Scotland on Sunday: Do Not Disturb
Golf: it’s what St Andrews is all about since shepherds knocked stones into rabbit holes with sticks back in the 12th century. The town now has seven courses, including the hallowed Old Course on which this AA five-star hotel stands. With 144 rooms, including 35 suites, it attracts professional golfers, A-listers, royalty and amateurs making a pilgrimage to the spiritual home of the sport. But it’s not all about birdies and bogies at the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa. A member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Legend Collection and owned by the Kohler group of luxury bathroom fame, there’s a spa where you can splash and luxuriate in hot tubs and enjoy treatments until the golfers come home. And for those who love food as much as golf, there’s the Road Hole Restaurant, where the presentation and quality of ingredients make every course memorable.
Budget or boutique?
Neither – it revels in unashamed luxury and pampering.
Our third-floor suite had floor-to-ceiling windows which overlooked the manicured Old Course fairways and greens and beyond to the arcing expanse of West Sands beach. Like the view, everything indoors was five-star too: silk-lined walls, pools of light from elegant table lamps and rich red textiles. A separate lounge area was a great place to watch the huge TV or enjoy the pre-dinner prosecco and canapés, while around the corner a double bed piled with crisp white pillows induced a contented night’s sleep. As you’d expect from the Kohler group, the bathroom was impressive, with a bath and a shower – all jets and rainfall – and pampering Kohler Waters Spa toiletries.
Robes, slippers, a minibar, kettle, coffee maker, tea, biscuits, water, an iron and hairdryer, were all supplied, and the whisky, shortbread and tablet from the turn-down service made a welcome nightcap.
Wining and dining
The Road Hole Restaurant is fine dining with an Old Course view and with the sea in sight, celebrates seafood with oysters, crab, lobster, scallops and various fish. Going with the theme we were rewarded with a culinary hole in one with starters of baked Anster cheese soufflé, West Coast hand-dived scallops, followed by deliciously fresh Kyle of Tongue oysters, North Atlantic halibut and herb-crusted Scottish lamb, while a sommelier guided us through 22 pages of wines.
We didn’t try the brasserie-style Sands Grill, but can vouch for the atmospheric Jigger Bar adjoining the hotel, where we enjoyed burgers and baguettes in the garden.
Breakfast is served in the Road Hole Restaurant, but for an extra £5 we enjoyed it in our room. Gallons of coffee, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, fruit and pastries set us up for a walk along the Old Course, open to the public and their dogs as it was Sunday.
Worth getting out of bed for
With the sunshine making a mockery of St Andrews’ Auld Grey Toon moniker, we headed for the beach, then along to the 13th century castle, where bathers splashed below the ruins. Should it rain there’s the golf museum, town museum and the aquarium. At the abbey, view the ornate monument to Young Tom Morris, the first superstar golfer.
Back at the hotel there’s the spa with its gym, pool, steam rooms, saunas and range of treatments, from which I enjoyed a Kohler Waters facial, which was so much more – including back exfoliation, facial exfoliation using a clarisonic machine, hand and arm treatment, shoulder, neck, face and scalp massage, brightening face mask, hand and arm massage and lower leg and foot massage, all with Kerstin Florian products.
A pre-arranged late check-out time was appreciated and best of all was the free Scotland on Sunday hanging on the doorknob on Sunday morning.
Even if you hate golf, you’ll love the Old Course Hotel, and come away a fan of both.
Eden View and Park Rooms from £399, Old Course View Suite from £560 per night per room, including breakfast and use of the Kohler Waters Spa Floor. Old Course Hotel St Andrews Golf Resort and Spa, Old Station Road, St Andrews KY16 9SP (01334 474371, www.oldcoursehotel.co.uk, www.kohlerwatersspa.com, www.PreferredHotels.com)