The Orangery at Gleneagles, Auchterarder, Scotland

The Gleneagles Hotel
Auchterarder, Scotland, United Kingdom

The reputation of the Gleneagles Hotel – the self-billed ‘Glorious Playground’ – precedes itself as the Scottish bastion of luxury and experiential pursuits, prime among them golf (almost everyone we talked to about it asked if we were going to play a round). But it is far more.

When it comes to pure, unadulterated luxury, the Gleneagles hotel plays heavily on experiential travel for all its guests, offering a stunning spectrum of country and holiday pursuits, from gentle croquet (and jugs of Pimms) on its immaculate lawns; to riding one of its complimentary Pashley bikes around its 850 acres; to country recreation such as claypigeon shooting, falconry and gun-dog training; to getting out into the ‘real’ Scottish wilds … the awe-inspiring and historic Glen Artney, part of the Drummond Estates that the hotel has a unique partnership with.

There is a unique level of refinement applied to everything at the Gleneagles Hotel, from the courteousness of the hand-selected staff, to the rich, curated interior design throughout and the sense-tickling spa. A keen eye for detail is even found in its temptress of a shopping arcade and the sensational Scottish-accented cocktails in the fabled American Bar, stirred to perfection table-side.

Our suite in Braid House ‘the new wing’ was a masterpiece of inviting, contemporary design with subtle touches of Scotland and a unique, but tastefully delivered sense of place. Those who want something a little more traditional won’t be let down though, in the main building, the rooms invoke a sense of old-world grandeur, without ever compromising on hospitality excellence. In any case, each provide private spaces for those looking to escape; on that note, we will advise that the hotel can get quite busy at times, so we recommend splurging on a specialist suite for privacy and a sanctuary to retreat to. Suite and ultra-VIP will also access some exclusive experiences at the general manager’s discretion, but we’ve been sworn to secrecy on exactly what they are.

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While you’re Out There
Do head out to the Drummond Estate with the hotel’s country sports manager, on a hike (and perhaps even a stalking or fishing excursion) to the awe-inspiring Glen Artney, part of the Drummond Estates where you’ll see Scotland’s infamous red deer or even bag a Munro. Before, during and after an impressive picnic lunch, we learnt about the ‘real’ Scotland, a half or whole day experience that is truly unforgettable.

Were we to come up with a gripe – and it’s only if we had to – it’s that breakfast could have been more lovingly prepared. But otherwise, dining at Gleneagles is fantastic, from the theatrical Strathearn to the less formal Birnam Brasserie. Afternoon tea at Glendevon is a popular affair as well the Michelin-starred delicacies at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie … it’s all rather ‘braw’, as they say in Scotland: not short of amazing.

Photography courtesy of The Gleneagles Hotel