, 2023-04-20 03:35:02,
St Andrews and golf go together like neeps and tatties — but on a long weekend at the Fairmont hotel in the city, we discovered a plethora of other gems hiding behind the immaculate apple-green lawns. Friendly Scottish hospitality, medieval history, honest food, stunning Fife coastal walks, a relaxing spa and a bevy of freely-available facilities — and all an easy train ride away from King’s Cross.
Where is it?
On a beautiful bay north of Edinburgh, the Fairmont St Andrews perches on the cliffs on the eastern coast of Fife. The university city’s 400-year-old castle and cathedral are a good walk away, and the 520-acre hotel is bordered by outrageously green golf courses and a craggy, magnificent coastline. It’s a short drive from Leuchars station, which is itself a five-and-a-half hour direct train ride from King’s Cross. (Or an hour and 20 minute flight to Edinburgh, plus the same time again in the car).
We recommend the relaxing train option: the LNER route was lined with excellent scenery and came with working WiFi and decent food, and it feels quite magical to step out of the station to be greeted by St Andrews’ awesome hills and beach scenery.
You might think St Andrews is all about golf — the sport was invented here in the 15th century — and the Fairmont does have two championship courses, but the hotel’s design is keen to highlight there’s more than just eighteen holes around here.
A vast, glass-sided central atrium showcases the stunning coast out of the window, as does a 19,000 disc-hanging ‘Zephyr’ sculpture by George Singer, recalling the nearby roaring sea’s waves, and the fishing net-daubed carpets.
There’s plenty of space everywhere, for everyone: alongside the vast grounds, the hotel’s interior is well planned for its golfers, relaxation-seeking couples, and families alike. There’s a spacious modern cinema set in a large conference and events quarter, and a pampering Espa spa is tucked into one corner.
Food & drink
A US-style sports bar opposite the traditional Kittocks Den bar and brasserie with live music and an Italian restaurant across the atrium feels like a buzzy street rather than the usual doldrum hotel lobby. There are four distinctive restaurants: very friendly service at Italian La Cucina, which has a buzzy atmosphere and a nicely varied (but not worryingly dictionary-long) menu, including a…
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