Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa, St. Andrews, Scotland, UKBack to Forum
September 2016, Our 2 night/3 days stay/experiences
My fiancé and I knew the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa in St. Andrews from the Leading Hotels of the World catalogue and always wanted to stay there. Since a few months it is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts Legend Collection.
Until recently the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa had been on our back burner somewhat, but decided the time was right to go in September 2016 for two nights.
We figured out how to best reach St. Andrews from Glasgow by public transport.
We took the Stage Coach Bus from Buchanan Street Bus Station to St. Andrews Bus Station. The journey took approximately 2 hours 45 minutes and was scenic.
The cost was 18 GBP return per person, ca. 20.45 Euro or ca. 22.75 USD.
The Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa is situated at the outskirts of St. Andrews, which isn’t a problem since the town itself is small, but famous for its university, golf and Prince William and Kate Middleton.
The walk to the Old Course Hotel took ca. 10 minutes from the main bus station.
On the way golf history already started with plaques related to it, including Old Tom Morris’s home (a golfer, club and ball maker, greenskeeper, instructor and course designer) and the New Golf Club and the Swilcan Bridge at the 18th hole of the Old Course.
The hotel felt overall very romantic with lots of flowers and other plants around the main entrance, in the lobby, on the floors and room.
We were greeted warmly by Tam, who wore a kilt, and was the doorman. He is an asset to the hotel, because he had generally time for a chat, for example about our Harrods bag with a West Highland White Terrier on it. He owns two of the breed, called Terry and Toby. He gave us also the tip to go to the West Deck, a viewing terrace on the 4th floor for spectacular views from the hotel. He is also on the hotel’s own video.
Tam took our luggage and brought us to reception. Check in was done quickly and friendly. We were offered Prosecco and ginger beer as welcome drinks. Normally there would be Champagne too, but it had run out and hadn’t been replaced yet we had been informed.
Beside our keys we received a resort/surroundings map, which was appreciated.
We were accompanied to our Old Course Room with a view, which was on the second floor. Each room is named after a famous golf player and ours was the Henry Cotton Room, who was active from the 1920s to the 1950s.
Originally we had been in contact with the hotel via email to book our table at the Sands Grill and to request if possible a room with a balcony.
Unfortunately this time we didn’t have a balcony. On the other side we were very happy, because it was a large corner room with great views over the 17th hole, the sea and St. Andrews.
The layout was a bit unusual with large panorama bay windows, which could be opened.
Color scheme was mostly brown, red and beige, everything felt natural to the location and of high quality in a traditional way and setting.
The carpet was golf themed too with crossed clubs.
The king sized bed was large with six pillows and a heavy duvet. Even if it was only September the nights could be a bit cool and it kept us warm and comfortable.
There was a seating area for two with a coffee table and St. George’s and Welcome to the Kingdom of Fife Magazines.
On the large, classic writing desk was a telephone. It didn’t work though. There was a second one on one of the night stands, so it didn’t bother us, but we mentioned it at check out. The receptionist was grateful and promised it would be taken care of.
A mirror above the writing desk and across one wall enhanced the feeling of having a large room.
We also found the Directory, Connoisseur Scotland, information about the Duke’s Course and in room dining and the Kohler Waters Spa menu. The hotel is owned by the American plumbing products manufacturer Kohler, so all the appliances and bath room products were by them.
Kohler Waters Spa treatments range in price from 30 GBP (ca. 34.20 Euro / ca. 39.10 USD) to 290 GBP (ca. 330.60 Euro / ca. 377.75 USD).
The artwork was paintings of Loch Lommond, Loch Summit, St. Andrews, the ruins of St. Andrews’ Castle and the Links was beautiful arranged in our room throughout.
The large flat screen TV had 146 local and international channels including all Sky Sports, BBC World, CNBC and Bloomberg among many others.
