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Travel: St Andrews – The home of Golf offers luxury par excellence

Old Course Hotel St Andrews
Old Course Hotel St Andrews

I’m more of a Prosecco glass than a Claret Jug kind of gal. So a trip to the Home of Golf – and a hotel steeped in the traditions of the game – gave me a certain sense of trepidation.

However, I needn’t have worried, because it turns out you don’t need to be in love with the sport to have a tee-rrific time in St Andrews.

We’re staying at the Old Course Hotel, overlooking the famous course which every five years hosts The Open Championship, golf’s oldest and greatest tournament.

And if it’s good enough for golfing royalty – 15-time major winner Tiger Woods is among those to have stayed at the hotel – it’s good enough for us.

Our room is a stunning suite with panoramic views taking in West Sands beach and the famous Swilcan Bridge, which spans the 1st and 18th fairways of the Old Course.

Thankfully we don’t need to worry about any balls going astray. The windows are made from bulletproof glass, just to make sure guests are safe as houses. Just mind your head if you’re chilling out on the private balcony!

The room is what can only be described as the epitome of luxury.

With flat-screen TVs, an iPod docking stereo and Nespresso coffee machine, you could easily spend your stay holed up in the hotel.

But then you’d be missing out on what this fantastic little university town has to offer.

St Andrews was thrown into the limelight as the place where Kate met Wills in 2001 – but it had earned its place on the map long before it played royal match-maker.

West Sands beach, just a 10-minute walk from the hotel, is so beautiful that it takes your breath away.

The pristine golden sands, famously depicted in the opening scenes of Oscar-winning Chariots of Fire, stretch for miles and are ideal for a pleasant stroll – or a jog – at any time of year.

A wander around the town, with its ancient castle and cathedral ruins sitting alongside quaint cafes and shops, is a pleasure. And the Sealife Centre and Golf Museum are firm favourites with visitors if the weather isn’t looking fair.

If you’re feeling more energetic, where better to try your hand at a round of golf? My golf-mad husband was like a kid in a sweetshop at the prospect of a game. He jumped aboard the hotel’s shuttle bus for the three-mile drive for a round at The Dukes.

Its hillside setting offers glorious views of the town, surrounding countryside and beach. A post-round pint is a must in the modern but cosy clubhouse.

Back at the hotel, we decide our golfer’s elbow needs some TLC so check out the Kohler Spa, and what a treat it proves to be.

The hot stone massage–which sees the therapist gently knead from the top of my head to literally the tips of my toes – proves a world-class spa experience and a welcome break from the daily grind.

Nothing could make me feel more chilled than an afternoon hanging by the spa pool in a fluffy dressing gown and slippers, dipping in and out of the sauna, steam room and hydrotherapy pool.

Leaving the mobile behind and taking a few hours off from the world is something we should all do more often.

Before we know it, hours have passed and it’s almost time for dinner at the Road Hole Restaurant.

And this is a meal I won’t forget in a hurry.

The floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Old Course offer stunning views, in sync with the food at this three-AA-awarded eaterie.

Aside from the sumptuous food, including melt-in-your-mouth steak, seafood and soufflé, it’s the little touches that make this more of an experience than a meal out.

A glass of champagne to start, our waitress suggests wine pairings for each part of the meal.We round off with the chocolate marquise, which is a dessert lover’s dream – a mix of caramel, toffee, honeycomb and chocolate, followed by a few cocktails. Sweet Dreams is a favourite.

And, with that in mind, it’s back to that big comfy bed for a night of sound slumber.

The Old Course is the par-fect package and definitely has all the fun of the fairway, whether you like a slice of sporting action or not.


The Old Course Hotel wasn’t actually built until 1968, but visitors are amazed at how well it blends seamlessly into the landscape and surrounding architecture of the town.


A Classic Spa Day at the Kohler Waters Spa at the Old Course Hotel costs £180 per person.

Room from £307 per room per night on a B&B basis, based on two people sharing. or call 01334 474 371.