IT IS the picture-postcard town where Prince William fell in love with his royal bride-to-be while studying at the historic university, so where could be better than St Andrews for a romantic break?
After spending a year undertaking the mammoth task of building our own house, my husband Sean and I were certainly in need of some romance.
So we packed our bags and headed to The Fairmont St Andrews – one of the town’s swankiest hotels – and were left far from disappointed.
Everything about the hotel is on a grand scale – it is situated just outside St Andrews in the grounds of not one but two full-sized golf courses, which it also owns.
Even someone like myself who knows nothing about golf could not fail to be impressed.
Driving up the sweeping entrance, it was easy to see why it had been chosen to host the G20 Summit for the world’s top financial leaders in November 2009.
The grand scale of this stunning hotel must appeal greatly to the American tourists – and others – who flock to “the home of golf”.
Set on a 520-acre estate by the sea, there is no shortage of space in the 209-bedroom hotel, which has large public areas, five restaurants and a luxurious spa. There is also a swimming pool and a vast gym.
We were treated to a suite with stunning views across the golf course towards the St Andrews’ seafront which served to make the sumptuous room, with its king-sized bed and thick, soft duvet covers, all the more inviting.
The bedrooms are complete with all of the classic furniture, marble-floored bathrooms, flat-screen TVs and internet access you would expect from a five-star hotel.
On our first night, we enjoyed a fabulous fine-dining experience in Esperante, the Fairmont’s double AA rosette, Mediterranean-influenced restaurant.
We opted for the Taste of Esperante Experience, a seven-course slice of heaven with a different wine to complement each course specially chosen by the chef.
Don’t let the idea of seven courses put you off, each serving was light and delicious, leaving us satisfied, but not bloated.
We started with foie gras and roasted spiced pear, before moving on to pan-seared scallop with truffle pommes purée and Madeira jus, followed by spring vegetable risotto with fresh coriander, then crispy masala monkfish and pont neuf potatoes.
Lamb cutlet with pommes dauphinoise and hot apple jelly was the meat dish, before a tasting of Esperante desserts including spiced caramel pannacotta, pink praline nougat, tart au citron, and meringue, lime and basil sorbet. To finish we were offered a chef’s selection of cheeses.
This was a wonderful way to sample the wide talents of the chef and having different wines from all over the world to complement each course was so much better than having one bottle at the table.
The following morning I investigated the luxurious spa, where 12 pristine treatment rooms offer a range of treatments including locally-themed massages and relaxation therapies. I indulged in a Kingdom of Fife facial. During 90 minutes of pure decadence I was treated to an anti-ageing hand treatment, enzyme peel, hand and foot massage, scalp massage, exfoliation of the face, neck and décolleté and a luxurious massage to tone facial muscles. It left me feeling fabulous and ready for some excitement in St Andrews.
The hotel runs a free, regular shuttle bus service into the town, which we took full advantage of.
Thanks to the students, St Andrews is brimming with funky boutiques and trendy bars. All this added to the beautiful seafront, castle, university buildings and cathedral and makes the town an excellent place to spend a fun day out – even in the wind and rain.
After telephoning the shuttle bus to come and collect us in the town centre, we returned to the comfort of the hotel for a hearty fillet steak dinner in The Squire, its principal restaurant, which offers Scottish dining with a contemporary twist.
Dinner was followed by cocktails in Kittocks Den, the hotel’s seductive lobby bar, which was perfect for a nightcap. Sampling the cocktails was great fun, and I particularly enjoyed the raspberry mule with vodka.
Breakfast is served in The Squire restaurant and everything from cooked breakfasts to fresh fruit, pancakes and pastries is on offer.
The Fairmont St Andrews is a vast hotel and offers everything you could possibly hope for from luxury accommodation. There is no need whatsoever to leave the resort, yet it has the added benefit of being in a beautiful setting by one of the most romantic towns in Scotland.
Fairmont St Andrews, Fife, KY16 8PN. Phone (01334) 837000 or visit www.fairmontgolf.com
The Rejuvenation Package will refresh, revitalise and rejuvenate. It includes: accommodation in a Fairmont guest room, one 30-minute spa treatment or one round of golf per adult, dinner in The Squire restaurant and full Scottish breakfast in The Squire restaurant. The offer is valid until April 30, subject to availability. Rates for this package start from £269 per night and are inclusive of 20% VAT, based on double occupancy.