SCOTTISH ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS
A big part to the success of any golf trip concerns where you stay. Scotland has a variety of unique choices. Faraway Fairways introduce you to some of your Scottish accommodation options, which range from iconic golf hotels, across the spectrum to niche selections such as castles or log cabins. It’s worth bearing in mind however that you will need to book early to secure some of these. You should also consider that locations such as Edinburgh and St Andrews can become expensive and sought after. Edinburgh for instance, suffers from a notorious price spike during the festival (August). The Highlands of Scotland can also experience pressures during the peak-season as it supports a tourist industry quite apart from any golf. Hoteliers will often look secure minimum stay durations which isn’t always consistent with the golfers preference to play a few days and move on.
With their strategic locations ensuring they’ve overlooked decades of championship golf, Scotland has some of most recognisable luxury hotels in the world game. The very first ‘golf resort’ was built at Turnberry. The iconic white-stone, red-roofed hotel sits atop a hill with the links laid out below. Set in amongst rolling Perthshire countryside, Gleneagles wasn’t long following Turnberry’s lead. St Andrews has a choice of hotels, the famous Old Course hotel runs parallel to the 17th fairway (the balconies are where Phil Mickelson plays his second shot from!). The Russacks is another feature in the St Andrews townscape staring onto the 18th tee, whereas the Fairmont is a high quality addition that looks out to sea
We’ll find other familiar friends on the tier just below these. Troon’s red bricked, Victorian, Marine hotel also oversees events at their 17th hole. North Berwick has a hotel of the same name that runs alongside the 1st and 2nd holes. Carnoustie’s white-stone, course hotel overlooks the 18th green and is particularly good value. Although less familiar to television viewers, we ought to really give a mention to the Machrihanish resort, Dornoch’s Royal Golf Hotel, and Nairn’s Golf Course View hotel too
Set in majestic estate, the Gleneagles hotel has hosted G8 summits and other inter-governmnetal conferences. Politicians know luxury when they see it!
Faraway Fairways offer three distinct travel categories, ‘Luxury’, ‘Premier’ and ‘Affordable’
For the most part these our luxury selections are focused on the resort hotels like Gleneagles, Turnberry, Carnoustie and St Andrews. All those named either host Open Championships or major international events. In addition to these dedicated golf ‘resorts’, the large cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen also support international standard five-star hotels complete with all the trappings with which you’ll be familiar with.
If you require a degree of luxury that goes beyond ‘comfort’, but stops short of the ostentatious luxury, then we invite you to consider our first-class ‘premier’ options. These are normally 4-star hotels where you can expect the same international standards from this category band. To some extent you get the best of both worlds. There are also a plethora of 4-star hotels throughout the cities of Scotland. We’ll comfortably be able to base you in the more vibrant city locations, as well as resorts.
The Apex International in Edinburgh is an example of a ‘Premier’ hotel we seek to use
Five and Four star provision is fairly well understood so perhaps the category that needs the bigger explanation is Faraway Fairway’s ‘affordable’ portfolio. If you adhere to the view that all you need from a room is:
- Somewhere to sleep
- A comfortable bed
- en-suite facilities
- A convenient and central location
- Good cleanliness
- A safe environment
- Attentive and friendly staff
- and that you’d rather have the money saved in your pocket
……. then you’ll be fine. We trawl on-line customer satisfaction ratings to regularly research, update, and source such accommodation and are constantly on the look-out to beat our previous in the pursuit of improvement. These hotels are typically the sorts used by ‘Brits’, business travellers, or short duration/ weekend-breaks. If your intention is to ‘get and about’ and then sleep, they have much to merit them
Bed and Breakfasts/ Guesthouses
Many visitors regard staying in a B&B as a quintessential experience. They have a reputation for being friendly and intimate, often lending a more personal touch. They also enjoy a good reputation for their food which is typically wholesome and generously served. For the most part, the quality is actually quite high, and especially so in the golf playing regions. In terms of price, B&B’s occupy a bit of a mid-point. They are normally more expensive than a budget chain, and less expensive than a four-star hotel. It’s often a mistake to think they’re some kind of ‘cheap’ option. They don’t represent the bottom-end of the market.
There are some downside considerations however that you will need to weigh up if deciding to stay in a B&B. For reasons of tax status, B&B’s can’t exceed six rooms. Many properties won’t even push onto this threshold. It can therefore become difficult to accommodate a medium sized party without splitting up. In practical terms, you’ll often require that the property needs to be close to completely vacant at the time of enquiry to fit a group in. For high demand location like St Andrews, this doesn’t happen very often. Securing a desirable St Andrews B&B during the peak-season will need attending to early (12 – 9 months in advance)
Self Catering, AirBnB
Serviced apartments (Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen) and AirBnB (nationwide) have grown in popularity in recent years. There is something of a trade-off going on here. Guests will normally find that we’re able to secure higher quality accommodation but the responsibility to provide food transfers to you.
Scotland doesn’t lack for landscape, and we have witnessed another boom in specialist log cabin and converted hunting lodge accommodations. The big attraction to staying in this type of property tends to be the location, which is frequently set amongst stunning scenery. Cabins and lodges cater for all size of parties and bedroom combinations. They are very modern, airy, and come with plenty of room.
Rooms with a view. Location is everything with log cabin options
There are some limiting factors you will need to consider however. Cabins and lodges look to achieve a minimum stay of 7 nights, and book out prescribed slots to their calendar. They are in high demand and will sell-out. We don’t have any scope to negotiate on this. It’s a ‘sellers market’. A ‘fixed’ base needn’t always be compatible with golfers either, who are more nomadic in their ambitions. Staying in a log cabin tends therefore to involve an additional transport burden. For now at least, Faraway Fairways only offer log cabin accommodation to support our Highland tours. We should note however that options around the Edinburgh area also exist
Scottish castles undoubtedly have an air of class and romance about them. Unlike their English or Welsh counter-parts, Scottish castles don’t tend to be heavily fortified defensive structures. Instead they’re more akin to ‘strong houses’ that clan territories were ruled from, the defensive perimeter provided by those clansmen living in the area. The consequence of this is that many have been subject to high-quality conversions, whilst hopefully retaining their character.
Culzean Castle doesn’t have too many rooms, and needs booking well in advance, but the views over the sea from the round tower are stunning
There is a little bit of a downside however. Scottish castles don’t always have the largest room capacities. Demand easily exceeds supply. The consequence of this is that they tend to be expensive, and will normally book-up outside of the window that golfer’s typically observe when planning a trip. For this reason Faraway Fairways have tended to introduce some of the less popular ones into our portfolio. There is simply no point in us advertising something only to tell you that it sold-out a year ago. We advise that you consider lead times in the region of 15 – 9 months, although it is possible to work inside of this off-peak