The Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa, St Andrews – Scotland on Sunday Travel

Rosalind Erskine takes a trip to golfers’ paradise to see how this grand dame of a hotel has been revamped.

Old Course Hotel Golf Resort and Spa, St Andrews, viewed from the Old Course.

The Old Course is as synonymous with St Andrews as bread is with butter, and its namesake hotel has dominated the skyline of the course since the 60s. Owned by the Kohler group, the luxury hotel has a whopping 175 rooms, Kohler Water Spa, gym facilities, an AA awarded restaurant and golf shop. It’s a leisure resort that has become a destination for golfers and those looking to relax for a weekend.

Cosed during 2020 and operating under restrictions in 2021, the hotel has had a revamp, with new rooms, penthouse and a restaurant added to the already large offering. Large, bright event spaces are available, ideal for weddings in a hotel that’s not ‘for golfers’ only. I went along to discover why this isn’t the case.

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Room service

Our room - one of the new 31 ‘Champions Wing’ - was light and airy with a small balcony overlooking the course and beach. With a light grey and dark purple colour palette, the bedroom sported two queen beds, a desk area, armchairs and a modern en suite with rain shower and double sinks.

Wining and dining

The Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa currently has six restaurants and bars. If that wasn’t enough, they’ve recently added an 80 cover restaurant, Swilcan Loft. Situated on the fourth floor, Swilcan Loft is next to the AA rosette Road Hole and very different in style. With floor to ceiling windows, it has a city cocktail bar vibe with jewel coloured seating, light parquet flooring, light grey panelling and tan leather banquettes and serves all day dining and international dishes with Scottish produce. We tucked into starters of a poached pear salad with blue cheese and walnuts, and chicken liver parfait. Mains were fillet of hake with crushed potatoes, pancetta, smoked mussels and spinach herb cream, and a Scottish black isle beef rib eye steak, with french fries and bernaise sauce. Desserts were a coconut and lime rice pudding and chocolate tart. Arrive early for a cocktail or two, featuring Scottish spirits, such as Arbikie’s climate positive gin or vodka, Nadar. My fruit pastel concoction was a refreshingly sweet start to dinner. Afterwards, a Glenfiddich old fashioned in the Road Hole bar was a great way to end the night.

For something more laid back, The Jigger Inn, located in what was the station master’s house, is ideal. Small in stature, this white washed bar has everything you’d want from a traditional pub – a great gantry of whiskies and spirits, sports on the TV and a menu of comforting classics. Go for the Cullen Skink and you won’t be disappointed.

The new Swilcan Loft restaurant at the Old Course Golf Resort and Spa, St Andrews.

Worth getting out of bed for

The obvious answer is golf, but if a four ball isn’t your thing St Andrews is a gem of a town. We took a stroll along to the beach and castle ruins and back through the town. There’s a small cinema as well as a range of restaurants, bars and coffee shops.

If you’d rather relax at the hotel, the spa is a must with its swimming pool, thermal suite including sauna and steam room and plunge pool. But it was a 50 minute custom massage that really got me into weekend mode and helped sort out my back and shoulders after 18 months working from my living room table.

Little extras

One of the 31 new Champions Wing rooms, part of the recent revamp of the hotel.

Noble Isle toiletries, cosy robes and slippers, a well stocked tea and coffee station plus the chance to take in the view at sunrise or sunset from the balcony made this room special.

Guestbook comments

Renowned as the ‘home of golf’, the luxury five-star hotel is situated on the most iconic golf course in the world – The Old Course – overlooking the 17th Road Hole and next to Swilcan Bridge, golf’s most famous, with breath-taking views of the coastlin. Ideal for golfers, it’s also great for foodies and spa day guests.

Hotel information

A starter of poached pear salad with blue cheese and walnuts, in the new 80 cover Swilcan Loft restaurant, named after the famous Old Course bridge.

Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa, Old Station Road, St Andrews, KY16 9SP (01334 474371, www.oldcoursehotel.co.uk)

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