A landmark property that overlooks the 16th hole of the historic West Links course of North Berwick Golf Club, this hotel – known as The ‘Grand Old Lady’ – now goes by the Marine North Berwick as its official moniker. It is part of the Marine & Lawn Hotels & Resorts properties, which are focused on key golf destinations, also encompassing St Andrews and Troon, and it was formerly part of the Macdonald Hotels portfolio. I am excited about the prospect of a mini staycay with a friend at the 84-bed property, which is within easy reach of Edinburgh but also a relaxing world away, given its seaside location. As we see the hotel’s grand, sizable exterior come into view – or, to quote its own billing, it “rises from the East Lothian landscape to offer guests a quietly elegant escape” – it reminds me that I’d visited in an earlier incarnation many moons ago. After navigating the car park, we check in at the refined grandeur of the reception area, whose racing green and ocher color scheme we will discover is found throughout the hotel.
Budget or boutiqueVery much a boutique offering with a golfing focus but at a pretty reasonable price point.Room serviceOur twin room is vast, with a panoramic sea view that we agree we could spend all day admiring from the russet-coloured three-piece-suite by the window. The rest of the room includes a velvet headboard, complemented by dark greens and woods, and cream elsewhere in the room, while the bedside tables are designed as golf tee boxes. In fact the design throughout the hotel takes inspiration from the Scotland’s golf courses, tapping into the seaside location and “surrounding natural wonders”. Amenities include a Nespresso machine and high-end Floris toiletries.Wining and diningWe dine at in-house restaurant The Lawn, led by renowned chef Chris Niven whose CV includes serving as executive chef at The Fairmont, St Andrews, and The Scotsman Hotel in Edinburgh . Its focus is local beef, game, and seafood, and seating includes many booths. We try the sea bream with lemon, accompanied by confit potatoes – a truly delicious take on fish and chips, and we will return to the restaurant for breakfast, with a buffet including crispy mini pastries, and light, cinnamonny French toast. After dinner we head to the less formal, more glam Bass Rock Bar for a nightcap – drinking in view of its many chandeliers. The menu includes a Bass Rock Manhattan – while there is a decent selection of no- and low-alcohol cocktails. Additionally, the bar team can “create something classic or bespoke for you”. Worth getting out of bed for You can walk eastwards along the coast to North Berwick, and its attractions including the Scottish Seabird Center and many cafe stop-offs. There are also no fewer than 22 golf courses in the area. However, I would happily discover myself for a prolonged period in the newly upgraded spa. New additions include a studio room for exercise classes, including yoga, pilates and high-intensity workouts. However, I prioritize a relaxing swim in the cobalt-blue indoor pool, and there is one pool section outside, which totally counts as wild swimming I reckon, and I try out the steam room, one of the many attractions in the thermal suite. There are also several treatment rooms, with the hotel having recently launched its tie-up with French skincare company Caudalie, which specializes in vinotherapie and whose 100 per cent vegan skincare products blend scientific techniques with active ingredients from their Bordeaux vineyards. Treatments on offer here include the Premier Cru Facial, Marine Spa Winemakers Massage, and Crushed Cabernet Body Treatment. Cheers to that!Little extrasThere is an 11-hole putting green onsite, letting you harness your inner Tiger Woods.Guestbook commentsA seaside hotel with an excellent spa, high-end food and drink selection, and stunning views, makes for a great sanctuary. Prices: Rooms begin at £189 per night including full Scottish breakfast and VAT. Marine North Berwick, 18 Cromwell Rd, North Berwick, EH39 4LZ, (03448 799130, https://marineandlawn.com/marinenorthberwick/)
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