Nestled on the East coast of Scotland is the quaint seaside town of St Andrews, best known worldwide as the home of Golf. Being brought up in The Kingdom of Fife, I often visited this coastal destination as a child, running free on its breathtaking windswept beaches. It wasn’t until later in life that I became aware of its world-class golf courses, charming streets and impressive luxury hotels. Inhabiting a prominent position in St Andrews within an expansive 520-acre estate is the renowned Fairmont St Andrews hotel. Recognised as one of the top golf resorts in the world, this five-star accommodation has a long-standing reputation. I was recently invited to experience a stay and whilst I’m not an avid golfer, I was interested to see what other attributes this hotel had to offer besides its exemplary golf.
As you make your way towards the hotel its majestic facade appears in the distance, its noticeable grandeur reaching out amidst the rolling green landscape and yellow specked gorse. A long driveway leads you to the hotels’ entrance, where an impressive Porte-cochère is proudly embellished with a large golden thistle. Walking into the hotel you immediately sense the sophistication and style that Fairmont establishments are renowned for. A large roaring fire with oversized artwork is instantly welcoming, especially on a cold and windy day as we had. The hotel offers an extensive range of 209 luxury rooms with different categories of guest rooms, suites and villas. After a prompt friendly check-in, a quick elevator ride leads you to one of the many rooms on offer. I was staying in room 3077, one of the hotel’s Land View Suites located on the top floor of the property.
Situated on a corner plot, the room was adorned with two large windows, taking in the expansive views of the surrounding countryside whilst allowing the light to envelop the space. The positioning of the windows made it possible to witness both the golden glow of the sunset as well as the sunrise. The spacious open plan room was segregated into numerous areas which included a small sitting area with a checked sofa, chair and flat-screen tv. Adjacent to this was a small workspace with a swivel chair and desk, ideal for the business traveller or writing up last-minute blog posts and articles. The bedroom area included a king bed, bedside cabinets and an additional flat-screen TV, allowing you to enjoy a cosy night under the duvet watching your favourite movie. I particularly liked the large dressing area with generous wardrobe space which also included a minibar and coffee/tea making facilities.
The suite’s white interior gave the room a contemporary feel whilst the addition of more traditional furniture and accessories provided the perfect juxtaposition. Colours of green and purple were injected into the decor with the use of cleverly placed seating and accessories, echoing the hues of the surrounding landscape. In addition to the above, a spacious bathroom with rainfall shower, bath and large sink completed the room. This space emanated a contemporary atmosphere with white marble veined with a grey finished off with contrasting black trim. Large mirrors amplified the space even further and although it had no windows it felt bright, clean and airy. Being a huge fragrance enthusiast, I was particularly impressed with the addition of Le Labo toiletries in one of my favourite scents, Rose 31.
The beating heart of the hotel comes in the form of the Atrium Lounge, an expansive central space reached by two sweeping staircases. The area is a blend of traditional and contemporary design, housed under an impressive dancing Zephyr lighting sculpture by artist George Singer. Such a large room could be austere but the clever use of different blue tones, comfortable sofas and shelving lined with sculptures and vases enhances the space. Albeit this is extremly impressive, the space seems to lack soul and I can’t help but feel that it could be put to better use. (But that is my inner interior designer speaking).
It is in the Atrium where you can experience the tradition of afternoon tea, a delicious myriad of savoury and sweet delights. I opted for their Champagne afternoon tea which as the name suggests includes a decadent glass of sparkling rosé champagne. I particularly enjoyed the smoked salmon sandwich which was intricately rolled into an attractive flavoursome spiral. The delicate strawberry vanilla tartlette harked back to those warmer summer days and the macaroon embellished with Fairmont chocolate was a dainty yet delectable morsel. The extensive selection of black, white, green, oolong and herbal tea was impressive and also included some rare and flowering teas too.
