With the arrival of spring, it is time to go outdoors, enjoy nature and do it responsibly, leaving no trace behind! Paths are there to be explored on leisurely walks, long-distance trails want to be hiked and discovered. Cycling routes can be enjoyed, maybe while pedalling along on a new bicycle or even with the support of some electric power for longer distances. Mountain bikers are welcome to explore new territory, as long as they do not disturb any wildlife. Fishermen on rivers and lakes have probably continued to enjoy their pastime over the past months, as they could do so on their own with no social distancing required. However, now they can look forward to a BBQ of grilled trout with friends. In some countries perhaps swimmers still have to wait to do their laps in 25 or 50 metre outdoor pools and team sportsmen probably even longer.
Golfers seem to have been the lucky ones! With various rules in different countries, perhaps they have had to practise on their own on driving ranges and indoor golf simulators depending on the rules at their golf clubs and practice facilities. While golf courses in Scotland have been open for some months, perhaps golfers in other countries are still desperate to take their driver and hit the ball from the first tee of their home course with other golfers in order to compete and have more fun. When international travel starts again, I am sure that British golfers will have already had their share of my top 5 golf hotels in Scotland and there should be plenty of space for you!
East Lothian is called a golfer’s paradise. The pleasant microclimate of this region ensures more playable days than elsewhere in Scotland. As the hotel is situated on the very edge of the historic links of Muirfield and within a few miles of the championship golf courses of Gullane, Luffness, North Berwick, Renaissance and Archerfield, it is no surprise that Greywalls has a long, established relationship with golf; many golfing greats have enjoyed its hospitality during past Opens at Muirfield. Luxury accommodation for golfing parties up to 40 people can be provided in the main house. Smaller groups may prefer the Colonel’s House, close to the hotel, for additional privacy.
With a total of 22 golf courses within 10 miles (16 km), Greywalls is in a perfect location to offer a wide range of packages on some of Scotland’s finest golf courses. Probably the most enticing offer is the Muirfield Golf Package which allows residents of Greywalls a round of golf on this most famous, still private course which is considered to be the second oldest golf club in the world. Certain terms and conditions apply to gain access to Muirfield Golf Course and club house, home of the “Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers” which has hosted The Open sixteen times; the staff at Greywalls will explain these to you. Further offers such as the East Lothian Golf and the Renaissance One Time Experience Package are also available as part of packages at Greywalls, including two nights at the hotel.
SCHLOSS Roxburghe Hotel & Golf Course
Stay, Play and Dine! Guests can enjoy a glorious round of golf on the hotel’s own championship course, a delicious dinner in the Sunlaws Restaurant and a perfect night sleep in one of the luxurious rooms or suites. Set in beautiful landscape with rolling hills and sparkling rivers near Kelso in the heart of the Scottish Borders, SCHLOSS Roxburghe, a historic property formerly owned by the Duke of Roxburghe and with a full range of sporting pursuits, is a getaway destination little more than an hour’s drive from both Edinburgh and Newcastle. The entire hotel with a total of 20 rooms has been extensively and tastefully refurbished with plans to build more rooms and lodges on the estate as well as a luxurious spa and a state-of-the-art meeting space.
Designed by the internationally renowned golf course architect Dave Thomas, the Roxburghe is an outstanding championship course ranked in the top 10 inland courses in Scotland. The picturesque, 7,100 yards (par-72) course provides an enjoyable game designed to suit all standards of golfer. Dave Thomas created a wonderful mix of holes using the natural contours of the landscape, the mature woodland and the scenic views. The signature par-5 hole “The Viaduct” (14th Tee), flanked by the river Teviot, commands wonderful views from the elevated tee with the green framed by the famous Roxburgh Viaduct.
The Machrie Hotel & Golf Links
This 5-star hotel is ideal for golf lovers, whisky aficionados and those looking for an outstanding island escape. It is the only luxury hotel on Islay, off the South West coast, with 47 beautifully designed bedrooms and lodges as well as a PureGray spa and the 18-hole golf course on the hotel’s grounds. The hotel nestles beside dunes and a pristine beach, and hotel guests can enjoy stunning views from the outdoor terraces and the impressive 18 Restaurant. As well as nine whisky distilleries on Islay, also known as the Queen of the Hebrides, there is a wealth of outdoor activities and a rich heritage.
The Machrie Links Course has been upgraded over the past few months with 34 new eco bunkers and nine new championship tees which have increased the length of the course to 7,024 yards. The whole process was carried out by the Greens Team under the guidance of course architect DJ Russell. For those wanting to perfect their swing, resident PGA Golf Professional David Foley is available to provide tuition for all levels. A 6-hole Wee Course (par-3) as well as an all-weather driving range, the Hebrides Putting Area and an indoor golf studio is also available to hotel guests who are going to book a Summer Golf Break at The Machrie in 2021.
