Awe­some yr­shire

Hav­ing un­der­gone a multi-mil­lion re­fur­bish­ment, Ayr­shire’s Trump Turn­berry and its fa­mous golf cour­ses are at­tract­ing more vis­i­tors than ever. Re­becca Younger vis­ited this of­ten over­looked part of Scot­land

Surrey Life - - Health & Fitness News -

What­ever your views on Don­ald Trump, he knows a thing or two about ho­tels – this year Trump Turn­berry, in Ayr­shire, was named Scot­tish Ho­tel of the Year.

When the now pres­i­dent of the USA bought the ho­tel and golf club back in 2014, it un­sur­pris­ingly caused a bit of a stir. How­ever the £200 mil­lion in­vest­ment has trans­formed the for­mer sta­tion ho­tel and is do­ing a lot for the lo­cal econ­omy of Ayr­shire, as Jack Power ex­plained when he took me and my part­ner on a tour. “What­ever peo­ple think about Trump lo­cally, a lot are thank­ful to him for what he has done here; it has cre­ated jobs [500 peo­ple work at the ho­tel] and is bring­ing more peo­ple to the area,” he says. “Ayr­shire and the west coast of Scot­land are some­what over­looked – peo­ple tend to head to Ed­in­burgh and then the High­lands but we’re start­ing to see that change with more peo­ple com­ing to see what this area has to of­fer.”

Of course, the Pres­i­dent has strong ties to Scot­land – his mother grew up on the He­bridean is­land of Lewis be­fore em­i­grat­ing to New York in the 1930s – and he al­ready owns Macleod House & Lodge Ho­tel in Aberdeen.

How­ever he chose to stay at Turn­berry dur­ing his last visit in July, which was not the first time a sit­ting Amer­i­can pres­i­dent had stayed at the ho­tel. The other was Eisen­hower, who made nearby Culzean Cas­tle his ‘Scot­tish White House’ af­ter he vis­ited and fell in love with the area in the mid-1940s.

It’s easy to see why both Eisen­hower had (and Trump con­tin­ues to have) a love af­fair with this coastal en­clave. Apart from hav­ing ar­guably one of the finest links golf cour­ses in the world, Turn­berry sits on a hill over­look­ing the Firth of Clyde with far-reach­ing views out to sea and of Ailsa Craig, the is­land likened by many to a gi­ant cur­rant bun. It’s also known as Paddy’s Mile­stone be­cause it lies al­most half­way be­tween Belfast and Glas­gow.

I got my first proper glimpse of the vol­canic out­crop from the seafac­ing draw­ing room of the Price Suite, named af­ter Zim­bab­wean golf pro­fes­sional Nick Price (most of the suites are named af­ter fa­mous golfers). If you’re not lucky enough to have a sea-fac­ing room then don’t de­spair, the ho­tel’s lounge, restau­rant and bar are all po­si­tioned to max­imise the views. It’s one of the rea­sons af­ter­noon tea is so pop­u­lar here. Peo­ple come from miles around to sit in the Grand Tea Lounge and soak up the panoramic vis­tas while sam­pling dainty sand­wiches, cakes and scones washed down with co­pi­ous amounts of tea served from an old fash­ioned Samovar and, if

they fancy, a glass of sparkling wine from Trump’s win­ery in the foothills of the Vir­ginia’s Blue Ridge Moun­tains or one of the many dozens of whiskeys avail­able at the bar.

As the first ever pur­pose-built golf re­sort in the world and four­time host of The British Open, one of the other ma­jor pulls to Turn­berry is, of course, its golf cour­ses. De­spite be­ing renowned for its 18-hole cham­pi­onship Ailsa Course, which was named the 2017/2018 num­ber one course in the UK and Ire­land by Golf Monthly, it also has the King Robert the Bruce Course – un­veiled just last year – as well as the nine-hole Ar­ran course.

As a golf pro­fes­sional, my part­ner vouched for the fact that the Ailsa course is top notch (he told me it’s one of the best he’s played). How­ever, if you’re not a sea­soned pro then you can book a les­son with one of the club’s pro­fes­sion­als or even just walk around the course – the land­scape is truly breath­tak­ing and a stop at the light­house, which dou­bles up as the Ailsa Course half­way house, for a hot toddy is an ex­pe­ri­ence in it­self. There’s even a two-bed­room suite in the light­house you can book if you’re af­ter an overnight stay like no other.

But it’s not just about golf here. With a glass-fronted swim­ming pool of­fer­ing views out to sea, a hot tub, steam room, sauna and eight treat­ment rooms, you could eas­ily spend a whole day in the spa (try the Top to Toe ESPA treat­ment for a real treat) and there’s a range of other ac­tiv­i­ties on of­fer in­clud­ing horse rid­ing, shoot­ing and archery. That’s not to men­tion meal­times – 1906 of­fers fine din­ing with a view, while The Duel in the Sun, found in the club­house, pro­vides a less in­for­mal en­vi­ron­ment for lunch or din­ner and over­look Ailsa’s 18th hole.

But, as is of­ten the case, some­times the sim­ple, small touches are the most im­por­tant in life and one of the most joy­ous parts of my stay was lis­ten­ing to the bag­pipe player, ser­e­nad­ing guests on the ho­tel steps each evening as the sun be­gan to set be­hind Aisla Craig. For me, that summed up the sub­tle beauty of this un­for­get­table place.

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