When I first told my golf-obsessed husband we were heading for a weekend at the Fairmont in St Andrews, his eyes lit up… causing mine to roll.
With the coastal town being the world-renowned “home of golf”, I had expected the five-star Fairmont Hotel to be purely a celebration of that title with its main focus being upon attracting fans of the glorious game.
However, I couldn’t have been more wrong, as within moments of stepping through the concierge-manned doors of the hotel it was clear the Fairmont was keen to celebrate all of Scotland’s claims to fame.
A grand mural overhanging the welcoming fireplace and inviting sofas in the entryway framed the faces of some of Scotland’s greats, from Old Tom Morris and Charles Rennie Mackintosh to JM Barrie and Annie Lennox.
We weren’t the only ones to spend time pondering the painting and trying our best to name them all, aided in the end by a concierge with a handy list detailing their names and accomplishment from top left clockwise!
Stunning coastline views
A walk along the ground floor corridor to our room boasted views across the kingdom’s coastline as far as Broughty Ferry, but with the rugged skyline of St Andrews itself just a couple of golf courses and three miles north.
Our gorgeous room boasted sea views too and, much to the husband’s delight, a view across the hotel’s 520 acres and down to the two golf courses and clubhouse.
From here it was onwards to explore the vast 200-bedroom hotel and its many restaurants and bars.
While we took in the surroundings of Kittock’s Den bar, and enjoyed a bowl of Cullen skink which any north-easter would approve of, the subtle details in decor again paid homage to the Fife coast’s roots.
Though contemporary and luxurious, the decor subtly alluded to St Andrew’s fishing heritage with patterned carpets reminiscent of fishing nets, seaweed designs woven through modern curtains and even fishing ropes and reels incorporated into cushions and lamps.
Our notably spacious bathroom featured floor-to-ceiling marble, with complimentary robes and slippers.
After donning those, our afternoon was spent feeling like we were a million miles away from a cold day in Scotland thanks to the cosy and relaxing spa.
Hidden in the depths of the hotel, the pool and its accompanying sauna, steam room, hot tub, relaxation room and spa, all sit sunken below a bunker-like mound to ensure privacy.
Our dinner in the bar, which followed a surprise complimentary tray of birthday truffles and cocktails, comprised a fine plate of fish and chips for my husband and a delicious steak and all the trimmings feast for myself.
The hotel boasted several dining and drinking options from the main bar and the La Cucina restaurant to the Zephyr sports bar and the Squire Restaurant.
Though all venues were vast they were never short of families, couples and groups of friends.
The sports bar again proudly boasted of Scotland’s greats, this time with an array of signed football shirts and Scottish rugby portraits adorning the walls.
Those lounging areas encased the vast Zephyr atrium which had a striking focal point in the form of a shimmering light installation featuring 20,000 steel discs that changed colours to match the mood and time of the day.
Beneath there was a games room and cinema for the kids, and above a golf pro shop for fans of the glorious game.
The Fairmont is also a respected wedding venue and we saw two excited couples enjoying tours and picturing their big days there.
Visiting the ‘home of golf’
But for those looking to explore St Andrews itself, the university town is easy to reach thanks to a complimentary shuttle bus that transports guests to and from the ancient town.
We managed to take in the cathedral, castle, the Old Course and its accompanying golf shops before enjoying a drink, and a chat with the locals, in The Keys bar.
Back at the hotel and the traditional afternoon tea proved a two-hour delight offering up plate after plate of fine pieces, puddings and bottomless pots of tea.
Usually an experience hampered by a severe egg and nut allergy, the chefs pulled out all the stops to ensure my three-tier display of goodies easily rivalled my husband’s more traditional one.
The same must be said for our final meals comprising an authentic Italian feast in La Cucina and a buffet breakfast from the extensive selection on offer at the Squire Restaurant.
As hinted at in our first impression, the Fairmont really did show all the best of Scotland, and not just in its decor but in its food and facilities.
They were topped only by its friendly and approachable staff, among them many university students, who one might argue were the hotel’s greatest asset.
Stays at Fairmont St Andrews can be booked at the hotel’s website here.
The Fairmont, Off A917, St Andrews, Fife KY16 8PN
Phone: 01334 837000