I love showcasing accommodation in Fife and indeed Scotland, I love helping my readers to find their perfect place to stay. Although I tend to end up in quirky glamping spots I do like to ramp it up with a stay in a luxury hotel in Scotland once in a while, everybody loves to be pampered after all. Scotland does luxury well! This weekend I was invited along to check out the multi million pound renovation of the stunning Fairmont near St Andrews, spend the night and enjoy their Savoy Afternoon tea.
Situated three miles east of St Andrews the Fairmont Hotel sits in 512 acres of beautifully manicured land. Two championship eighteen hole golf courses, The Torrance and The Kittocks, hug the coastline surrounding the hotel with panoramic views of St Andrews and the Fife Coastal Path.
Since Mother’s Day is just around the corner I brought my mum along and as soon as we set foot in the lobby we knew we were in for a treat. A huge log fire was lit with comfy couches to sit in and warm up and we needed it, it was freezing outside! The reception was just a taster of what was to come, grand and beautifully decorated with quirky one-off pieces of artwork lining the walls.
Although I hadn’t visited this hotel before so hadn’t seen the “before” the refurbishment is hugely impressive. All of the 211 bedrooms have been completely revamped. Our room had two double beds with crisp white linen, thick throws and knitted cream cushions. The checked carpet is luxurious and the quality furnishing, including the dark wood desk and tv unit screamed upmarket. The bathroom is stunning, when I move house this is the bathroom I want. The grey marble, jet black wood panelling and white porcelain is modern and edgy. There is a roomy walk in shower (rain shower, my favourite!) and a humongous bath. The lighting is great and there are plenty of mirrors, toiletries and fluffy white towels.
I stay in hotels a lot and often there are one or two little things I would change, just to make it perfect. The Fairmont? I wouldn’t change a thing. My bedroom was fantastic.
Once we had a cuppa in the room and warmed up it was time to explore the hotel and that alone could easily take a couple of hours, it’s huge! Stepping out from the lift onto the first floor your eyes are immediately drawn to a massive art installation which hangs above the 80 foot high glass-topped Atrium. This is a showstopper. Over 60 foot long and designed by London-based artist George Singer who describes the piece as "designed to reflect the crashing waves, the flocks of starlings, the long wind-blown grasses, the spring blossom, the shoals of fish, the rolling hills, the clouds and the sheer energy, beauty,and dynamism of the east coast of Scotland.” It’s unique and completes the space perfectly. The Atrium itself is a blue/grey colour which changes tone depending on the time of day. The grand staircase in the centre leads to a huge wood floor which is used for events with the Squire Restaurant to the right and the Afternoon Tea area to the left. I absolutely loved this area, the specially commissioned artwork which lined the walls, the array of different sitting areas, the book shelves, whoever created this space really knows their stuff.
Our dinner that evening was in La Cucina, an Italian and Mediterranean restuarant overlooking the Atrium. It’s warm and relaxing and let’s your imagination wander to the trattorias on the streets of Italy, to a warm balmy night on a balcony of a Italian restaurant with a glass of wine, listening to the animated chatter of the locals below. The Italian music and burnt orange walls, traditional furniture and delicious Antipaste table filled with meats, cheeses and vegetables wouldn’t look out of place in Florence or the Amalfi Coast.
My starter was a traditional bruscetta which seems to be my go-to starter wherever I go. My mum opted for Bresaola, filled with soft cream cheese and walnuts with rocket and lemon. We did a little swapsy half way through, as you do, and both were delicious. For our mains my mum, having been brave with a starter she hadn’t tasted before played safe with a Spaghetti alla Bolognese which was a huge hit. I chose a Porcini Pizze with rocket and white truffle oil which arrived a lot larger than I was expecting which is always a lovely surprise, especially when it tastes as good as this. Give me a restaurant that serves simple, honest food packed full of fantastic flavours over those teeny tiny Michelin portions any day. Our desserts finished off the meal perfectly, I enjoyed a light, fluffy Mousse al Cioccolato with olive oil and salted caramel while my mum had an amazing, she assured me, tiramisu with raspberry sorbet. With all that food any plans to relax in the atrium with a book went swiftly out the window and instead I collapsed into my extremely comfortable bed and slept better than I had for ages.
Awaking early so as not to waste a minute enjoying this incredible hotel we headed down to the Squire Restaurant for breakfast. I defy anyone not to find something they like from this well thought out and ample buffet. All the usual hot items were there such as bacon, sausages, mushrooms, toast etc. There was also cereals, porridge, fruit, hams, cheeses, fresh bread, pastries, pancakes, waffles, made to order omelettes and poached eggs, muffins, rolls and an a la carte menu with dishes such as Eggs Benedict and Grilled Stonehaven Kippers. Again the tone of the atrium walls changed and the blue tone became apparent in the morning light, giving the unique impression of being underwater!
To help digest breakfast we wrapped up and stepped out into the freezing cold wind to walk to the club house. Here, we were told, we would find breathtaking views of the coast and St Andrews. The watery eyes and wild hair was worth it as the views were indeed amazing. A quick few photos were enough and we raced back to the bedroom for a cuppa before it was time to check out.
We had one more treat in store though before we left, an afternoon tea for Mother’s Day and not just any afternoon tea, no sir, a Savoy Afternoon Tea if you will. The world famous Savoy in London is managed by Fairmont so you can now sample a little of London here. In the Atrium Longe, with delicate blue flowery china, sandwiches with fillings such as Coronation Chicken on tomato bread and Duo of Scottish Salmon with dill crème fraiche on lemon bread are presented on a traditional tea stand with homemade scones, Cornish clotted cream, homemade lemon curd and strawberry preserve. Once those are devoured it’s time for the cakes. I’ve been to many afternoon teas and although the sandwiches and scones are usually nice the cakes quite often leave a lot to be desired. Not this time though. Delicate and beautifully decorated pastries are brought to you on a silver platter for you to chose. We were so full we only chose two each but feel free to try them all. The Head Pastry Chef creates stunning combinations of flavours in these dainty little masterpieces such as Blackberry and Lemon Macaron, a Chocolate Eclair infused with Earl Grey Tea and a Hazelnut Sponge with Cappuccino Chantilly and caramelized hazelnut. The perfect end to a perfect stay.
Need to know
Situated three miles from St Andrews, 52 miles from Edinburgh Airport.
Room rates start at £169 per night including a full Scottish breakfast.
Dog friendly rooms are available and families are made very welcome. Shuttle buses are available to transport you into St Andrews.
Golf tuition is available on the two golf courses and the Golf Team are happy to plan and book tee times.
This stay was sponsored by Fairmont St Andrews but as always these are all my own words and opinions.