Stay and play review: Fairmont St Andrews – luxury and stunning golf overlooking the Auld Grey Toon

When you don’t have a small fortune to spend at the Old Course Hotel or Rusacks, Fairmont St Andrews is a perfect alternative.

The sprawling, 520-acre estate is far enough away from the madding crowds that populate the Auld Grey Toon, but close enough to the surrounding 10 St Andrews golf courses within a five-mile radius.

Two of them – the Kittocks and Torrance – are practically on the doorstep of the five-star hotel, which is where we set up camp just before the Asian Tour visited in August.

Many of the rooms at Fairmont St Andrews overlook the two courses.


Imagine country-style elegance with contemporary designs, vast open spaces, and impeccable service.
The Americanised vibe here is one of relaxed comfort with a side order of self-indulgence.

All 212 rooms and suites are furnished with period-style windows, luxe touches, and white marble bathrooms with heated floors and a separate walk-in shower and bathtub.

Downstairs, the wow factor is reserved for the vast, glass-sided atrium, where a brilliant breakfast buffet is served each morning. For £40, you can also enjoy afternoon tea here on Sundays and box up any leftovers like we did to take back to your room.

The Kittocks course used to be known as The Devlin.


Unlike the more traditional links courses in town, the Kittocks and Torrance sit perched on bluffs, high above the North Sea. The coastal views are hard to beat but the exposed location often means a stiff breeze must be navigated alongside the many infinity greens, bunkers, and burns, some of which are fed by two incongruous lakes on the Kittocks.

The Torrance has always been the favorite child among tour bosses, but we’d argue that its sister – the Kittocks – is the more demanding (and spectacular) of the two, with greater variety and gnarly rough.

The Torrance plays more like a traditional links in that regard, working its way up and around the hotel on the outward nine, before tumbling back down to reveal a number of craggy mounds that isolate the holes and add character to others.

Its most dramatic holes dance close to the cliff’s edge, most notably the par-4 17th, where a large bite has been taken out of the entrance to the green. There are now plans to convert all 36 holes into one championship venue, so you better get in quick before it’s too late.

The 16th green on the Torrance course sits perched against the cliff face.


Like the Kittocks, the Torrance features a fantastic finale that begins with this plunging approach (see above) on the 16th to an infinity green. The theme continues on the next – a 220-yard par 3 – which plays over a dry stone wall to a two-tier green with trouble all around.

The spa and leisure centre is free for all hotel guests at Fairmont St Andrews.


After dropping your bag off with the tartan-clad doorman, you can park the kids in a dedicated games room and cinema during the school holidays and head downstairs to the lavish health club and spa, which has its own relaxation lounge.

There, you can book a personalized treatment or unwind in the 16-meter heated pool, hot tub, sauna, and steam room.

We had intended to hire a bike for free and follow the Fife coastal path, but poor visibility meant most of our time (and money) was spent in the Zephyr Sports Bar playing snooker, darts, and the Old Course on a Full Swing simulator. An hour’s session cost us £50.

The atrium at Fairmont St Andrew is the main meeting point.


In the evening, the two-AA Rosette St Andrews Bay Clubhouse & Grill is the place to go for lobster, steak, and wraparound views of the courses and St Andrews Bay.

The clubhouse offers incredible views of the two courses and the university town.

There are two cheaper, casual-dining restaurants back at base, including a sensational Italian called La Cucina, though we’d highly recommend taking a trip to the Jahangir Balti & Tandoor Restaurant in the town center which serves the biggest naan breads you’ve ever seen.

You can then end the evening by sampling single malts and/or signature cocktails in the Kittocks Den, which is an extension of Fairmont’s grand lobby.

West Sands beach was used in Chariots of Fire.


St Andrews is as close to a golfer’s heaven as it gets. The hotel’s complimentary shuttle bus transports guests to and from the university town, which is a browser’s paradise of independent shops, historic hotspots, and golf-obsessed pubs.

On Sundays, you can walk the Old Course for free and nip across to play the Himalayas putting course, which sits just a few hundred yards from West Sands Beach of Chariots of Fire fame.

When the weather is less favorable, you can take a tour of the castle, the cathedral, and the World Golf Museum, before retreating to the Dunvegan Pub – the most famous 19th hole in the world – where the walls and ceilings are adorned with pictures of every notable golfer that’s ever paid a visit.


A package for two people includes one night’s B&B, access to the spa and leisure facilities, and one round on the Torrance or Kittocks. The package starts at £280 per room, subject to availability.

To book, call 01344 837000 or visit the website.

Quote Today’s Golfer Winter Stay & Play when booking to receive one hour free on the indoor golf simulator and a bucket of beers!

About the author

Today's Golfer features editor Michael Catling.

Michael Catling – Features Editor

Michael Catling is Today’s Golfer‘s Features Editor and an award-winning journalist who specializes in golf’s Majors and Tours, including DP World, PGA, LPGA, and LIV.

Michael joined Today’s Golfer in 2016 and has traveled the world to attend the game’s biggest events and secure exclusive interviews with dozens of Major champions, including Jack Nicklaus, Jordan Spieth, Tom Watson, Greg Norman, Gary Player, and Justin Thomas.

A former member of Ufford Park and Burghley Park, Michael has been playing golf since he was 11 and currently plays off a handicap of 10.

Get in touch with Michael via email and follow him on Twitter.

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