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Travel: Champagne luxury at the stunning Fairmont St Andrews

St Andrews is known as the home of golf, and for most people visiting the historic seaside town, that’s the first thing that crosses their minds.

But I’m no golfer, I couldn’t tell my iron from my wood, so for me the offer to stay in one of the region’s finest hotels was the perfect opportunity to find out what else the area has to offer staycationers.

A stress-free train ride from Aberdeen city centre had me at Leuchars where a taxi was on hand to take our group to the stunning Fairmont hotel.

Unwind with a trip to the spa

The impressive atrium at the Fairmont St Andrews.

The picture-postcard views across the bay are just one of many reasons to pick this luxury five-star hotel. Whether you’re looking for a break to relax and unwind, maybe a good series of massages to undo all those knots from months of working from your dining room table followed by a swim and a sauna, or maybe you want a base to explore the Fife Coastal Trail, the Fairmont has you covered.

As this trip was organised by Moet (that’s MoET, with a hard T sound at the end) it felt right to make the most of its two new terrace areas, the larger of which was set up for us to enjoy an exquisite afternoon tea with a glass or two of its Rose Imperial champagne.

Champagne on the terrace

A champagne afternoon tea with the Imperial Brut Rose Moet Chandon.

The sheltered canopied terrace had beautiful views to the east across the North Sea with ample space for toasting our newfound freedoms, which are allowing us again to explore more of the country.

The afternoon tea itself featured an enviable selection of fresh teas including a range of white, black and green on offer. The delicate finger sandwiches highlighted the best of local ingredients including St Andrews Farmhouse Cheddar, and North Sea mackerel. The local twist continued over to the scones, with a locally produced gooseberry jam on offer alongside classic red fruit and peach jams. The final flourish was three exquisite patisseries, the highlight of which was a pistachio cake topped with chocolate ganache.

The Fairmont St Andrews’ champagne picnic.

If that’s not your cup of tea, you could always order a picnic hamper from the hotel’s kitchen, sling it on your back and take the walk into St Andrews. At a normal pace, it will take you about an hour to make the journey to the town’s award-winning golden sands. The hamper comes with a blanket and enough food for a good spread for two people. An optional extra will see a chilled bottle of champagne (Moet of course) included for you to enjoy.

Exploring historic St Andrews

A view of St Andrews including the historic cathedral.

The town itself may be famous for its (many) fantastic golf courses, but there are so many more incredible things to see and do in St Andrews. A good starting point are the remains of the cathedral with the St Rule’s Tower and its incredible views of the region.

The cathedral, along with the world-famous university, are also key locations on the town’s ghost tours. If, like me, you’re a bit of a foodie (and if your picnic hasn’t filled you up) I’d recommend checking out The Cheesy Toast Shack at the beachfront, or the always popular Jannettas – there’s a good chance you’ll have to queue here, but I can promise you it’s worth it!

For its size, St Andrews also boasts a fantastic array of big brands and local independent tourist retailers. If you’ve got the time, it’s well worth a walk up and down Market Street and South Street – there’s bound to be something to suit everybody’s tastes.

Where to eat

When evening comes, you can jump on the shuttle bus back to the hotel to ready yourself for dinner. The spacious rooms included a full-size bath, a double shower and a stocked mini-bar to enjoy while you get dressed.

Once ready, you have the option to dine at the hotel’s Squire restaurant, which has a focus on fresh, Scottish ingredients, or within a 30-minute drive you have the option of 10 Michelin Guide recommended restaurants, including The Cellar and The Peat Inn – both of which have been awarded one star from the world-famous guide.

After dinner, you could retreat to your cosy room, or make the most of the well-stocked bar and those Moet terraces. With the nights drawing in earlier, you can relax outside with a cocktail or a glass of bubbly and – clear skies permitting – enjoy the views of the night sky thanks to the area’s relatively low light pollution.

For me, there’s no better way to end a staycation than sitting with a drink under the stars.

How to get to St Andrews

The larger of the two Moet champagne terraces at the Fairmont St Andrews.

From Aberdeen, a one-hour train ride will get you to the nearest station of Leuchars. From there, St Andrews and the Fairmont hotel is a 10-minute taxi ride away.
For those driving, take the A90 to Dundee, across the Tay Bridge and into Fife. Then follow the signs along the A914, A919 and A91 to St Andrews.

Fairmont St Andrews, St Andrews KY16 8PN
Telephone: 01334 837000
Price: A double room on B&B basis costs from £179, subject to seasonal availability

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