Let’s be frank, this is not the most beautiful building from the outside. It was built in 1968 on the site of the old railway station and has been extended and revamped and somewhat improved since. But it has become part of the St Andrews landscape, and the interior has a smart, traditional, clubby feel which belies the plainer lines of the outside of the building. The wood-panelled whiskey bar, the restaurant and viewing area on the fourth floor are particularly appealing.
Very attentive and good-humoured, with a plenty of local staff, some students from the university and others from overseas. The restaurants are well-staffed, formal but friendly.
Of 144 rooms, there are 35 suites - and most of these have been recently refurbished in bold striped wallpaper, rich red fabrics and dark wood furniture. Others are more contemporary and feminine with modern artwork and lighter, creamy colours. The more expensive rooms and suites are the ones with views over the golf course and towards the sea, and come with wonderful walk-in showers and jacuzzi baths. Cheaper are the Eden Parkland rooms which are smaller and lack the views of the Old Course. But they face south, and some have balconies.
Food & drink 7/10
There are two main restaurants. The more formal is the Road Hole Restaurant on the top floor, which serves dishes based on local ingredients. Starters (from £6) may include East Neuk crab or Fife-reared chicken; main courses of Gigha halibut or Craigtoun Estate rabbit cost from £12 to £22, and desserts of lemon mille feuille or orange tart with liquorice ice cream start at £6. The groundfloor ‘Sands Grill’ brasserie is much more informal. You can eat burgers or pasta dishes for about £9-11.50, or more fulsomely with steaks from £15.50-27.95. Children are welcomed (under twos are offered complimentary baby food). Food and drink also served in The Jigger Inn, adjacent to the hotel, and Duke’s Restaurant in the Clubhouse.
Value for money 8/10
Standard doubles (Eden Parkland rooms) from £250, including breakfast and VAT.
Access for guests with disabilities
There are five specially adapted rooms on the ground floor, offering larger doorways and bathrooms with lower fittings.
The Old Course Hotel, St Andrews, Scotland (01334 474371; www.oldcoursehotel.co.uk).