It’s hard to grow up with a household of golf enthusiasts and not know all about the wonder that is Gleneagles Hotel. It’s practically a household name around the world – known for famously having hosted the Ryder Cup and maintaining three world renowned golf courses on the property. It is a golfers’ paradise. This may be why I’ve never visited before. Golf, for me, was a sport for the men in my family. That isn’t to mean it isn’t a lady’s sport, it just wasn’t the sport for me. Let’s just say it requires patience – not my strong suit, at all. So, when it was suggested we take a break and head to Gleneagles for the weekend, I was very surprised to hear that actually the majority of people visiting Gleneagles on holiday are in fact not there to play golf at all. What does one do at a golf resort when not playing golf? And here’s where it’s important to mention when one is wrong, dead wrong. I had formed an opinion of Gleneagles before I had ever stepped foot on the property. Everything I thought I knew about this getaway was about to be crushed and rebuilt and it only took 48 hours.
Did you know it only takes one hour to fly from London to Edinburgh? I lead with that as, my being the UK travel moron, I had no idea it was such an easy travel option. As you have probably figured out, I rather like to torture myself with long haul flights – not! But, it seems I am always on the longest flight possible to the most far away destination. So, to discover that Gleneagles Hotel was an hour’s flight and a short car journey away from London was like discovering Aladdin’s cave.
Arriving at Gleneagles, we were greeted by name at the door and sped through the process of check in. Our room was located in the new contemporary wing of the rather statuesque hotel. As if there weren’t enough temptations to discover in the hotel, I was forced to walk through a shopping arcade to get to my room. This was torture. Everything you could ever need is located in these halls, from Escada to a fine whisky shop. If you come home empty handed with no gifts for relatives, you have absolutely no excuses.
Now, let’s get serious here. If you aren’t playing golf what is there to do at Gleneagles? Well, once you get over the very strong desire to learn to play golf (yes, it seems this whole scenario is contagious), you’ll discover a book of activities that’s about an inch thick. From driving Land Rovers over an all terrain course to taking a course in falconery, there are plenty of activities to build up a healthy appetite for enjoying any one of the three restaurants on site. And then there’s the spa. Oh that beautiful spa. I could have stayed forever. While in residence I indulged in ESPA’s exclusive treatment known as The Source. This is a two hour treatment that basically takes a worn out body and gives it a new lease on life. No square inch of skin is left unpolished or massaged and I left feeling as if I could take on the world – or at least attempt a swing with a nine iron. Instead, I decided to take a dip in the luxurious pools – one of which is located outdoors and might just be the most romantic setup of all time.
The highlight, however, for activities, took place on our second day at Gleneagles and it involved dogs…. Lots and lots of dogs. Gleneagles keeps a plethora of hunting dogs on the premises and they are trained to perfection. Only most of us humans are not the trainers we think we are when it comes to pups. Gleneagles offers a one-on-one training session with the man who keeps theses little ones in line. In all my life, I’ve never encountered more well-mannered dogs. I felt as if we were the ones being put through our paces with the dogs, rather than the other way around. But, oh how much we learned while working the dogs. Boomer will be getting a whole new lease on life when I return home next month.
Do you mind if I swing back to the topic of food for a second? As I mentioned, there are three options for dining at Gleneagles, and each come with their own plus points. Our first night we had a romantic dinner by candlelight. We were spoiled by meat trolleys and cheese carts, local oysters and fine wine. We were seduced by Gleneagles from minute one here. We loaded up on amazing specialities and had no idea what was in store for us the next morning. The breakfast at Gleneagles is a thing of legend. There are so many different “breakfast stations” that one could eat for hours and still not have tried it all. Do I even need to mention there’s a waffle station or a DIY bloody mary and mimosa bar? Just a pointer – come hungry and be ready to leave feeling completely satisfied. If you do find yourself hungry around noontime, head over to the clubhouse at Gleneagles for lunch. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a golfer to be admitted. They are welcoming of all guests – golfer or not. Make sure you grab a table near a window as the view over the golf course is outstanding. Again, I had a tinge of regret for not being more of an avid golfer. I reckon this is the experience of a lifetime. But hey, there’s always next time.
And yes, there will be a next time. I found Gleneagles Hotel to be beautiful, romantic, relaxing and as adventurous as one would like to make it. The activities are there if you wish to partake, but guests are equally encouraged to put their feet up, relax, and just enjoy their surroundings.
Definitely put this on your list of places to visit!
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Now onto pictures... starting with the room.
And the bar
The breakfast bar...
The beautiful grounds...
Training the dogs...
Heading to the clubhouse for lunch...
Dinner at Deseo...
Fashion Foie Gras stayed as a guest at Gleneagles Hotel.