My 36 hour trip Gleneagles started with a 07:45 flight from Gatwick to Edinburgh. We arrived just in time for lunch in the Birnam Winter Garden, which took its inspiration from chic French cafes, and ended with perhaps the finest scones I have ever had in the Glendevon, overlooking the hotel grounds, and the Ochil Hills, not that we could see the hills for the mist.
So what else did I do in the little time that I was there?
After a fabulous lunch it was off to tour the riding Arena and the stables. The gundog demo was rained off, so an alternative activity, driving Defenders on one of the two off road courses, was quickly arranged. The courses were designed by experts and include ditches, water, obstacles (in our case the obstacles came in the form of cattle), and some steep gradients. Somehow, I got to do the water and the gradient. Driving a Defender is quite an experience and I confess that I believe the Defender was in charge more than me. Who knew that it drove itself? I didn’t!
As our early start and the off-road high jinks left us a little tired, we toured the hotel, saw some other the other rooms and suites, and eagerly eyed up treasures in the shopping arcade. I still have my eye on a certain handbag … then it was time to put our feet up, answer a few emails and enjoy our rooms. Located in Braid House, our Estate rooms had a contemporary Scottish feel, no tartan, just superb quality fabrics, and a huge bed with sumptuous pillows. Small touches such as the delicate bone china thistle cups, and Gleneagles shortbread were the perfect antidote to the rain and mist. A modern bathroom with rolltop bath and Asprey toiletries encouraged me to take time getting ready for dinner.
Pre-dinner drinks in the super stylish, 20s inspired American Bar were followed by dinner in the Strathearn. This was Highland dining at its best, the walnut gueridon trolleys and silver cloches hark back to an era of butlers and staff below stairs. Once again, the service was faultless, and the food was divine. The Lifestyle menu offers excellent choices for vegans and vegetarians, so I was quote delighted with my options and enjoyed a long and leisurely dinner in good company.
Breakfast the next morning was incredible, a vast array of dishes and stations from fresh fruit and pancakes to a Bloody Mary and Mimosa Bar. I was delighted to find that the hot vegetarian dishes were on the opposite side to the meat dishes, so no risk of my delicious vegetarian sausages coming into contact with meat products. It is the little things that hotels do well, or not, that I really notice.
After breakfast if was off to play, we tried our hand at target shooting with air rifles – where I was delighted to find that all my Grandpa had taught me when I was young, was still there. Then it was on to archery and clay pigeon shooting, both of which I found a little more challenging, but you cannot be good at everything can you?
After a morning of exertion it was time for a lunch of delicious small plates and craft beers in Auchterader 70. Did you know that halloumi dogs are a thing? DEEElicious!
Of course a trip to Gleneagles would not be complete without a visit to the golf courses, the more natural looking Kings and Queens courses appealed to me more than the more groomed looking PGA course. Not golfers, we limited ourselves to the driving range where our lack of skill could go unnoticed.
A quick stop on the pro shop to see their kit, told us that serious golfers would think that Gleneagles is heavenly. The less serious golfers would still be able find something gorgeous to purchase in the Pro shop.
Gleneagles have thought of everything for the active, and less active guest. In addition to my experiences, you can also enjoy tennis, cycling, falconry, tree climbing a zip wire and an award-winning spa. There is even a kids’ club with PS4s, Xboxes, and a cinema, as well as activities more suitable for the littlies.
It is the perfect venue for corporate get togethers, small group bookings, family breaks, weekends away with (or without the kids), and of course a great place for a special celebration.
Gleneagles showcases the very best of Scotland from moment you step through the door, it is grand and majestic, yet it also feels like coming home.
Gleneagles, I shall be back.
For more details or to book your stay and have me take care of all the details, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org