There was a credenza and a minibar, which contained Fentimen’s Ginger Beer and Rose Lemonade, Tonic water, Coca Cola, Peroni and Bellhaven Beer, Highland Spring water and spirits. Costs for the soft drinks ranged between 2 GBP to 3.50 GBP (ca. 2.30 Euro / ca. 2.60 USD to ca. 4 Euro / ca. 4.55 USD), beer from 4 GBP (ca. 4.60 Euro / ca. 5.20 USD) and spirits from 6.50 GBP (ca. 7.40 Euro / ca. 8.45 USD).
Tea and coffee making facilities were available too and the tea was provided by Twinnings.
The wardrobe was good sized and allowed the storage of some items suitable for longer stays.
Romantic touches were the fan and the Orchid on the writing desk.
There was of course air condition too which worked well.
The free WIFI was fast at all times .
Turn down was offered every night and included two bottles of Highland Spring Water.
The bathroom was medium sized with a bath tub/rain fall shower combination, which was very deep.
The sink was a bit unusual due to it being rippled. Bathroom amenities were by Kohler Water Spa Hollyhock. We loved them and would have liked to buy the soap at the Spa Shop. Unfortunately they weren’t available there.
Materials used were marble, granite and wood.
Water pressure was good and no problems with temperature changes.
On our first evening we made use of the 24 hour in room dining.
We ordered a large bottle of Highland Spring still water, one hot chocolate, one traditional smoked salmon, the Isle of Mull Cheddar and Vine Tomato Sandwich, plus the Old Course Sandwich selection, which included Scottish Smoked Salmon, cucumber and cream cheese, honey glazed ham and chutney, free range egg and cress, again Isle of Mull Cheddar and Vine Tomato and prawn, dill and lemon. Our desserts were the coconut panna cotta with pineapple Carpaccio and summer berry infusion with lemon sorbet. Everything was very good and fair value at 55.25 GBP (ca. 63 Euro / ca. 72 USD).
The room was comfortable and we liked looking out of the windows to enjoy the views or spending time at the seating area, talking for hours.
Breakfast was included in our rate and was served at the Road Hole Restaurant, which is the fine dining venue in beautiful and traditional surroundings.
The Road Hole was located on the same floor as the viewing terrace. It had floor to ceiling windows, overlooking the golf course. The maître d’ brought us each morning to our table. All cold items were available at the buffet and hot dishes, tea and coffee could be ordered from the waiting staff. A luxurious touch was that the a la carte items were unlimited.
The buffet offered one of the largest selections during our trip to Scotland in Sep. 2016 and included different types of bread, cold cuts, fruits and fruit salads, haggis, yogurt, jams, vegetables, cereals and much more. The only item I couldn’t find was cheese for some reason.
The A la carte pancakes and Eggs Benedict were very tasty too.
Other restaurant and bars on and off the premises were the Road Hole Bar, Sands Grill (where we had dinner), the Jigger Inn (a traditional pub) and Hams Hame.
There were also shops in the hotel and the Golfino Store in a quaint little house on the grounds.
We went to the Old Course Golf Shop and bought a few items. We could undisturbed browse until we made our choice. We chatted with the sales person for a bit and when she found out it was our first time in St. Andrews she proactively offered us a map and suggested to leave our purchases with her – charging them to the room account was no problem at all. She would make sure they were delivered to our room. The map came in handy and the goods were on our room when we returned.
On a side note St. Andrews is unsuitable for late risers. Most shops and the sights, like the castle or cathedral, close early at ca. 17.00/17.30 hours.
Check out approached very fast – as usual and was done by a trainee. There was only one small hiccup.
We had prepaid our stay and booked via hotels.com, but for some reason the overnight rate was shown on the bill as still outstanding. With help from a colleague the issue was solved within minutes and we were on our way.
We loved St. Andrews and the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa. Both are romantic and a good place to relax by the sea including a visit to the British Golf Museum which we equally very much enjoyed.
Service standards were high as was the food quality and everyone encountered was friendly. We would return again, because we missed a few sights and found a gelateria we would like to try and would love to experience the Old Course Hotel again in our future.
Would we recommend this landmark resort to a friend? YES!
Would we want to stay at this landmark resort in our future again? YES!
Thank you and safe travels.10 Jul 2017