The Marcliffe Hotel & Spa
Located on the outskirts of the historic city of Aberdeen, the Marcliffe Hotel is the ideal base for exploring the many challenging golf courses in the North East of Scotland. Guests looking for style, charm and personality will find an elegant and intimate 39-bedroom hotel in private and picturesque grounds. While non-golfers can enjoy the castles and gardens near Aberdeen, Scotland’s third largest city, golfers are spoilt for choice with 50 golf courses within a 50 mile (80 km) radius of Aberdeen. The afternoon can be spent in the hotel’s spa to relax and recuperate or by indulging in a delicious champagne afternoon tea. Scotland’s finest products, such as Aberdeen Angus beef and salmon from the River Dee, are showcased in the Conservatory Restaurant together with 400 choices of wines and 100 different malt whiskies.
Scotland is the traditional home of golf and the North East alone boasts over 70 golf courses with wonderfully challenging links courses such as Cruden Bay, Murcar and Royal Aberdeen, the 6th oldest registered golf club in the world. Until October this year the hotel offers a unique Golf Triple Championship Deal which is a superb package for people keen to test their prowess on three of Scotland’s internationally renowned championship links courses. This swinging deal includes two nights bed and full Scottish breakfast as well as 18 holes each at Royal Aberdeen or at Murcar, Trump International and Cruden Bay – with the the requested tee times also booked by the hotel.
The Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa
This iconic golf resort not only overlooks the most famous golf course in the world, it also sits alongside the renowned 17th Road Hole. With the completion of 31 new Old Course facing bedrooms and a new glass-fronted restaurant on the 4th floor, the hotel is acknowledged as one of Europe’s leading golf resorts. As the 150th Open is to be played at St Andrews from 10th to 17th July 2022, the reputation of this small university town as a world-class golfing destination will be enhanced. By booking an exclusive package in the Old Course Hotel, guests can secure a tee-off time on the Old Course – just make sure you book your golf when you book your bed!
In order to be sure to be able to play The Old Course, which is managed by the Links Trust, hotel guests should purchase a Suite Golf Package for a guaranteed tee time. The Old Course Hotel also offers a collection of well-curated packages that capture the very best golf experiences. For example, The Duke’s championship golf course (18 holes) has panoramic views over St Andrews and the coast. As it belongs to the hotel, guests have guaranteed tee times as well as access to the pro shop, driving range, short game practice facilities and buggies. Tee times and transfer services to other nearby top links courses such as Kingsbarns, Dumbarnie, Carnoustie, Crail, Jubilee, Lundin, Leven, and Elie can also be arranged by the hotel.
Some of these golf hotels can be combined in an ultra-luxurious Scottish golf experience with short transfer times. For example, guests can enjoy the scenery of the “Scotland Starts Here” region of the Scottish Borders and have a great choice of golf courses when they combine the Greywalls Hotel in East Lothian with the SCHLOSS Roxburghe Hotel near Kelso. The distance between these two hotels is about 50 miles (80 km), allowing for another round of golf prior to departure or after arrival at the second hotel. Similarly, the Marcliffe Hotel in Aberdeen can be combined with the world-famous Old Course Hotel, because the distance is only 80 miles (130 km). The Machrie Hotel on the island of Islay is a destination on its own, but can nicely be combined with a round of golf at Machrihanish, another links course at the southern tip of the Kintyre peninsula. Depending on whether guests decide to stay only one night or several nights in one of these 5-star properties, an experienced and professional travel designer can offer a bespoke once-in-a-lifetime golf experience. Touring Scotland from one golf hotel to the next in a chauffeur-driven limousine could also include the following attractions and extra activities:
– Greywalls Hotel: Scottish Seabird Centre (trip to Bass Rock), Rosslyn Chapel (Da Vinci Code), Glenkinchie Distillery (Lowlands Home of Johnnie Walker), National Museum of Flight (Concorde on display)
– SCHLOSS Roxburghe Hotel: Floors Castle (Duke of Roxburghe), Abbotsford House (Sir Walter Scott), country sports (hunting and clay-pigeon shooting), fly fishing for trout on the River Tweed
– The Machrie Hotel: Nine(!) whisky distilleries on the island (incl. Lagavulin and Caol Ila, the new “Island Home of Johnnie Walker”), Finlaggan (Lords of the Isles), The Round Church (Bowmore), Kildalton Cross (Celtic Era), Islay Museum of Life (Port Charlotte)
– The Marcliffe Hotel: Crathes Castle & Garden, Royal Lochnagar Distillery, Dunnottar Castle, Aberdeen Art Gallery, meet the Highland coos
– The Old Course Hotel: V&A Design Museum & Discovery Point (Dundee), St Andrews Cathedral & Castle, Sheila Fleet Jewellery (opening in summer 2021), riding school, beach adventures
Dorothy Welsh is the CEO of Luxury Scotland. Luxury Scotland offers true Scottish hospitality, culinary delights and unique experiences.
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