On the most special day of the year it seems fitting to put up a post about one of the most special hotels I visited in 2017.
It is difficult to know where to begin when talking about Gleneagles, one of Scotland’s most prestigious hotels. This luxury accommodation is found near Auchterarder, between the towns of Perth and Kinross, among the rich Scottish countryside. The hotel was first opened in 1924, when the former Caledonian Railway Company built it and the nearby dedicated train station. The large estate is known best for its spectacular golf course, with three championship courses at the heart of the grounds.
I was lucky to visit for one night last month and managed to tick off a number of the best facilities on site. My mum and I arrived late afternoon at Gleneagles train station, to a smiling driver who picked up our bags and whisked us away to the fairytale hotel.
The Christmas tree at the entrance illuminated the facade of the grand main building, while inside a roaring fire was giving off a cosy warmth. We were quickly checked-in and taken up to our newly refurbished Estate Twin room. Under the new ownership much of the hotel has had a makeover and it is a great time to visit… there is something lovely about staying somewhere historic and traditional but with fresh modern facilities.
The rooms are elegant and classic with a touch of vintage glamour. I particularly loved the Royal Lochnagar Suite, which is spacious and regal and decorated in shades of dusty pink and forest green. All the bathrooms are designed with comfort in mind… huge free-standing baths and indulgent walk-in showers with ‘Purple Rain’ toiletries by Asprey.
When it comes to relaxing, the ESPA Life spa at Gleneagles is the place to go. The only dedicated ESPA spa in Scotland, this wellness and relaxation retreat is just as popular with outside guests as with those staying at the hotel. My mum experienced a personalised treatment with Anna Smilowska, a wonderful therapist who seemed to truly understand the body and the way it works. She offered a comprehensive consultation before giving a tailored massage to remedy my mum’s aches and pains.
For a last minute blow-dry or hair cut, Bob & Cloche, the new hair salon on site, is the place to go. The little cabin is welcoming and stylish, once inside you’ll want to stay all day!
Keen to get out in the Scottish countryside, despite the cold weather, we opted for a 1 hour clay pigeon shooting class. It was great fun to go to the Gleneagles Shooting and Fishing School, and we had a brilliant beginners’ lesson with one of the instructors, learning to use the gun and catch the target… it is definitely easier than it looks!
There are numerous food choices at Gleneagles, and I would have loved to try them all. For a fine dining experience the hotel has Andrew Fairlie’s restaurant on site, the only two-michelin star eatery in Scotland at the moment. But for something more casual, I can highly recommend the beautifully redecorated Birham Brasserie, offering high quality French-American brasserie dishes. The service here was efficient but discreet, the Steak Frites and Lemon Sole we tried showcased the best produce and tasted delicious.
With so much to see and do at the hotel you’d need a week to experience it all, but I loved the 24 hours I spent here, getting a glimpse into life at Scotland’s most refined luxury hotel.
More information and book a stay at Gleneagles here.