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Resort is about much more than golf

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A place to stay, a place to relax, a place to enjoy, Archerfield has to be one of the best family holiday destinations in Scotland, writes Sarah Howden

My new year’s resolution was not to wait. To wait for Christmas, Easter, some milestone birthday or anniversary celebration. Instead, top of my To Do list in 2016 is to spend more time with family and loved ones. And what better way to do that than with a short break away?

We all need to escape and reconnect with loved ones from time to time. A few days away from work and everyday living to recharge the batteries, catch up with friends or family and enjoy some serious R&R.

Our destination was Archerfield, East Lothian. Famed for its golf courses and celebrity clientele, Archerfield is not just about playing golf. As well as Archerfield Links’ two distinguished courses designed by David J Russell, the expansive estate is also home to the award-winning Fletcher’s Cottage Spa and a collection of luxurious home-from-home retreats, from intimate pavilions and cottages to spacious lodges and houses… including the historic five-star Archerfield House.

Our home for the weekend was a sumptuous lodge with three bedrooms and sprawling, open-plan living with luxurious, yet understated, interiors with wifi, Sky TV and LCD TVs in every room. Elegant furnishings, Persian rugs over solid oak flooring (with underfloor heating, of course) and an imposing log fire create a sense of calm while the state-of-the-art kitchen is kitted out to the highest standard and is worthy of a show home. Then there are those jaw dropping floor to ceiling windows that open to a private – and child-friendly – balcony with dining table and chairs to make the most of those views across Direlton Links. The bedrooms and bathrooms are equally impressive – it’s like something out of an interiors magazine and should come with a warning: you will not want to leave.

Children are thoughtfully catered for and our lodge came with wooden high chairs, premium cots, soft blankets and a welcome basket of their favourite breakfast choices, not to mention an abundance of space for them to play in. With more than enough room for six adults and two young children, it was hard to leave the lure of the lodge. However, with two acclaimed golf courses on our doorstep, you can’t visit Archerfield without a round of golf. We tried out the 18-hole Fidra Links, a unique mixture of pine forest and fast-running links with sweeping fairways and punishing bunkers. A challenging par 72 course, the greens are formidable and the terrain challenges all levels of golfers. It was one impressive course.

If relaxing is more your thing, then Fletcher’s Cottage Spa is not to be missed. I’ve been fortunate enough to sample some of the world’s most iconic spas, from the Mandarin Oriental, Banyan Tree to Gleneagles. And Fletcher’s Cottage is up there with the best; indeed, it is little wonder the Sunday Times has ranked this place among the top six British spas.

A haven of rustic luxury with log burners, candlelit therapeutic baths and bath huts, spacious private changing rooms and a picturesque walled herb garden as your view, Fletcher’s Cottage is seriously relaxing and ideal for catching up with loved ones. Make the most of the marine steam room and herb aroma sauna with herbs handpicked from the garden before sinking into the spacious sofas and enjoying the complimentary fruit, juices and sherry in the relaxation room.

Fletcher’s Cottage is also home to a wide range of pampering and exclusive treatments, such as the Beatitude Supreme Happiness with Hot Stone Therapy (£110).

Beatitude, Scotland’s own luxury and natural aromatherapy brand which uses only the finest pure essential oils and highest quality natural plant oils, launched an exclusive deluxe treatment that combines massage and hot volcanic stones. The treatment was deeply relaxing with warm oils melting away any tension whilst the pure essential oils were uplifting. Or try the Rasul Experience (£50 for one or £80 for two people). Inclusive of use of the spa facilities is a traditional cleansing mud rasul treatment in your very own private steam chamber. Great for friends and a lot of fun, you simply exfoliate your skin before applying the smooth detoxifying mud all over. After the steam treatment, wash off any excess mud for silky smooth skin.

As amazing as Archerfield is, you have to leave the estate and explore what East Lothian has to offer. The picturesque village of nearby Gullane is a must for an ice cream from Falko Kaffehaus and a stroll along the award-winning beach with views across the Firth of Forth. Then there’s the medieval village of Dirleton, just west of Gullane. Built on a natural rocky outcrop are the remains of the 13th century Dirleton Castle which is well worth a visit.

A short drive away is the town of North Berwick. You could easily spend all day here enjoying the boutiques and coffee shops, trying out the famed lobster and chips at the harbour, walking along the beaches and soaking up the views, or exploring one of the many visitor attractions. Top of the list has to be a visit to the Scottish Seabird Centre. Ideal for families, you can control the interactive live cameras in the Discovery Centre to zoom in on wildlife on the islands, including the Bass Rock which is home to the world’s largest Northern gannet colony and the Isle of May which is the largest puffin colony on the east coast of Britain. There is also the Wildlife Theatre and soft play for little ones.

East Lothian is also famed for its culinary offering with an abundance of dining offerings.

Whilst the lodges offer the very best in self-catering, we opted to enjoy the popular restaurant at the Archerfield Links Club House. As you would expect from a five star golf club, the food is delicious. Impressive menus and wine lists, fresh ingredients, generous portions and fine dining surroundings with a laid back atmosphere lead to a great culinary experience and reasonable prices. Ensure you make the most of the hearty breakfasts, too.

A three-bedroom lodge costs from £550 and includes a welcome basket with sandwiches, muffins and snacks. Fletcher’s Cottage is free to use with any spa treatment over £80. For more information visit or phone 01620 897 050.