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Aberdeenshire Fam Trip – Scotland Golf Vacation insights

  • November 13, 2019 // The Consummate Pro

We enjoyed a fabulous time at the annual Scottish Golf Tourism Week from the 28th of October to the 1st of November, our annual opportunity to visit suppliers old and new and to plan for our guests future Scotland golf vacation. On arrival in Glasgow re made the short transfer to St. Andrews where we checked in to the iconic Old Course Hotel. My bedroom was incredibly spacious and extremely well appointed and had superb views over the 17th fairway of the Old Course towards the R&A Clubhouse. That evening we were hosted to a dinner ‘Safari’ around the property where we enjoyed a bowl of traditional “Cullen Skink” (smoked haddock, potatoes and onions in a creamy sauce) in The Jigger Inn; our Salmon Main Course was served in the Sands Grill adjacent to the reception and dessert was enjoyed in the Road Hole

The view from my bedrooms at the Old Course Hotel

Restaurant on the 4th floor of the hotel with panoramic views over the golf course. It was a fabulous way to experience each of these outlets, and the quality of the food and service in each location was superb. We enjoyed a nightcap back in the Jigger Inn and then it was time to pull the shutters down and enjoy the comforts of the rooms.

After a delicious breakfast in the Road Hole restaurant, we headed for The Duke’s Course, owned by the property. It was a fresh, sunny morning and I thoroughly enjoyed the back nine holes that we played. The Duke’s is a very underrated golf course, which is not altogether surprising in a town like St. Andrews. It is a solid heathland track that can be lengthened to almost 7,500 yards from the Championship tees if required, not that we played anything like that length on the day. Across the 18 holes there is a great variety of shots required with driver left redundant in the bag in favour of a fairway or utility for position on more than one occasion. Avoiding the bunkers on the Duke’s is a challenge in itself. Clients looking for a day’s rest from walking the links will certainly find the Duke’s Course a very pleasant alternative as a full suite of buggies is available and I can highly recommend the experience both on and off the golf course.

After lunch we departed St. Andrews and headed through Dundee, the town of the three ‘J’s’ (Journalism, Jam and Jute), on to Aberdeen where we checked in at the Altens Hotel which is located in the south of the city where we spent the night in anticipation of a full day of visits to properties around Aberdeenshire.

We began looking at the Skene House Apartments, a well located self-catering option right at the west end of Union Street. A variety of well appointed 2 and 3 bedroom options are available and its location puts it right in the heart of the downtown action. Our second stop came at the Atholl Hotel which is located at about 2 miles from the city centre. A solid property with a beautiful exterior, and good public areas, the Atholl is a friendly hotel and a good budget option in the city. The next stop on our schedule brought us to the beautiful Marcliffe Hotel. We were greeted by its legendary owner Stewart Spence and shown around the variety of bedrooms on offer which are very comfortable with a good proportion of

The Snooker & Memorabilia Room at the Marcliffe

single and twin occupancy options. The public areas of the Marcliffe are very welcoming and homely, with open fires, large sofa’s and comfortable seating in the Drawing Room Bar & Lounge in particular plus a fabulous snooker and memorabilia room which is worth visiting for alone. We were hosted for lunch here and the food was delicious; a property that we would highly recommend for our clients playing the great courses in this region on their Scotland golf vacation.

The afternoon began with a visit to the Ardoe House Hotel, a gothic mansion that is like taking a step back in time. The bedrooms have recently been refurbished to a good standard, and the public areas ooze character. From there we moved on to see Thainstone House, situated near the town of Inverurie to the west of the city of Aberdeen, the property is full of character with a 2AA Rosette restaurant and some quirky accommodations. We would view Thainstone as a great couples location and a property to base a stay in for a couple of nights on a golf trip. The final stop of the day was the beautiful

Meldrum House

Meldrum House Hotel. The original house dates from 1236 and has recently been extended with a new accommodation wing. There are a number of original Manor Suites that ooze character and an option called The Stables which is in a separate building a short stroll from the Main House that would be idea for golfing parties. The public areas of Meldrum are beautifully appointed and the 1236 Cave bar is one of those establishments that you could wile away many hours in conversation. Meldrum is a fabulous property and definitely one that we consider often for guests on a Scotland golf vacation.

Day three began with a visit to Trump International Golf Links Scotland (image above). Without fear of contradiction, this is probably the most spectacular links golf course that I have seen for a very very long time – it is simply stunning. The views from the 14th tee box and also back down the 18th towards the clubhouse provides one of the most spectacular panoramas at any golf course I have ever visited. The holes at Trump are impeccably sculpted through the sand dunes, and the definition of the lush green fairways and the whisky marram grasses is stark to the point of framing every hole beautifully. The links is quite the golfing test and will put even a low handicappers to the test. The difficulty is mitigated for

The 18th at Trump Aberdeen

everyone else by the availability of a wide range of tee boxes on each hole, so my advice would be to trust your caddie and play of the box they allocate to you for maximum enjoyment. After our visit to the golf course we made a stop at MacLeod House also on the estate. This beautiful hotel is blessed with stunning architecture, comfortable bedrooms and one of the best whiskey bars to be found in Scotland. A stay at MacLeod and a round on the links is one of the best choices you could make on your Scotland golf vacation.

This stretch of coastline is blessed with some of Scotland’s best links golf –  Royal Aberdeen, Murcar, Trump International Scotland and Cruden Bay would be enough to whet the lips of most golf aficionados but you also have Peterhead and Fraserburgh just along the coast as well as the less well known, but no less testing Newburgh-on-Ythan and Cullen Links. It is certainly one of the less travelled to parts of the country for golf, but the quality and variety of courses on offer are second to none for anyone looking for Scotland golf vacation.

Royal Aberdeen

We concluded our visit to Aberdeenshire with a chance to look around the Sandman Hotel in downtown Aberdeen and the Chester Hotel as well as a visit to Marycultre House. The Sandman is a new property located in the heart of the city and offers a bright modern design with excellent bedrooms a lively bar/restaurant and unique whiskey room for private events. Some of the ‘suites’ in the property are semi self-catering with a mini kitchen in them and this offers a nice option for those wishing to make a longer stay. The Chester Hotel is also a model property located just a few miles from Union Street where a new wing of the property was just about to be unveiled. Again the bedrooms are well appointed and there are some superb dining options and a great bar area that had just been completely refurbished along with a whisky lounge also.

Finally, Marycultre House was a genuine step back in time. Home of the Knights Templar since 1187 the property is about to undergo a significant redevelopment of its accommodation block and some public areas and there is no doubt that once completed will be very much on our radar.

Our Aberdeen Fam Trip was hosted by Hector Emslie from Visit Aberdeenshire and I would like to thank Hector most sincerely for the way he looked after all of us on the fam trip and on how he educated us on his special part of the world. I look forward to getting back to this fabulous part of Scotland in the very near future and to planning for many more clients’ Scotland golf vacations.