Scotland on Sunday travel
Linked with some of the most famous games and names in golf – even if one of them is now the US president – Trump Turnberry has always been a byword for luxurious and indulgent living. Girvan claims to be the home of modern golf, although there are a few places – St Andrews, Musselburgh and Leith, for example – that would hotly dispute that.
We last stayed there almost 20 years ago, when the Grand Old Lady of Girvan was looking more than a little tired around the edges, albeit in the most genteel of ways. Millions have since been invested in the property and the hotel sparkles and gleams in almost any direction you care to look – and that’s not just down to the 172 chandeliers in the building. All of the refurbishment is entirely in sympathy with the place itself, so nothing seems out of character and the overall effect is one of relaxation, ease and comfort.
Budget or boutique?
Neither. This is properly understated luxury. Everything is finished to an exceptionally high standard – without ever tipping over into intimidating perfection of the kind where you’re afraid to disturb the facecloth display. From the second you are greeted at the entrance until the moment your head hits the pillow at night, you are made to feel that your every whim or caprice will be willingly fulfilled.
Wining and dining
There are various options, ranging in style and atmosphere, but of the same high standard. 1906, named after the year that the hotel opened, is the signature restaurant and opens for service at 19:06 every evening. The Lighthouse is set at the 9th hole of the King Robert The Bruce course and offers more casual dining with sandwiches, burgers and panini on offer. If that doesn’t fill you up, then The Duel in The Sun, named after the battle between Nicklaus and Watson in 1977 is the 19th hole for the Ailsa and King Robert The Bruce courses. It has, as you might expect from a clubhouse, a relaxed atmosphere.
The Grand Tea Lounge serves afternoon teas and lighter dishes throughout the day, while the bar has a very laid-back atmosphere with a fabulous cocktail list.
The rooms vary in size, from the Norman Suite, with its own balcony overlooking the Ailsa course, to family suites with interconnected bedrooms. Intended to be as rooms were in a grand Edwardian house, each has its own particular quirks and touches. We stayed in a room with a spectacular view of the sea and Ailsa Craig – the mist permitting.
A generous king-sized bed had sumptuous, feather-light bedding that just made you want to sink straight into it, and a large marble bathroom offered the opportunity to soak while you looked out over the golf course to the sea.
One unexpected treat was a carafe of tap water by the bed – accompanied by the hotel mission statement supporting the Your Water Your Life campaign which encourages everyone to drink from our own great tasting taps.
Worth getting out of bed for
Turnberry is undoubtedly a destination hotel – and you could cheerfully spend your entire stay without setting a foot outside. There is a fabulously indulgent spa to ease away the knots and aches from a day on their own championship golf course – or even on the Wee Links, a pitch-and-putt miniature version of the Ailsa.
However, there is plenty besides golf on offer, from horse riding, bicycles for hire, target shooting, treasure hunts and archery to quad biking.
If you don’t fancy the ghost tours of the hotel arranged by some of the staff, you can have a different view. An Open Kitchen policy means that you can ask to be taken in for a wee peek. For a more in-depth look at the workings of a five star kitchen, there is a chef’s table, which seats up to 10 and gives you a unique view into the kitchen all through services. Or the concierge can arrange foraging trips with the chefs.
Luxurious it most certainly is, but starched and stuffy it ain’t. You are made to feel your comfort and enjoyment are of paramount interest to each and every member of staff, and that’s a powerful enticement to return.
There are regular offers available and rooms with a full Scottish breakfast start from £159 per night and guest suites from £369. Trump Turnberry, Turnberry, Girvan, Ayrshire KA26 9LT (01655 331000, www.turnberry.co.uk)