Due to the hotels’ proximity to the countryside and seaside, as well as the historic town of St Andrews, walks and activities are abundant. To take full advantage, the hotel has a fantastic app that you can download before your stay. This not only allows you to book their restaurants and bars but in addition provides all the information you require to explore the local area. I especially enjoyed the GPS Challenge which provided a fun yet informative way to learn more about the hotel and St Andrews itself.
If you decide to take a more sedate approach then the hotels’ Spa is the perfect remedy. The welcoming spa has an indoor pool and sauna along with the addition of twelve treatment rooms where you can experience the many luxury treatments on offer. The tranquil reception area sells an array of luxury products including Ishga Skincare, Aromatherapy Associates and The Natural Spa Factory. Unfortunately, I was unable to experience the spa fully during my stay, but I did roam the area and the swimming pool and gym were both spacious and enticing.
As night falls the impressive food and beverage options continue in the form of Kittocks Den and La Cucina. Kittocks Den is the hotel’s bar, inhabiting a cosy nook on the first floor and overlooking the Atrium below. This popular den provides a selection of bar food along with spirits, cocktails and rare single malts. The low lighting, muted hues, wooden furniture and scattering of brown Chesterfield sofas exude a more traditional, warm and welcoming atmosphere. As a pre-dinner drink, I opted for my favourite cocktail, a vodka martini which was crisp and perfectly executed.
The good thing about the hotel is that you don’t have to go very far to experience different types of cuisine. Just across the landing is La Cucina the hotel vibrant Italian restaurant, brightly adorned with a Tuscan orange hue. We were seated on one of the small balconies that straddle the side of the spacious Atrium, providing an intimate space to eat under the dancing ceiling sculpture.
The extensive La Cucina menu caters for all with an array of traditional Italian dishes along with a few adventurous combinations. Choosing Calamari can be a hit or miss but fortunately for me, the restaurants’ starter of Fittura di Paranza was delicious and succulent. I especially liked the focaccia breadcrumb coating which added additional taste and texture. Carrying on with the theme of seafood I also enjoyed their Spaghetti Frutti di Mare, a tasty dish of Squid ink spaghetti, king prawns, clams, mussels, garlic oil, chilli. Feeling full after the first few courses we decided to skip dessert but continued to sip on a dark, complex and spicy red wine, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico. Thoroughly satisfied after a delicious meal, it was great to head back to the suite and enjoy some in-room entertainment before retiring to bed. The hotel provided us with a luxurious silk eye mask and pillow mist and along with the plush bed, I enjoyed a relaxing slumber.
After a delightful sleep, the culinary experience resumes with breakfast downstairs in The Squire, named after Gene ‘The Squire’ Sarazen, the golfing legend and a past winner of the Grand Slam of golf. Tables segregated with ornate screens give a sense of intimacy whilst still allowing the room to feel spacious and open. The breakfast is a buffet affair with a selection of cereals, pastries and fruit along with the choice of a continental or hot cooked breakfast. We opted for a selection of fruit, freshly cooked omelette and waffles drizzled in chocolate with a scattering of blueberries. Although breakfast was pleasant I did find the service a tad disorderly but put this down to a large capacity of guests and the remnants of Covid and Brexit which I have also experienced in other establishments.
The hotel’s tranquil location, high standard of accommodation and outstanding selection of amenities make it an excellent choice if you are looking for a little slice of luxury on the East Coast of Scotland. I certainly enjoyed the beautifully appointed room and the ability to experience a multitude of amenities all under one roof. I often find it difficult to truly connect with larger hotels, unless they have something truly special to lure me in. Unfortunately, this was one of those occasions where I just couldn’t quite succumb to its charm. This of course is completely personal and I can still understand why many guests return to this attractive resort time and time again.
Blu Blazer Guy Rating:
Location – 4/5
Customer Service – 3.9/5
Accommodation – 4/5
Cleanliness – 4/5
Food and Drink – 3.9/5
Visit the hotels website for the most up to date room offers.