Nestled in the East coast of Scotland, amongst the golfer’s paradise of St Andrews is Rusacks Hotel, part of the Marine and Lawn Collection. Inhabiting an iconic historic building, Rusacks offers its guests and visitors unrivalled accommodation due to its proximity to the famous Old Course Links. The hotel has recently undergone an exciting renovation, modernising its interiors whilst meticulously respecting its notable past. This not only included a complete revamp of all of its 70 bedrooms, but also the hotel expanded with the addition of a brand new extension. This modern building adds a further 44 rooms to the hotel and includes an impressive rooftop restaurant. As a born-and-bred Fifer, I was looking forward to experiencing this new gem in my neck of the woods. So, you can imagine how excited I was when I was invited to stay and check out the newly invigorated refurb and all the amenities on offer.
Wandering through its stained glassed entrance you are immediately transported back in time, its reception and lounge exuding a distinct historic charm. The wooden clad room is spacious and inviting, cleverly recreating a traditional design without being overly old-fashioned. An impressive central fireplace is adorned with golf-inspired artwork by British artist Joseph Austen, many of which can be seen decorating the walls around the hotel. Antique furniture, deep coloured velvet seating and numerous types of lighting add a sumptuous homely feel to the space, making it the perfect room to sit back and enjoy one of the many books on display. From the moment you enter, you are greeted with a number of friendly staff who bestow true Scottish hospitality. Dressed in smart uniforms designed by renowned Scottish brand Walker Slater, their professional and friendly charm provides an excellent first impression to the hotel.
Wandering from the foyer to the room you can’t help but notice all the beautifully designed areas where guests can sit back and relax. Although the main hallway is large and airy, each nook and corner exude an intimate and cosy feel. Leather chesterfield sofas and coffee tables adorned with trinkets, books and plants all add to that homelike ambience. I specifically loved the Gallery room with its gentleman club vibe, with moody lighting, snooker table and oversized tapestry decorating the wall. The hotel has done an exceptional job blending the original hotel with the new extension. The transition from both parts is seamless and only really evident from the exterior. As the lift doors open an elaborately designed blue, red and white carpet with golfing influences leads you to your room.
There are numerous room and suite categories to choose from, in both the original and new sections of the hotel, with some supporting balconies to admire the epic view. I was residing in Room 802 on the third floor of the new extension, aptly named as 18th View Double Room. The spacious room carries on the blend of contemporary and traditional design incorporating inspiration from the muted hues of the surrounding landscape. Although the colours are demure, elaborately patterned wallpaper and carpets subtly enhance the design. An oversized dark wooden headboard backs the plush comfortable bed which is scattered with numerous cushions. These are embellished with scenes of nature and golf, which as we know is deeply rooted in the hotels past.
The spacious bathroom with a backdrop of beautiful green tiles and patterned wallpaper includes a sizeable walk-in rainfall shower and twin sinks, enriched with the addition of opulent gold taps and a selection of Floris toiletries.
A seating area towards the front of the room with an elegant sofa, chair and coffee table is cleverly positioned to take in the stunning views. As you peel back the velvet curtains you are treated to the most beautiful vista overlooking the expansive golf course, West Sands beach and beyond. It was such a pleasure to sit back, enjoy a coffee from the Nespresso machine and watch the waves of the nearby sea lap against the sweeping golden sands.
The impressive 18 restaurant and bar aptly named due to its views overlooking the 18th hole is located on the top floor of the new extension of Rusacks. The hotel has teamed up with food innovators White Rabbit Projects to create a range of Scottish-inspired dishes which use locally sourced and in-season produce and ingredients. Led by renowned chef Derek Johnston, 18 offers a range of beef, game and seafood all cooked on open-flame by the chef and his talented team. The restaurant is split into two areas, each exuding a laid back yet luxury ambience with wooden clad walls, leather seating and subtle hues of navy blue and racing green. Floor to ceiling windows allow diners to take in those stunning views and an outside terrace means you can enjoy them even further. I especially enjoyed one of their old fashioned cocktails with the inclusion of Loch Lomond Whisky, the perfect serve to drink whilst watching the sun dip beneath the horizon. The playful side of you can enjoy the rooftop putting green which is also located on the terrace.
Enjoying a prime location near the North Sea, there is no denying that it is here where you can experience some of the best seafood, and restaurant 18 certainly doesn’t disappoint. I was served with a selection of oysters, crab, langoustine and lobster and slowly worked my way through each of these tasty morsels. The selection was delicious and each was mouth-watering, sweet and full of the fresh maritime flavours you expect. What impressed me was the succulent beef which was cooked to absolute perfection on their open-fire grill. The pink meat melted in the mouth and I literally had to stop myself from asking for a goody bag. For after dinner drinks with a different ambience you can head down to One Under Bar. This cosy space emits the vibe of a traditional Scottish pub and sells an extensive range of ale, stout, wine and drams, as well as a selection of traditional pub dishes.
For breakfast, I dined in The Bridge restaurant located on the ground floor, named due to its views of the famous Silken Bridge which connects both the first and eighteenth fairways. This elegant space is bright and welcoming and exudes a more laid back and somewhat maritime vibe with its hues of blues and whites. Rattan furniture adds to its laid back charm and you almost feel as if you are sitting in some sophisticated conservatory. Golf continues to weave its way through the hotel’s design with its white panelled walls lined with a plethora of golfers portraits. After being a tad over-indulgent at dinner I decided to settle for the crushed avocado on sourdough with poached eggs, and even this was full of flavour and exceedingly moreish. My partner treated himself to the buttermilk ScotchPancakes adorned strawberries, lavender, vanilla cream and lashings of sweet maple syrup. I must add that the service was very prompt and friendly which I was very impressed with.
Although golf runs through the DNA of this hotel, like me you don’t have to be a fan to truly appreciate what it has to offer. Rusacks hotel exudes that true Scottish hospitality that I yearn for when travelling around Scotland. Even though it has just recently opened its doors, you can truly feel the passion and dedication from each and every one of the staff. Its beautifully appointed rooms, relaxed ambience and exceptional location provide an excellent base to explore the historic St Andrews, Kingdom of Fife and further afield. I thoroughly enjoyed every part of my stay at Rusacks and cannot wait to return, even if its just for the exceptional food and outstanding views.
Blu Blazer Guy Rating:
Location – 4/5
Customer Service – 4/5
Accommodation – 4/5
Cleanliness – 5/5
Food and Drink – 4/5
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