Marine and Lawn Hotel’s & Resorts are a collection of bespoke hotels scattered across Scotland and Northern Ireland in the most renowned golfing destinations. When I visited their newly renovated Rusacks Hotel last year, I was instantly enamoured with its unique style, outstanding customer service and excellent location. Therefore, when I was invited to visit the Marine North Berwick, I jumped at the chance in the hope of being completely charmed once more. As the name suggests, this exquisite hotel is located in North Berwick, an illustrious seaside town on the East Lothian Coast. Living up to its reputation, the hotel and grounds straddle the historic West Links, a golf course dating back to the 17th century. Due to the hotel’s unrivalled position, it boasts spectacular views over the expansive Firth of Forth where the islands of Fidra, The Lamb, Craigleith and the renowned Bass Rock tower majestically from the choppy waters.
Arriving at the 19th Century property on a sunny winters day the pastel yellow and white exterior was pleasantly uplifting. If it wasn’t for those cold Scottish temperatures reminding me otherwise, I almost felt as if I was in some far-flung Mediterranean destination. Upon entering, it is immediately noticeable that Marine and Lawn have weaved their magic over the hotel, their unique classic style evident wherever you look. The reception and lounge area is a beautiful space, exuding a welcoming, cosy and comfortable vibe that provides an instantaneous sense of tranquillity. The reception desk cocooned in leather and trimmed with brass is something which I have never seen before, just one of the many things that make the design of this hotel stand out. Bookshelves, numerous trinkets and artwork inspired by the local area give the space a homely relaxed feel. Similar to Rusacks, the walls are embellished with wood panelling but this time the warm hues of walnut help to carry on those snug and encompassing vibes. I couldn’t help notice a myriad of guests enjoying a leisurely drink and admiring those all-embracing coastal views.
The Marine North Berwick has 84 rooms with differing categories. Some are located looking upon the tree-lined Cromwell Road or towards the sea and West Links golf course. I was staying in room 108, a Marine Deluxe King room situated on the ground floor of the hotel. Initially, I was a tad concerned that being located on the ground floor meant I wouldn’t be able to take advantage of those beautiful sea views, but as soon as I opened the door I wasn’t disappointed. Due to the room’s high ceilings, extensive windows and the hotel’s unique elevated position, the first thing you notice is the uninterrupted breathtaking outlook. After a refurb in 2021, the hotel went from beige to bougie and each of the rooms has had its unique injection of colour and style. I can only describe it as a cleverly balanced combination of Victorian influences, hues inspired from the surrounding landscape and hints of golf intertwined throughout.
The prominent wooden carved bed embellished with velvet-covered terracotta headboard sits against an elaborate flocked wallpaper, a talking point with many of the guests. At the foot of the bed sits a comfortable velvet bench, matching perfectly with an array of dark coloured wooden furniture situated around the room. In complete contrast, bedside cabinets designed to look like sea-side lockers added a little fun element to the design. As well as the bed, the room also included an elegant desk area, two cupboards (one walk-in) and the addition of seating near the window to enjoy those excellent views. The room included an array of amenities such as a Nespresso machine, tea/coffee making facilities, mini bar, hairdryer, iron/iron board and a flat-screen TV. I particularly enjoyed the addition of complimentary Eden Mill Golf gin and chocolate by Coco Chocolatier. The bathroom, although practical was a little disappointing, its style displaying hints of the hotels beige past. I am unsure if this has still to be updated but it certainly doesn’t reflect the standards of the rest of the room.
If you are seeking a little rest and recuperation, there are an abundance of options on your doorstep. A stone’s throw away and a quick stroll through the West Links golf course is the nearby West Bay beach. Even though the wind was ‘blowing a hoolie’ during my stay, it was perfect to stand on the white sands, blast away those cobwebs and admire those rugged islands up close. If you aren’t up for braving those brisk Scottish winds then a wander to the hotel’s spa will do the trick. Located on the basement level the hotel’s spa has numerous treatment rooms, a swimming pool, a fitness centre and a thermal suite. I took advantage of the thermal suite before dinner and loved how its plunge pool spanned both outside and in, allowing you to enjoy the fresh air whilst relaxing in the heated water. The hotel spa also offers an array of treatments and whilst visiting I opted for a much needed sixty-minute facial. The treatment included a double cleanse, exfoliation, tone, mask and moisturise using products from French brand Caudalíe. Thanks to my talented therapist, the addition of a hand massage meant I not only left with a glowing complexion but a relaxed state of mind too.
