Kinnettles, St Andrews, Fife - hotel review, Scotland on Sunday travel

Kinnettles, 'St Andrews, where fine food is the order of the day
Kinnettles, 'St Andrews, where fine food is the order of the day
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Luxury is par for the course in this Fife hotel where boutique means big

It may not boast the kind of view of the Old Course that other St Andrews hotels offer, but Kinnettles is right in the heart of the Fife town, with its golfing hot spot, university, beach, castle, abbey and harbour just minutes away on foot.

Budget or boutique?

Although one of the most recent additions to the hospitality scene in St Andrews, the site’s origins as a hotel go back 140 years. Created by architects J Hall and D Henry, the existing building has retained a handsome facade, but inside is far removed from a traditional hotel after a makeover in 2017.

With just nine suites on offer, the emphasis is on understated elegance and luxury in the spacious sleeping quarters at Kinnettles, which worked with Perthshire-based interior designer Pat Renson to create a home-comforts vibe with its refurbishment.

Room service

It was hard to recall the last time I had seen such a large hotel room in a boutique hotel, but our top-floor suite also had its own lounge, with armchairs and flat-screen TV, while the luxurious tiled bathroom was stocked with ESPA skincare products and a walk-in shower.

Although the hotel is well-placed to capitalise on the golf market in St Andrews, there was only a nod to the game in our suite – a photograph in the lounge of Australian star Greg Norman with Hollywood icon Bob Hope at the Old Course.

However, Kinnettles offers a host of all-year-round golfing packages, including airport transfers in a luxury Mercedes, guaranteed tee times on the Old Course and a club valet service.

Wining and dining

Great care has gone into creating a high-quality culinary experience at Kinnettles, where the staff went out of their way to guide us through the tantalising menu choices as we sampled gin created at the Eden Mill Distillery a few miles away in Guardbridge.

A starter of Shetland mussels was given a real twist with an accompaniment of cider cream, pea shoots and croûte, while macaroni cheese was transformed by quail egg, asparagus, artichoke purée and crispy kale.

The accompaniments for the smoked pavé beef main course included artichoke crisps, mashed potato, baby beetroots, carrot purée and hazelnuts.

The salmon was served with pea and sage purée, fondant potato, fennel and celeriac rémoulade, and cherry tomato confit.

The best was yet to come courtesy of a sensational blackcurrant poached pear dessert, which included wild berry soup, strawberry meringues, buckthorn sorbet and lemon balm, then a mouthwatering selection from legendary cheesemonger IJ Mellis.

Worth getting out of bed for

No visit to St Andrews is complete without a bracing walk on its West Sands, the beach which featured in the opening sequence of Oscar-winning epic Chariots of Fire.

Equally unmissable is a visit to the ruins of St Andrews Castle, which dates back to the late 12th century. Available on a joint ticket with the cathedral, the castle visitor centre and atmospheric audio guide captures its turbulent past.

Another essential St Andrews experience is a venture through the warren of shelves of the timeless bookshop Topping and Co.

Little extras

Tucked below stairs, a space which formerly operated as a nightclub, the Lizard Lounge, has been transformed into the hotel’s bijoux Eden Spa. Warm, welcoming and open to non-residents, it offers a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi, plus a range of treatments, from a nail file and polish to a full-day luxury spa package.

Guest book comments

Kinnettles is elevated well above the average Scottish boutique with a superlative fine dining offer, as well as the super-friendly and efficient staff we encountered throughout our stay.

Brian Ferguson

Prices for a one-night stay start at £170 for bed and breakfast. Kinnettles, 127 North Street, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9AG (Tel: 01334 473 387, www.kinnettleshotel.com)