Fairmont St Andrews
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Kilt complex: a touch of tartan for the decor in one of the 209 guest rooms
Set in 520 acres of lush, secluded estate beside the rugged Fife coastline, the Fairmont St Andrews - just three miles from this week's British Open - captivates you from the moment your cab noses on to its long driveway.
The exterior resembles an elegant French chateau, but as soon as you step inside, the tartan carpets, paintings and the warm hospitality remind you that you are in Scotland. The bright, airy glass-roofed atrium adds an American flavour, as befits a hotel bought by the up-scale North American chain Fairmont 10 years ago.
It has 209 tradit-ional guest rooms, and swanky bathrooms, with heated floors for chilly Scots mornings.
Despite the fact that the hotel attracts the rich and famous (it hosted the 2009 G20 Summit) the atmosphere is laid back. The Esperante is the only one of its three restaurants which enforces a dress code. It serves exquisite, Mediterranean-influenced food, which includes good veggie and fish dishes, all immaculately presented. The Clubhouse is perfect for less formal dining.
Part of the hotel's appeal for golfers is its two, par 72, 18-hole golf courses, the Kittocks and the Torrance, as well as its proximity to the R&A.
For non-golfers there is a superb health club and spa (the anti-ageing Kingdom of Fife facial was pure decadence), and a complimentary shuttle bus to St Andrews.
If you don't feel like driving or flying, East Coast has direct trains to Leuchars, 10mins from the hotel, with return fares from £27.
RATES: Doubles with breakfast from £159
TEL: 01334 837 000