Recently I won a night’s stay at Gleneagles Hotel, after entering a ‘copy-the-canapé-cooked-by-a-Gleneagles-head-chef’ competition - pretty niche stuff, I know - following a promotional event hosted Moët & Chandon Champagne in London.
My boyfriend, a keen golfer, was looking forward to trying out his skills at a hotel renowned for hosting the Ryder Cup in 2014, just the latest in a long line of prestigious events.
Upon arriving at Gleneagles station, we were chaperoned to the hotel by a softly spoken man who introduced himself as our driver Willy, setting the tone for the level of service for the duration of the stay.
Calmly he drove us into the grounds; his welcoming repartee made us instantly feel like we were going home for Christmas.
The room was as sumptuous as one would imagine typical of a luxury hotel. Big bay windows looked out onto the tennis courts.
A seasonal bowl of fruit and a letter from the hotel manager to welcome me was set out, along with all manner of other things I might need: stationery, sewing kit, shortbread, a pillow diary (to aid me in choosing which of the vast array of pillows to use for the particular type of night’s sleep I was after…). In short, all the essentials!
Welcoming hospitality at Gleneagles Hotel
When we left for the golf course, the sun was beaming down and we were pretending that we always holidayed in this manner.
The gentlemen who provided our clubs in the locker room were so polite and genteel it was as if they had known us all of our lives and we really did come here every year, keeping our favourite personal whisky labelled behind the bar for the next time we visit.
My appointed starter for the Queen’s course, no less, came calling my name as we were the last set of people to play, and perhaps sensing my inexperience, cheerfully implied we could take as much time as we liked getting round.
He also said when we got to the 10th hole there was a phone box where we could ring ahead to the ‘Halfway House’ to order a sausage sandwich and a Guinness (or similar) in advance.
It was a privilege to play on such a magnificent course, surrounded by the stunning Scottish countryside native to Perthshire.
I asked within the café - by now fully settling into diva mode - whether we could be chauffeured back to the hotel.
Unsurprisingly a car with blacked out windows appeared within three minutes.
The famed Queen’s Course at Gleneagles
Onto the swimming facilities; one pool bathed in darkness with star-like lights winking down from the ceiling, creating a really blissful ambience. The Jacuzzi was equally relaxing. We were squeaky clean and ready to eat once we had finished in the Sauna and steam rooms.
Of course on the way to the restaurant we dropped in at the bar, which looked as though it hadn’t changed since the 1930s - in a good way.
On the table next to us was sitting Sol Campbell and family.
Eager to try out some famed Scottish steak, we ordered accordingly from the restaurant menu, which detailed a long and tempting list of the different cuts and ages of meat available.
Accompanied by a delicious bottle of red wine, we were well on our way to a very satisfying day.
Gleneagles is home to a wealth of activities away from the golf course
We awoke in our palatial room looking forward to our complimentary hotel breakfast; once in the grand dining hall, we were greeted by an impossibly grand breakfast buffet.
Three types of smoked salmon, every type of sausage and bacon you could ask for, ’haggis, neeps and tatties’ (of course), eggs every which way, crumpets to die for, fresh orange juice served from ancient, highly polished silverware, and Bucks Fizz to finish it all off.
The fun wasn’t quite over.
We decided to hob nob for our last few hours there with some rally drivers in the sunshine outside, amongst the horde of beautiful vintage cars.
A few good (drunken) contacts made and a few (faltering) tugs on some nice quality cigars later, we were suddenly back riding shotgun with driver Willy, sadly on our way out this time.
Willy’s kindly manner and caring attitude for me very much summarised the whole Gleneagles remit, with its classic and proud Scottish heritage; well worth the trip for a truly personalised luxury experience.
Gleneagles Hotel is a world-famous five-star luxury hotel in Scotland.
Considered Scotland’s Leading Resort by the World Travel Awards – the property is set within the gentle beauty of 850 acres of Perthshire countryside.
It is home to three championship golf courses, a sparkling, award-winning spa and an exhilarating array of outdoor activities.
For more information head over to the official website.