Barreling round the country with 2 dogs and the long suffering husband with a case stuffed with thermals where better to head than St. Andrews in Fife.
An hour and a half from Edinburgh and slightly longer from Glasgow. The Fairmont Hotel just outside the town was our destination. As the car came to a halt and Dave and a I did a quick glance round our car which resembled a mobile home that has been burgled as I blurted ‘ God quick we can tidy it up before anyone spots this bleedin’ shambles’, but we were too late, suddenly the door was opened and the kilted and smiling concierge welcomed us and our hotpoch of luggage, half zipped bags, laptops, dog food, coats, boots and even a swimming costume and didn’t bat an eyelid as he howled it all out of the car. No the lovely man merely grinned and announced as he released our 2 scruffy mongrels from the boot that he had several dogs at home and weren’t they just great! immediate relaxation. I had a feeling we were going to like this place. A lot.
The Fairmont, which used to be known as St. Andrews Bay, is a luxury hotel there is no other word for it but despite that sashaying through the corridors with my two cat & dog home characters was nothing but a joy. Everyone stopped and gave them a stroke, and we were welcomed as they were with open arms and biscuits.
After check in we went for a long and lovely walk along the beach – it looks like Malibu – but to be honest you’d need a bottle of Malibu to get your kit off in May as it’s not exactly tropical. The endless sands are peppered with dog walkers, joggers and kite surfers who literally take off and fly over the waves in front of your eyes. With ruddy faces and empty bellies we wandered through the town and fell upon The Glasshouse in the centre of town for lunch. One of 3 restaurants owned and run in the town , the others The Dolls House and The Grillhouse also came highly recommended. The Glasshouse did a 2 course lunch for £5.95 how they did it I have no idea but a great bowl of homemade broccoli soup and a hunk of bread followed by a pasta with tomato and Italian sausage hit the mark after a late night in Edinburgh before we left. Yum. Off back to the hotel to recline in a horizontal position.
Next morning, early doors, down for breakfast which they serve til 11am at the weekend was a feast no less. A buffet the size of Perth and a counter where you order your omlettes or eggs to order. A Cappuccino with a kick like a horse, a look at the complimentary newspaper and we were ready for our day. Back to the beach, another bracing walk, then a massage for my old bones back at The Fairmont. An hour of pampering lying prostrate on a warmed bed untangled every knot in my bod and left me serene and according to Dave – much nicer to be with. Well ’til he said that obviously.
The lovely thing about St. Andrews high streets are they are still dominated by small local traders, there are the usual suspects of the multi-nationals but they are far outnumbered by all the quirky, local shops which sell everything from antiques, clothes, antlers, wine, fish, curios, deli’s, and of course Jennattas, the Italian ice cream that could bring a grown man to his knees. Well it did Dave but that was less to do with the ice cream and more to do with the fact he caught his Boot on the pavement and nearly did a spectacular head plant in front of the world.
Once the ice cream had been walked off we found The Grange just outside St. Andrews for a late lunch. Despite the Scottish sunshine there was a wonderful roaring fire as we sat and ate chicken stuffed with mozzeralla and sun dried tomoates, new potatoes and green beans for the princely sum of £5.95 which we washed down with a glass of wine. The bill was well under £20 for the two us . Perfect fare and great if you’re grippy – and we are being Scottish obviously – what value!
After dropping the Hounds of the Baskervilles back in the room we realised we really weren’t hungry at all so spent the evening enjoying a few drinks in the hotel bar and chatting to the staff who were incredibly friendly and helpful.
Our stay was lovely. The location stunning. Service superlative. What’s not to love?
So if you’re heading St. Andrews way pack for all weather and you will be ready to take advantage of a truly beautiful part of the country, and if the idea of a big hotel doesn’t’ turn your crank and you prefer something more intimate and self-catering based then here is another suggestion for you too – thought they don’t take dogs.
St. Andrews Coach Houses.
Self catering is a good way to go here too if you would like luxury and flexibility. Situated an easy drive or taxi ride from the town St. Andrews Coach houses offer a high level of accommodation for a very reasonable price. There are 3 coachhouses Power showers, fluffy robes, state of the art kitchen, TV, DVD’s in fact everything you need and more. Plus the opportunity to watch Sophia the horse eating her breakfast in the morning as farm life goes one around you.
Maggie & John Picken are delightful hosts and Maggie is a walking almanac of all things St Andrews and will help you plan your day no matter what you want to do.
£85 per night for a 3 night break for 4 or weekly rates more info at www.standrewscoachhouses.co.uk
Fairmont, St.Andrews is a wonderful spot overlooking the golf course and North sea and as you arrive up the sweeping drive it takes your breath away. The scale of this hotel is astounding, in a good way I always joke you need a skateboard to get round. There’s a lush spa on the ground level with a chilled out pool, sauna, wet room area as well as Esperanto their in house fine dining restaurant. Vast couches and chairs to lounge in in the bar and atrium and a clubhouse by the golf course which does great grub too. A highlight are the tartan clad cheerful and knowledgeable staff. www.fairmont.com/standrews