There is no shortage of food and beverage options to choose from and although North Berwick has an abundance of restaurants and pubs, I recommend dining in the hotel to enjoy their gastronomic experience at least once. After a quick cocktail in the subdued and sultry Bass Rock Bar, we headed to The Lawn, the hotel’s restaurant. Headed by award-winning chef Chris Niven, the menu showcases the very best of British and Scottish Cuisine. The interior decor echoes the rest of the hotel, its brasserie vibe accentuated with cosy lighting, leather studded seating and hues of greens and browns. I was especially enamoured with the array of artwork portraying different canine images, perhaps due to the hotel being very dog-friendly.
We opted for a snack of Haggis Bonbons which were crispy on the outside and moist in the middle. Although I was impressed with my Loch Duart Salmon starter, I couldn’t help but tuck into my partner’s Duck Parfait, deliciously enhanced with orange, tarragon and a slice of brioche. Looking over the menu for our mains, our eyes immediately gravitated towards the steaks, Tweed Valley Beef dry-aged for a minimum of 35 days. We tucked into the Ribeye and Sirloin and both were equally succulent and appetising. With our stomach bulging, we were tempted to forfeit dessert but the menu was just simply too tantalising. A helping of sticky toffee pudding and a marmalade and whisky sours sandwich was swiftly served and let’s just say we were glad we didn’t miss out.
It is at The Lawn where breakfast is also served and it seemed to gain a whole new ambience in the light of day. The sun glistening through the window, views of the sparkling sea and the morning chatter from guests transformed the the subdued vibe of the evening before. A selection of cereals, pastries, toast, meats and cheese were available from a beautifully put together buffet. I opted for their homemade granola as I fondly remember this from my previous Marine and Lawn stay at Rusacks. I then chose their sourdough bread with crushed avocado, poached eggs and toast with a covering of chimichurri sauce, which left me feeling extremely content.
Although satisfyingly filled after breakfast, we took our seats in the lounge, where our gastronomic experience continued in the form of an Afternoon Tea. This consisted of numerous savoury choices such as duck egg mayonnaise brioche and smoked salmon with cream cheese. I found the sweet choices a tad confusing as what was on the plate didn’t really marry up with what was on the menu, but perhaps this has still to be updated. After sampling many afternoon teas in numerous hotels, it is unfortunate to say that we found this one particularly bland. Concerning the sweets, the colours, tastes and textures were all quite similar and personally I found the white chunky china wasn’t in keeping with the hotel’s exquisite decor. Saying that, being a relatively new offering, I’m assuming this will develop into something more impressive and will only give me an excuse to go back for more.
At the end of my stay, I sat in the hotel’s conservatory and was hypnotised by the dramatic sea and truly did not want to leave. This in itself is a sign of just how much I enjoyed my stay. Although Marine and Lawn hotels are primarily geared around golf, you don’t have to be a player of the sport to truly appreciate what they have to offer, and Marine North Berwick is no different. Its beautifully designed rooms, stylish spaces, delicious food, and excellent coastal location provide the perfect base to truly unwind in a luxurious yet relaxed atmosphere. From the moment I arrived at the hotel I felt truly welcomed and I must commend the staff for their approachable, personable and friendly service. From the reception, spa, bar and restaurant, each and every member of the staff exuded that typically warm Scottish hospitably that makes this country so special. Therefore it’s fair to say that I continue to be captivated and enthralled by Marine and Lawn hotels, and I’m extremely excited to see what they come up with next.
Blu Blazer Guy Rating:
Location – 4/5
Customer Service – 4/5
Accommodation – 4/5
Cleanliness – 4/5
Food and Drink – 4/5
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