Perched at the grand finale of the famed Old Course in St Andrews, Rusacks St Andrews Hotel is a golfer’s paradise. Following a complete renovation that saw the hotel expand into a new building simultaneously boosting its room count and reputation, this property is looking better than ever.
Being a public golf course, it holds a special place in the hearts of many. While it may be a challenge to secure a tee time given the tremendous popularity, the course is open to all. In fact, on Sundays it closes completely providing visitors and locals the opportunity to enjoy the greens with friends and family. It’s the perfect spot for picnics, playing with the family or walking the dog; there’s just no golf allowed.
The hotel is extremely popular with American visitors and a Who’s Who list of famous golf players. During major events like The Open, rooms sell out months in advance when celebrity spotting becomes somewhat of a sport. The balconies facing the course here offer the ideal vantage point from which to watch the players practice their craft. But, no matter what time of year you visit, the hotel offers plenty to draw your attention. Here are five of the top reasons to stay at Rusacks St Andrews Hotel.
The number one reason to stay here is the famous views of the Old Course and West Sands Beach in the background. You can’t get much closer than this, and the golf course-facing rooms are prized possessions during major events. Even during other times of year, the rooms in front of the hotel are some of the best in town, and the roster of course-facing accommodations only grew with the new addition.
No matter what room you’re in, the most breathtaking views in the building are in the restaurant where the top tables go quickly at breakfast. From here, you can see the sunrise over the course.
If you want to get a head start on planning for the course, guests of Rusacks St Andrews can scan a unique QR code on the in-room TV. It offers breathing techniques, sound effects like the waves of West Sands Beach and golf clubs rattling in a bag, and specific visualization exercises. Thanks to this partnership with mindful coaching app Golf Guru, you’ll start the course better prepared than people who are staying elsewhere. Recent research and advice from pro golfers like Tiger Woods show that a 15-minute visualization session can help improve your game.
The renovation infused plenty of character into the already charming décor. Tartan prints and playful wallpaper frame the room with enormous beds coated in thick duvets and a velvety soft bed throw. Old-fashioned telephones are part of the vintage look, but are just a “front” for modern technology like speedy Wi-Fi that works all throughout the building.
Armchairs pull up to the enormous windows, which open for fresh air and better camera angles if photographing the course.
Bathrooms have glass shower stalls with excellent pressure, and some come with separate soaking tubs. Wide vanities have his and hers sinks with a lovely range of aromatic Floris toiletries in old-fashioned tubes.
Holding the famed lapel-pinned Clefs d’Or keys, the concierge team here is one of the best in the region. In fact, there are less than two dozen of them in all of Scotland, and Rusacks has one (soon to be two when another completes the training to achieve this high-brow status). If you want to know the best things to do in the city, where to eat, where to find a hearty pint and where to shop, ask the concierge team here. They do more than just recommendations though. You’ll see them around the hotel helping guests with bags, explaining the hotel’s history and providing the hospitality for which the Scottish people are known for around the world.
The food and beverage scene here draws guests, locals and visitors from other hotels, especially once they have completed a round on one of the area courses. It starts with breakfast served in the panoramic dining room, which also saw a design refresh. There’s everything from smashed avocado toast on crusty sourdough bread to a traditional Scottish breakfast with streaky bacon, black pudding and haggis. Later in the day, the menu switches to burgers, salads and other tasty dishes. Afternoon tea in the lounge is always a hit with the three-tiered stands piled high with crumbly scones, dainty finger sandwiches and pastries.
If you’re an early riser, the hotel offers complimentary pastries, croissants, and coffee or tea in the lobby lounge. Later in the day, head down to the bottom floor where the pub features local brews on tap and a range of pub fare that is perfect after a round of golf. The walls are lined with photos and memorabilia that detail the region’s famed golf history.
On the rooftop is the hotel’s signature steakhouse, bar and lounge with a magnificent terrace overlooking the course. There is also a small putting green, which is only more entertaining after a few pints of local beer.
The culinary team takes great pride in their farm-to-table menu, which is prepared from an exhibition kitchen. Not only can you sample great food, but the bar menu has a long roster of craft cocktails, wine, beer and, of course, locally produced gin.
Just outside the hotel’s door are numerous shops selling the latest sportswear, Old Course memorabilia, equipment and souvenirs. This is practically mecca for golf fans who want proof that they played this iconic course. Most of the sales from these stores support the preservation of the course.
Just steps from the 18th hole is the new TravisMathew store. The well-known golf brand is the first to open a standalone store within eyesight of the last hole on the Old Course. It commands center stage in any photograph of the course. It also offers bespoke apparel and gifts branded with The Old Course at St Andrews. From hats and jackets to stretch-material pants and moisture-wicking shirts, the store is a one-stop golf shop.
No other golf brand has a similar setup here. TravisMathew is introducing a new series of bespoke attire and memorabilia this month to celebrate the store’s official opening. Much of it is available online, but some things are unique to the actual store. This means you’ll have to travel to St Andrews if you want the best of the best. It’s a true trophy signal of where the best of the best golfers have been shopping.