Like many families, we’ve not been traveling much in the last couple of years so after such a long wait it would have to be special. The five star Fairmont St Andrews seemed to be a perfect hit – not too far from home (just 1.5 hours from Edinburgh) and promising lots of family-friendly activities with extra luxury.
On arrival at the resort a very warm welcome awaited us and Florian the Concierge wasted no time in getting us checked in, oriented and luggage transported to our rooms.
Neither. The Fairmont is a luxury resort, offering much more than just a hotel. With two golf courses, pool, spa, fitness center, four restaurants, two bars and exceptional guest services, there’s something for everyone.
On our first night we visited Kittocks Den Bar and Kitchen for some casual dining. The menu had all the usual gastro-pub offerings, set in comfy yet sophisticated surroundings with lovely views over the atrium and its spectacular hanging art installation. I ordered the flat iron steak, served with garlic tomato, chestnut mushrooms, giant Jenga-style chips and Bèarnaise sauce and couldn’t resist a side of haggis bon bons with mustard and whiskey dip for good measure too. What a meal! The steak was perfectly cooked, flavorsome and melt in the mouth, the accompaniments delicious and the haggis spiced delightfully. My wife Sìne had cod and chips and the kids junior burger and mini fish and chips. Clean plates and happy faces all round. The children found space for ice-cream and my wife a chocolate brownie with white chocolate chantilly cream, cherry sorbet and cherry compote and she’s still raving about the sorbet.
Next night we tried La Cucina, the in-house Italian restaurant, where the highlight for me was the caprese salad starter sprinkled with an olive crumb which made the whole dish pop with flavour.
Breakfast is served in the airy Squire Restaurant and a grand affair. An extensive hot and cold buffet has something for every palate and there is an egg chef on hand to make eggs to your liking and a fresh waffle and pancake station (which my kids Reuben and Sarah loved). I do enjoy a good breakfast and this was as good as it gets.
The Fairmont has a number of options for families. We booked two adjoining rooms; a delux kingsize and a delux double double for the kids. Both were well-appointed and spacious with a huge bathroom with bath and walk-in shower, plus fluffy robes, slippers and luxury toiletries. Each had a coffee machine and an honesty mini-bar with a large range of drinks and snacks – just as well the shortbread was complimentary otherwise my son would have run up a huge bill! The view from the windows was stunning, the focal point being the golf course and clubhouse in the foreground and sea beyond.
Worth Getting Out of Bed For
The Spa and Pool are definitely worth a visit. My wife treated herself to a heavenly back, neck and shoulder massage with lovely therapist Erin while I took the kids to the warm pool. With a lane for serious swimmers and the rest for families, there was plenty of space to splash around.
The resort has a games room which my children enjoyed and we also played pool while catching the footie results in the sports bar.
For a change of scene we took the Hotel’s courtesy minibus into St Andrews and did the interactive GPS treasure hunt challenge, downloadable from the Fairmont St Andrews App. Enormous fun, it took us most of the day to complete, leading us to places we otherwise would not have ventured, including the fascinating University Wardlaw Museum and to Fisher & Donalson’s bakery to try their famous fudge donuts.
The Fairmont is all about little extras. Their App makes finding information very easy. On windy days, the hotel has kites to fly in the expansive hotel grounds. In the spa complex there are fresh towels everywhere. If in doubt staff are always on hand to help.
What an amazing family weekend away. We will most certainly be back.
Rooms start from £269 per night. Fairmont St Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland KY16 8PN, United Kingdom, 44 1334 837000, https://www.fairmont.com/
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.