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Issue 17 - St. Andrews: open all year

Scotland Magazine Issue 17
November 2004


This article is 13 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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St. Andrews: open all year

St. Andrews Golf Hotel sits high above the impressive West Sands – famed for the beach running sequence in the film Chariots of Fire.

St Andrews Golf Hotel 40 The Scores, St Andrews Tel: +44 (0)1334 472 611

St. Andrews Golf Hotel sits high above the impressive West Sands – famed for the beach running sequence in the film Chariots of Fire. Book a front-facing room and enjoy not only the most spectacular view of the crescent beach and links courses, but also the sounds of the sea: wild and stormy or summertime gentle.

For golfers worldwide this town is the Mecca of the game: and this hotel has the game in its very name. Enter by a flight of stairs from the promenade street The Scores. Why so called we don’t know but in the distance golfers have been heard moaning about their scores, racked up on the challenging Old Course itself – the most famous golf course in the world, certainly the original and best.

There is always something happening in St. Andrews. Prince William chose the Royal & Ancient town for his University career, and that fact in itself tells a story. He is a frequent visitor, we gather, at this hotel’s lively Ma Bell’s Bar on the basement level where sportsmen and students mix and enjoy the excellent home-made and reasonably priced food.

This is a true town house hotel: stone-built and traditional. And yet many of the 21 well equipped rooms have been redesigned with a contemporary twist. Accommodation is flexible and perfect for golf parties. The dining room is elegant and the Guide has often received high praise for the award winning cuisine. An ideal town base – and what a view!

Old Course Hotel Old Station Road, St Andrews Tel: +44 (0)1334 474 371

This much-garlanded hotel was recently voted the ‘World’s Leading Golf Resort’ at the highly credible World Travel Awards 2004, beating some of the most prestigious resorts including Sandy Lane in Barbados and Hyatt La Manga in Spain. So it was no shock when the hotel won the national golf hotel accolade at The Scottish Hotels of the Year Awards 2004.

The ancient and charming town of St. Andrews with its castle, cathedral and steep sea cliffs, came to be well known thanks to a significant place in the history of religion, its 15th century University and, of course, golf. Prince William studies Art History here, thus adding a contemporary frisson.

Golf has been played on the sandy links for more than 500 years, and it is the Rolls-Royce of courses, but at this superb and continually enhanced five-star hotel there is not just golf on offer. There is an outstanding Spa, for example, offering one of the widest ranges of treatments.

Bedroom choices range from cool and calm Oriental style sophistication, through to polished and beautiful, classic luxury. It’s a wide and varied choice. We’d recommend a sea and Old Course view.

The big story here this winter is the award of a third AA rosette for the gorgeous rooftop restaurant, The Grill Room, where head chef Drew Heron and executive chef Mark Lindsay provide top cuisine to match the elevated setting. The bar is stunning, too.

St Andrews Bay by Boarhills, St Andrews Tel: +44 (0)1334 837 000

A few years ago the Americans came and created a big-scale modern château-style hotel on a prime site overlooking the jagged, mediaeval skyline of St. Andrews. The five-star golf and spa resort was the first property developed in Europe by acclaimed Château Élan Hotels who operate resorts, hotels and wineries in Georgia, Florida and California. When the owners visited land for sale above St. Andrews Bay, two miles south of the town, they simply fell for it. And the rest is history – as, in this area, it usually is.

Costing some £50 million, the resort features the thrilling Torrance and Devlin courses. From the tees, or simply from a comfy seat in the wonderful Clubhouse, the outlook is simply spectacular.

Above the mantelpiece of the castle-style foyer fireplace is a regal portrait of James VI, elaborately dressed in lace ruff and satins; historians tell us that he, who was not unfamiliar with St. Andrews, didn’t mind a bit of cross-dressing, either. Big gilt mirrors and boldly patterned rugs add a modish touch to the décor, while big sofas sit around this focal point.

The much-heralded all-new fine-dining restaurant Esperante has opened: read the brand new review online. The big hotel has top facilities.

Bedrooms and suites come in various styles but the Guide recently chose room 1001, a corner suite with vast vistas of sea and sky, as our ‘Room of the Month’ winner.


Here are four more ideas for you

Tel: +44 (0)1334 472 594

Rufflets is an inviting and distinguished 1920s house situated in lovely formal gardens on the edge of town. It is St. Andrews’ country house hotel option: comfortable, immaculate rooms and suites; fine dining in the Garden Restaurant or informally in the Music Room; and elegant lounges appeal. Notably friendly staff.

Tel: +44 (0)1334 473 387

Exuding Celtic charm, chunky character and integrity, the Inn on North Street is one we love. Tasteful modern and well-equipped bedrooms (numbers 3 and 14 have huge corner windows and are our tips) provide the accommodation while the Oak Room restaurant serves good food in a lively setting.

Tel: +44 (0)1334 653 426

Just a dozen or so really lovely bedrooms at this absolutely genuine small country house. The Guide books parties into hotels and we have only ever received praise for the rooms, rural setting, staff and dependably fine cuisine – great in the a.m. as well as the p.m. – it holds our Breakfast Rosette™.

Tel: +44 (0)1334 840 494

The Inn at Lathones is a few miles out of town on the way to the picturesque East Neuk villages of Crail and Pittenweem. It’s a successful, likeable combination of clean-lined, well-equipped contemporary rooms, historic ‘core’ and fine-dining restaurant. Head chef Marc Guibert is one of Scotland’s best chefs.