Travel: Macdonald Rusacks Hotel, St Andrews

Macdonald Rusacks Hotel, St Andrews
Macdonald Rusacks Hotel, St Andrews
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Scotland on Sunday, Do Not Disturb

Overlooking the 18th hole of the Old Course, this is first and foremost a golfing hotel and the general feel is of old-style comfort, with open fires and rich colours featuring throughout. Framed portraits of famous golfers adorn the walls and some of the rooms are named after legends who have graced the neighbouring course.

A bedroom at Macdonald Rusacks Hotel, St Andrews

A bedroom at Macdonald Rusacks Hotel, St Andrews

Budget or boutique?

With rooms from £99 per night, the price point belies the location and luxury of the hotel, making this a more affordable boutique option –although a suite will set you back about £500 a night.

Room service

We stayed in the Tom Morris Junior suite, which has views of the Old Course, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club and across St Andrews Bay. Comprising a large living area with sofas and a fireplace, and a dining table situated in the bay window, a large, modern bathroom or “loo with a view” and a king bedroom, the suite would put most one-bedroom flats to shame.

Decorated in muted plums, red and beige, the decor fitted in well with the walnut and period furniture in the rooms and was in keeping with the hotel’s Victorian building. Splashes of plaid gave a Scottish feel without being too twee.

Wining and dining

The hotel recently appointed Michelin-starred chef Tony Borthwick to take over at the AA Rosette Rocca restaurant. Borthwick, a former Scottish Chef of the Year, focuses on fresh seasonal produce in his menu which, during our stay, included seafood and game. A six-course tasting menu with wine flight is available alongside the a la carte options. We chose starters of cured salmon served with compressed cucumber, lemon, hazelnuts and fennel and a risotto of trompette mushrooms, Parmesan crisp and cep foam. Mains were halibut with clams, seafood chowder and chorizo and a fillet of beef served with savoy cabbage, mashed potato, puy lentils, and shallot confit. Desserts were a selection of Scottish and European cheeses and a delightful cherry soufflé served with blackcurrant sorbet.

Guests can enjoy the views and a vast range of whiskies in the R bar, which overlooks the course and benefits from floor to ceiling windows. Leisurely afternoon tea can also be taken here, as well as bar snacks.

Below the bar is the One Under gastropub, which serves traditional pub grub such as fish and chips, chicken with haggis and burgers, a selection of beers, wines and spirits and is the perfect spot to catch up on the latest sporting fixtures.

The hotel is also home to Blendworks, a classroom where guests can experience the St Andrews’ own Eden Mill gin blending masterclass.

Worth getting out of bed for

The hotel is a five-minute walk from the town centre where you’ll find many independent shops as well as a chain or two. The castle, cathedral and aquarium are a 15-minute walk away and the university buildings are close by.

As the hotel has no spa facilities, those looking for a relaxing afternoon can book into the Old Course Kohler spa or the (further away) Fairmont signature spa. If you’d rather get back to nature, take a leisurely stroll along the West Sands beach.

Little extras

Arran Aromatic toiletries, plush robes and a mini bottle of red wine gave a five-star welcome.

Guestbook comments

This grand Victorian building, located right next to the 18th hole of the world famous Old Course is a haven for golf lovers. The views of the course and West Sands beach are unparalleled and foodies will love the two restaurants. It’s an ideal destination hotel for anyone looking to spend a leisurely few days in St Andrews.

Rosalind Erskine

Classic rooms are available from £99 a night, Executive rooms from £149 a night. Bed and breakfast from £119. There is an autumn/winter offer of £139 dinner, bed and breakfast including a complimentary cream tea with code ZH9 (terms and conditions apply). Macdonald Rusacks Hotel, Pilmour Links, St Andrews KY16 9JQ (0344 879 9136, www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk/our-hotels/macdonald-rusacks-hotel)