Gleneagles has never been short of accolades. When it opened in 1924, it was described as ‘the eighth wonder of the world’, in 2005 it was the setting for the G8 summit and 2014 saw it host the Ryder Cup.
Along the way, it has been awarded two Michelin stars for the Andrew Fairlie restaurant – Scotland’s only two Michelin-starred restaurant – and hosted the world’s great and the good on its 850-acre estate.
The idea of a beautiful country house hotel, built in the style of a palace in the heart of the rolling Perthshire hills, was conceived in the early 1900s. The advent of WWI delayed the project and the hotel building was actually preceded by its James Braid-designed golf courses, The King’s and Queen’s. It instantly became the height of fashion to visit Gleneagles and enjoy the leisure and sport on offer. From the beginning, the luxury hotel was passionate about excellence, declaring that ‘the avowed intention of the management is to create happiness’.
During WWII, the hotel saw service as a military hospital but promptly opened again as a hotel after the war and has evolved ever since. It still remains dedicated to the primary pursuit of creating lasting memories for its guests. With 232 bedrooms, a vast estate with the best sporting opportunities that Scotland has to offer, a retail arcade populated by luxury brands, a salon and nail bar, the spa with 20 treatment rooms and just about every other luxury you can think of, it’s hard to imagine a need or desire that is not catered for.
As well as the two Michelin-starred Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, there are three other restaurants to satisfy every taste.
As you would expect from its setting, the bar harbours a selection of more than 120 single malt whiskeys, as well as vintage champagne by the glass and an excellent wine list.
There are plenty of opportunities for working off all the fine dining with forays into the stunning countryside and there is also a plethora of sporting activities available for children. The Gleneagles shooting and fishing school takes guests fly fishing on nearby lochs and, as well as clay shooting and archery, there is deer stalking, game bird shooting and salmon fishing available in season. The Gleneagles equestrian school has 30 horses and ponies, an outdoor and indoor arena and an extensive cross country course, while The British School of Falconry at Gleneagles offers a 45-minute lesson where guests can handle a Harris hawk. The Gundog School teaches how to handle a trained gundog, incorporating obedience, agility and handling.
Make like James Bond by learning how to drive a four-wheel drive vehicle over rugged terrain. Mini Land Rovers and amphibious vehicles give children the experience of a lifetime. In addition there are outdoor tennis courts, croquet, cycling and jogging trails, and a putting green. For guests who prefer the great indoors, the luxurious club consists of two swimming pools, an outdoor hot pool, thermal experiences, a gym and fitness classes. The brand new indoor tennis facility offers four acrylic-surfaced courts to complement the five outdoor courts.
A visit to Gleneagles would not be complete without a round on its three championship golf courses, justly famous for hosting the 2014 Ryder Cup matches.
All the courses offer generous fairways, big greens, challenges for all handicaps and superb views of the surrounding countryside.
Gleneagles is like a palace occupying its own beautiful kingdom, but it’s just one hour’s drive from Glasgow and Edinburgh International airports. Its own train station makes it even more accessible, reachable by rail directly from London in just 5.5 hours. Happiness is really that close.
THE GLENEAGLES HOTEL AUCHTERERDER, PERTHSHIRE PH3 1NF +44 (0)800 169 2984