November 23, 2023
The Old Course, St Andrews, Scotland
During the summer, I attended a press trip to Edinburgh, and I loved my time so much that I put Scotland back on my bucket list. I was so excited because I was reviewing one of the world’s leading golf resorts in the historic town of St. Andrews, Old Course Hotel. The Old Course Hotel is a renowned 5-star hotel, home of golf, warm hospitality, 5-star service, and fine dining. I felt excited to take my mum on her first trip to Scotland making the experience even more special.
When we arrived, we received a warm welcome in true Scottish style by the lovely Graham in a full highland dress. Every member was so welcoming; within seconds, our bags and suitcases were ushered to our rooms so we could walk freely around the Hotel.
We decided we couldn’t wait a second longer to see our room, so we promptly went to see the grand reveal (my favourite part)! The team had some lovely surprises waiting for us in our room. A handwritten personalised note, champagne, a selection of Scottish snacks and our favourite, the warmest, cosiest Old Course wool hat! They even engraved my name on a bag tag, which I thought was thoughtful.
To our surprise, our room had one of the best views of the Old Course. We had the most breathtaking views of West Sands Beach and the North Sea, famously known from the movie Chariots of Fire. We could also see the Swilcan Bridge, one of golf’s most iconic settings, known as the golfer’s bridge. Our room was stunning; we had two double beds, and the shower in the bathroom was one of the best showers I’ve taken! In the mornings, we would soak in the sunrise whilst enjoying a cup of tea on our private terrace, watching the greenkeepers attend the course. And did you know, that the Hotel roof is made of sustainable tires, causing golf balls to bounce off when hit?
We had a lunch reservation at the on-site Jigger Inn, known for the second most famous hole in golf. This little pub had so much character and was beaming from noon! It was one of my favourite places on-site; the staff had so much warmth, and the pub had such good energy. It was such a cold day outside, not that we’d know; we were too busy being cosy inside the pub with the fire on. We ate delicious homemade tomato soup with warm fresh bread and drank Bailey’s hot chocolate topped with cream and marshmallows; can you think of anything more autumnal? The pub has lots of golf memorabilia; hanging above the bar are professional golfers’ caps signed by players who played on the old course.
After our lunch, it was showtime! We were driven to the Dukes, St. Andrews, to play golf. Myself and my mum are somewhat new to golf, but Stuart talked us through exactly what to do and how to hold the clubs for a better grip. We had so much fun; I now respect how much time, effort and consistency golfers possess to pot the balls! After an hour of hitting the ball only 30 yards (you can laugh), we went on a tour around the golf course in the golf buggy. That alone was beautiful; the grounds are simply stunning, and driving around and seeing the views from each angle was good fun.
Later that evening, we dressed up to dine at Swilcan Loft, a restaurant on the 4th floor of the Hotel, with floor-to-ceiling views of the Old Course Golf Course, West Sands Beach and the iconic Hamilton Grand building. After reading the menu online before I came, I changed my mind numerous times on what to order; everything I saw coming out of the restaurant to the other tables made it even harder to choose! The bartender made me a surprise pineapple and passionfruit mocktail, as I’m not a huge drinker, and it was so delicious. For my main dish, I ordered Gratinated Hand Rolled Cannelloni with a side order of Baked Macaroni and cheese and truffle & Parmesan Fries! I couldn’t decide between the two, so the chef made me smaller portions of each to try; after a day being outside in the cold, this dinner was just what I needed. It was mouthwatering; I ate the entirety!
We started our day with a full a la carte breakfast menu served upstairs alongside a buffet. I enjoyed pancakes with Nutella and a latte while appreciating the beautiful course view as the sun rose.
We had booked an hour at the Scottish Clay Pigeon Centre to experience clay pigeon shooting! We’ve never tried it before and wanted a challenging yet fun experience. After listening to the safety talks, we put earplugs in to protect our ears from the gunshots, glasses to protect our eyes and extra padding for our shoulders provided for by the centre. Jim was our instructor, and he was fantastic; he was the kindest, most patient man to teach us the art of hitting the target! Jim not only made our experience fun but made us feel safe in his presence, especially when holding the gun. It’s a fun and inclusive sport for all levels and abilities, promoting healthy competition. We had so much fun here; thankfully, we all had earplugs in because I kept squealing every time I pulled the trigger.
In the afternoon, we visited Hams Hame, a cosy pub near St. Andrews Town. Since the weather was freezing outside, we decided to have some homemade soup. It was the best tomato soup we’ve ever tasted; we couldn’t resist having more. Sorry, mum! We tried their special ale and enjoyed an ‘Irn Berry’ mocktail as we wanted to keep it in line with Scottish tradition. I would love to experiment with Iron Bru in my cocktails at home now because I’d never have thought to use it as a mixer, but it was so good!
On the way back to the Hotel, we took a photo on the Swilcan Bridge, as this is one of the most iconic photo hotspots on the course. There were crowds of people, news crews, and queues of eager people waiting to take photos. What a wonderful memory to cherish!
We had a dinner reservation at the Road Hole restaurant with views over the Old Course; you are spoiled with great views wherever you go during this stay! Dinner was a treat: steak, dauphinoise potatoes, creamy mash, roasted mushrooms, and tomatoes. Good food enhances your overall travel experience, making it more memorable; we enjoyed outstanding meals and exceptional service throughout the trip. James, the manager, made so much effort to ensure our time was fun; on the last evening, we were brave enough to ask him about some ghost stories around St. Andrews. Safe to say we couldn’t sleep late that night after all the stories, but it made the whole experience one to remember!
Kohler Water Spa
Kohler Waters Spa offers a diverse range of water-based treatments that utilize natural mineral-rich water to provide therapeutic massages, Phytomer facials, body wraps and scrubs, and an array of wet treatments.
After a night of ghost stories, thank you, James; luckily, I had a golfer’s massage booked in the morning to relieve all the tension from the clay pigeon shooting and the golf; it turns out that I had also continued with the ghost stories chat with Kevin, the masseurs. What is it with us women listening to scary stories we find so relaxing? I’m not sure what it is, but I felt so relaxed after the massage; it was one of the best massages I’ve had and a bonus that we spoke about ghosts throughout! Kevin was professional and adjusted the pressure to my needs. He kindly shared expert tips on stretches to help my back. For the rest of the afternoon, we indulged in a few hours of pool, sauna and jacuzzi in the spa whilst I caught up on my new Colleen Hoover book!
I cannot stress enough how much I loved our hotel stay and the exceptional service we had. There were countless highlights, and I am grateful to the team for making our trip unforgettable. Their customer service was impeccable. The staff were some of the best I’ve ever experienced in hospitality. I think that’s something as a brand to be proud of because the level of care that goes into each person who stays there is so genuine and heart-warming, and it memorably impacts your trip. Thank you to everyone who made our time in Scotland amazing; we can’t wait to return!
The Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa offers a luxurious stay with 175 rooms, a penthouse and 34 suites. Each room is beautifully designed and has a unique view of West Sands Beach, the Old Course St Andrews Sports Playing and Rugby Fields. The rooms feature an elegant and contemporary design that complements the original architecture. Modern Kohler Co. bathrooms with Kohler toiletries add to the luxury of the rooms. The room rates begin from £306 per night in the low season (October – March) and start at £399 per night in the high season (April – October).
W: Old Course Hotel
Written by Danielle Tobin for Luxuria Lifestyle London and International</em