out of an interiors magazine and reconstituted itself in three dimensions.
If you want to impress your a design-conscious sweetheart this Valentine’s Day, then a visit here might be the answer. After all, clean lines and designer nick-nacks are certainly sexier than itchy tartan throws and an in-room kettle.
We mooned over their living room, which boasts an ice white paint job, an aperture of a fireplace alongside a feature wall of stacked logs (display only) and the compulsory shaggy rug. There’s also a huge monochrome print of Twiggy in a Fairisle sweater, and the kind of furniture that looks like it’s straight out of a BoConcept showroom.
The galley kitchen is also white, but shiny too, with a fancy coffee machine and various knobs and twiddly bits. Even the bin has flashing lights on it. On our two night stay, I never quite worked out why.
The pair of conjoined double bedrooms (with a connecting door) are equally swish, with warm putty shades on the walls, thick carpets and various groovy ornaments, like giant glass bottles that look like they’ve been carved from Glacier Fruits. And don’t forget the bathroom, which boasts a rainfall shower and an ergonomic sink, with taps that have been designed by some kind of genius in the art of H20.
“Very nice, but what do we do in a place like this?” my other half asked.
We should have arranged somet hing glamorous – like cooking a meal-a-deux and eating it while donning designer eveningwear. Instead, we cracked open the Scrabble and perched it on the edge of their chocolate leather sofa. I won. Then, after deciphering which buttons to press on the selection of switchers, we watched some telly on the couch. Romance is not dead.
As far as St Andrews goes, this place is ideally located. Greyfriars Gardens is book-ended by South Street and Market Street. It’s only two minutes’ walk to The Links, West Sands and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club.
Should you have a craving for a burly burger, trendy new bar, kitchen and venue, The Vic, is right at the end of the street. Or, for even more casual eats, The Tailend is also on Market Street.
We were justified in our quest for the deep-fried stuff, as it was one of those very cold days, with an icy wind blowing in from the sea. We’d already done the prerequisite exercise – wandering round the ruins of the Cathedral of St Andrews, curving back along the clifftop pathway, popping into all the independent shops and idiosyncratic antique/junk shops, as well as perusing the bakes in Fisher & Donaldson.
Only a traditional fish supper could restart our internal combustion engines. Although, if you fancy something posher than haddock, The Tailend also offers langoustine, whitebait or smokies (it’s too posh for Mars bars, so don’t go there).
My other half, who hails from Moray, was overly excited about their white puddings. Apparently, they are “proper” ones – a rarity any further south of Inverness.
Should you choose to eat out, The Adamson is reliable for a mid-price splurge, though you may have to book in advance as its head chef, Scott Davies, is a local celebrity after his appearance on Masterchef: The Professionals last year. If you can’t get a table, try Mitchell’s Deli just down the road, or big spenders might prefer The Seafood Restaurant or The Peat Inn, the latter of which is in Cupar, just a short drive away.
Too many options? Then just linger in the apartment and pretend you’re living on the pages of an Elle Decoration magazine spread (just make sure to hide the chip wrappers).
The Adamson, 127 South Street, St Andrews (01334 479191, www.theadamson.com)
The Tailend, 130 Market Street, St Andrews (01334 474070)