Review: Gleneagles, Auchterarder, Scotland

The property lies within 850 acres of Perthshire countryside and is set beneath the Ochil Hills

Location: The property lies within 850 acres of Perthshire countryside and is set beneath the Ochil Hills. It’s an hour’s drive from Edinburgh airport and also boasts its own train station – you can reach Gleneagles from London by rail in around five hours.

First impressions: As we whizz along the hotel’s winding driveway, we pass hordes of happy golfers, families playing croquet, couples heading out on Pashley bicycles and others setting off on foot to explore the vast grounds. Gleneagles brands itself as The Glorious Playground, and from first impressions it’s a strapline that perfectly sums up this iconic hotel. On arrival, we are greeted warmly and our bags whisked to our home from home – an enormous one‑bedroom suite – leaving us to start exploring.

The facts: A wonderland property that dates back to 1924, Gleneagles has undergone a huge renovation in recent years thanks to investment from Ennismore (which also owns the Hoxton group). The hotel has 205 rooms and 28 exceptional suites, as well as eight restaurants and bars. Among the options is Strathearn Restaurant, which is dressy and delicious, but my favourite eatery was The Birnam Brasserie – slightly less formal but with a divine menu and exceptional service. If you can bag a table, start your evening at the iconic art deco-styled American Bar. For lunch, the Dormy Clubhouse serves delicious curries and pub classics and is well worth a visit. The hotel also has its own shopping arcade and an impressive spa and leisure centre, plus standalone beauty salon Bob & Cloche. It also offers ‘Wild Wellness’ retreats. Gleneagles, with its three championship courses, is a paradise for golf fans, but there is far more to Scotland’s grande dame than birdies and handicaps. Other activities include tennis, archery, cycling, fly-fishing, shooting, gundog training, a falconry school and an equestrian centre.

Explore: Book a Pashley and traverse Gleneagles’ lush landscapes on two wheels. Once you’ve explored all there is to see, head out in a Land Rover Defender with one of the hotel’s guides. I went out with country sports manager Yuri for a walk in Glen Devon before we set up camp besides a waterfall to enjoy a sumptuous picnic in the sunshine.

Wow: Everything was utterly exceptional!

Book it: A Country Double Room leads in at £395, while an Estate Suite leads in at £535, both include breakfast.

Hollie-Rae Brader

Hollie is editor of Aspire’s print and online products. She is responsible for the running of the club and ensuring the content produced and the events organised are relevant to the Aspire audience. She was previously deputy news editor and cruise writer for sister title Travel Weekly. She loves exploring new destinations and is gradually ticking new countries off her list. She most enjoys writing about cruise, South America and Japan. Before working in the travel industry she held news reporting roles at the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star.

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