Hotel review: Fairmont St Andrews - Scotland on Sunday Travel Wishlist

Fairmont St Andrews is an expansive, imposing hotel on the fringes of the university town that uses its clifftop location and space to best effect.

West Coast hand dived scallops with burnt apple puree, salt baked celeriac, vanilla, apple and cider vinaigrette.

Overlooking its own links championship golf courses, it has views of the North Sea and town, while inside the high-ceilinged public spaces are filled with bright contemporary artworks and relaxing spaces in which to sit and eat, thanks to a recent multi-million pound renovation.

The large central atrium below the lighting sculpture by George Singer, which emulates shoals of fish in St Andrews Bay and the blowing reeds on the cliff tops, is cleverly divided for socially-distanced dining. Long warmly-lit corridors lead to more than 200 bright rooms where clutter is minimised but comfort ensured with tactile textiles.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A venue for the Northern Ireland peace talks and a G20 summit, the five star hotel, which clinched the Global Winner - Luxury Coastal Hotel at the World Luxury Hotel Awards 2020 last month, also has a spa complex with pool. Since reopening after lockdown it has also launched a range of guest ‘Space Experiences’, including coastal walks, cocktails and craft beers in a clifftop yurt and private talks with one of the hotel’s beekeepers and the chance to visit their 20 hives (bee suits provided).

The reception with the welcoming open fire and contemporary artwork, the one over the fireplace showing local golfing legend Old Tom Morris.

The coastal walk with St Andrews marine archaeologist Neil Dobson, who take guests of all ages on coastal walks and whose unparalleled local knowledge of the shoreline’s flora, fauna and history makes for an informative and fun few hours is not to be missed. Fairmont pack you a luxury backpack picnic too so when you find that perfect secluded beach en route, simply unpack it and feast on the goodies within – sandwiches, savouries and cakes – enough to fuel you all the way to St Andrews and back on a relaxed three-hour jaunt.

Covid precautions

As part of the Accor hospitality group, Fairmont benefits from ALLSAFE, with stringent cleaning standards and procedures that include face masks, sanitisers, contactless check-in, reinforced cleaning regimes and a dedicated guest hotline. For more information see https://all.accor.com/event/allsafe.en.shtml

Budget or boutique?

A ground floor garden view room at Fairmont St Andrews, which has more than 200 rooms.

Neither, it’s a large resort hotel with acres of space, inside and out, in which to relax, eat and drink, without anxieties about social distancing.

Room Service

Our twin king bedded room had an ensuite bathroom, sea views, desk and chairs. Amenities included tea and coffee making facilities, minibar, TV, wifi and in the ensuite bath and shower room, robes, slippers and toiletries by Ishga. There is an extensive in-room menu.

Wining and Dining

Guests have full access to the hotel's indoor heated swimming pool.

We enjoyed dinner in The Squire in the Atrium restaurant, where highlights included starters of zingy West Coast hand dived scallops with burnt apple puree, salt baked celeriac, vanilla, apple and cider vinaigrette, a main of tender Borders lamb loin and belly with garlic and parsley pesto and a velvety creme brulee.

In the morning, breakfast is also served here at tables, and poached eggs and a pile of pancakes and syrup from an extensive hot and cold menu were served piping hot, with endless hot drinks and toast.

Worth Getting Out of Bed For

If you’ve come for the golf, head for the famous Torrance and Kittock courses, which have hosted the Scottish Youth National Championship, the Scottish Senior Open and are an Open Qualifying site.

The Atrium with the impressive Zephyr lighting sculpture by artist George Singer, which emulates shoals of fish in St Andrews Bay and the blowing reeds on the cliff tops nearby.

If you prefer to stay put and relax, the renovated Fairmont Spa complex offers a range of treatments including locally-themed massages, facial and relaxation therapies and exclusive Ishga Skincare and Aromatherapy Associates treatments.

The hotel is right on the Fife Coastal path for a wander along the coast and Kingsbarns Distillery is a short walk or drive away for a tasty visit, and tours when restrictions allow.

Little Extras

After sampling the food at Fairmont you’ll have an appetite for more and now you can recreate it with a recipe booklet of 18 recipes from the group’s hotels worldwide.Their chefs from St Andrews to Singapore, Hawaii to the Maldives, have shared dishes including Pho ga tay, Vietnamese turkey noodle soup, lobster ravioli and Fairmont St Andrews’ own culinary director Alexander Haebe’s Boxing Day breakfast rösti. To download the recipes visit https://www.fairmont.com/pdfs/fairmont-sustainable-christmas-2020-final-high/

Guestbook Comments

Fairmont manages to make staying in a large, luxury resort, a bespoke, intimate affair.

Even if you're not a golf fanatic, the grounds of Fairmont have acres of space for exploration and appreciation of the coastaline.

For latest prices and deals see website [email protected]

Fairmont St Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom KY16 8PN, (+44 1334 837000, Fax +44 1334 837099, [email protected]

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

Fairmont St Andrews, the five star golf hotel and spa resort overlooking the town, has two championship golf courses.
Creme brulee, in The Squire and Atrium restaurant, where meals are served at socially-distanced tables.
View from the Fife Coastal Path across the the town of St Andrews.