With views across the world famous “Road Hole” 17th on The Old Course, the “Himalayas” greens of the St Andrews Ladies’ Putting Club and beyond to the 2-mile stretch of beach on the West Sands, this prestigious AA Five Red Star hotel is situated at the very heart of the golfing activity in the “Auld Grey Toon”.
The Old Course Hotel has 144 rooms, including 35 suites, featuring a mix of classically elegant and contemporary interiors. Jacques Garcia (of Hôtel Costes, Paris and Hôtel Metropole, Monte Carlo fame) was the French designer responsible for furnishing many of the hotel’s suites.
All rooms include a KOHLER® bathroom, reading corner, writing desk, complimentary wi-fi, Air-Conditioning, large flat-screen TV’s and tea and coffee making facilities..Suites have full-length windows with balconies and a mini galley or kitchen area. “Fairway” suites are located in the Millennium wing of the resort, “Old Course” suites are situated directly above the 17th fairway of the Old Course and the “Royal & Ancient” suite is appointed with a separate parlour room and a dining table for six.
The Road Hole Restaurant offers magnificent views across the opening and closing holes on The Old Course and this 3 AA rosettes awarded restaurant presents the very best of Scottish seafood and grills, from lobsters and scallops to Black Isle steaks.
For less formal dining, the Road Hole Bar serves a variety of salads, sandwiches and desserts but the main attraction of the bar is its selection of more than 300 whiskies, a number of which are presented as “Journeys,” allowing guests to taste a range of whiskies from within a particular Scottish region.
Sands Grill is a family-friendly restaurant – dogs are also welcome – that provides a children’s menu, high chairs and complimentary baby food for infants. There’s a wide assortment of salad starters and popular mains such as Scotch lamb, Loch Duart salmon and Black Isle rump steak.
Next to the hotel, the Jigger Inn (the Old Station Master’s lodge, dating back to the 1850s) is the place for traditional Scottish fare such as Cullen Skink and fish & chips, accompanied by a great selection of beers, including the Jigger Ale, which is exclusively produced for this pub by Belhaven Brewery.
Hams Hame Pub & Grill is located across the road from Hamilton Grand, the recently restored collection of luxury apartments that tower over the 18th green of The Old Course, and this informal venue serves outstanding cuisine such as local East Neuk seafood as well as pork, beef and poultry from across the country.The Duke’s clubhouse is a relaxed dining option before or after a round on the Duke’s course where golfers can enjoy a hearty breakfast before heading out or they can tuck into a selection of different dishes once the final putt has been holed out on the home green. The Captain’s Room, off the main bar, can also be hired for groups of up to twenty people.
The town of St Andrews is well worth exploring, the traditional character of its old buildings juxtaposed with the vibrancy of the thousands of students who attend the university. A guided tour of the town is recommended, where you’ll learn all about its fascinating history whilst traversing the cobbled streets in search of interesting nooks and crannies around the town centre.
There are many local attractions around the town, including the Sea Life Centre, St Andrews Aquarium, the Botanic Garden and the British Golf Museum. Further afield, Craigtoun Country Park sits just outside the town and the Scottish Deer Centre is situated to the west of Cupar, less than half an hour’s drive away.Kellie Castle lies ten miles to the south of St Andrews and its garden and grounds are open all year round but access to the castle, shop and tearoom is only allowed between 1 April and 31 October, with guided tours of the castle every morning. Scotland’s Secret Bunker at Troywood is located ten minutes from here and this rather unique Cold War attraction is also only open during the spring and summer months.
The recently refurbished Kohler Waters Spa at the Old Course Hotel features a 20-metre swimming pool, thermal suite and roof top hot tub where clients can release their stress and reconnect with the world. From hydrotherapy treatments to massage therapies, there’s a wide selection of restorative options available to help bring a sense of calm to both body and spirit.
Rejuvenating facials, manicures and pedicures are all on offer whilst, for the more adventurous, the Dead Sea moor mud application or seaweed wrap with sea salt exfoliation might just be the sort of service that works best for you.The resort can also arrange a whole host of outdoor activities away from the Old Course Hotel such as the “Blown Away Experience,” involving sand based pursuits like land yachting and beach kayaking, or “Muddy Boots” which is a child friendly day out involving tyre swings, downhill grass sledging and a giant jumping pillow.
Acquired in 2004 by the Kohler group of luxury bathroom fame and a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Legend Collection, the Old Course Hotel was originally built by British Rail in 1968 with a modest complement of 80 bedrooms and couple of bars and restaurants.
Fifty years after its foundation, a £10 million refurbishment programme in 2017 saw 103 of the hotel’s current 144 rooms refurbished, all of its windows replaced and a new rubberised roof installed to counter damage caused by wayward tee shots played from the 17th hole on The Old Course.
Another £7m is being spent upgrading and extending the hotel’s Kohler Waters Spa, which will see the development of a new pool, gymnasium, spa café and work-out rooms. Further projects include establishing an elite sports facility to cater to sports teams from around the world.
The Old Course Hotel might sit next to The Old Course but, until very recently, resort guests were unable to be guaranteed a tee time because the daily ballot system was in operation. In order to ensure golfers from the hotel could get a game of golf when they visited St Andrews, the Duke’s course was established on the outskirts of the town in the mid-1990s, with a shuttle service transporting players to and from the venue.
Designed by 5-time Open champion Peter Thomson, the Duke’s is a big, bold heathland-style layout that can be stretched to more than 7,500 yards and it’s hosted a number of elite amateur events in recent years. Tim Liddy was called in to revise and renovate the course in 2006 and his reworking of the bunkers is particularly striking.
Through a partnership with the St Andrews Links Trust – the Old Course Hotel is now able to present guaranteed prime tee times on The Old Course as part of a package that includes hotel accommodations and rounds of golf on other nearby courses.
Here are a few review comments from golfers who’ve played the Britain & Ireland Top 100 ranked Duke’s course:
“The Duke’s must be one of the most enjoyable places to play golf in the whole of Scotland.”
“Lovely contrast compared to the other St Andrews courses and well worth playing.”
“The Duke’s is visually stunning and has a real championship feel to it.”
“If ever I make it back to St Andrews, the Duke’s will be at the top of my list.”
“The course is a joy to play and offers an excellent heathland alternative to the familiar links courses just up the road.”
“Returning here just over a year since my last visit, the Duke’s enthralled me once again from start to finish.”
“I play a lot of golf around the world and can honestly say that you overlook the Duke’s at your peril if you visit Scotland and miss the chance of a round here.”