I was recently at the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews for a three-day conference, which was a great opportunity to stay in a very famous hotel.
Our bedroom was nice and spacious, with floor-to-ceiling windows which let in plenty of light - although sadly we had a view of the car park rather than the coast. I made good use of the desk to catch up with work in the evenings, and there were a couple of armchairs where we could sit and relax. The bed was gigantic (I really had to stretch reach my husband's hand, if we were both using our bedside tables for drinks), the sheets were nice and soft (I'd guess about 300 count cotton), and there were three different types of pillow. The in-room instant coffee, hot chocolate, and shortbread biscuits were of good quality (there was even a teapot provided). As well as the usual morning cleaning routine, the housekeeping staff came around every evening to turn down the beds, refresh the tea and coffee supplies, and even change any wet towels. Which isn't very environmental (nor was the full change of sheets every morning), but I suppose that isn't their priority - and at least they didn't change the pillows we hadn't used.
The hotel service was excellent. The staff were consistently friendly, helpful to a fault, and never sniffy about our wandering around in jeans and casual clothes. Nor did the smiles slip when I had cause to complain (for which, see below).
Breakfast was served in the fourth flour dining room, with fantastic views across the golf course and out to sea, at least on days when the whole shore wasn't shrouded in mist. There was an extensive cold selection of fresh fruit, pastries, muffins, breads, yoghurts, cheeses, and so on. The hot buffet was not so great for vegetarians (offering only eggs, potato scones, mushrooms, and tomatoes), but there was an a la carte menu available, from which I sampled the Belgian waffles and eggs florentine - both cooked to perfection. It would certainly take me a while to get bored with the breakfast choices.
Unfortunately, I was somewhat less impressed with the lunch and dinner catering, from a veggie perspective. On the first day of the conference, our cold buffet had all sorts of sandwiches pushed together on the same plate, and it was hard to find even a single cheese sandwich which hadn't been contaminated. I was disappointed, to say the least, and was careful to request that vegetarian food for the following days should be plated separately - which it was, as on subsequent days we each received an individual salad plate. The thing that bothers me is that I needed to ask. When I see such an elementary mistake in presentation, then I wonder about the separation of vegetarian food in the kitchens as well. The waiter who asked on our first evening whether the dessert "would be okay" despite containing gelatin showed a similar lack of understanding.
Evening meals were also included in the conference package, and served in the beautiful conservatory which also benefitted from golf course views. We had a fixed menu for the event, and the quality of the food was variable, from the disappointing mashed potato cubes (fried and advertised as "gnocchi"), garnished with a disproportionate pile of fresh rocket, to a very tasty, creamy vegetable stew. (And on the day of the sandwich incident, I was feeling sufficiently upset with the whole thing that I skipped out to have pizza in town.)
Overall, we had a lovely stay, and very much enjoyed the environment of the hotel. I only wish the vegetarian provision could be brought up to the otherwise-high standards, as it felt a bit like going back to the '90s.
The hotel & golf course: