No.1 Turnberry, Ayrshire
(2008 position 2)
Rooms & Suites: 150 May 2012 Price: From £339 Courses: 3 – Ailsa, Kintyre and Arran W: turnberry.co.uk Best for: Luxury, Couples, Families, Small Groups
For a golfer, the whole Auld Grey Toon experience may be hard to beat in the goosebumps stakes, but turning into the drive of the iconic red-roofed hotel at Turnberry is right up there too, even more so following a major renovation programme which has elevated the magnificent Ayrshire resort to the very pinnacle of our list. That programme saw a complete refurbishment of the public areas and all 47 ocean-facing rooms and suites, looking out over the renowned Ailsa course which has witnessed some of golf’s most dramatic action in its four Opens. Mary Fox Linton, the interior designer who oversaw the project, has developed a reputation for her sympathetic regeneration of old buildings, so while the overall styling is now more contemporary, it is not at the expense of character and tradition. The ground floor layout has reverted to the original 1906 configuration, with the main reception area styled on a modern railway waiting room, a fitting nod to Turnberry’s past. Turnberry continues to offer everything you’d expect of a five-star resort, first and foremost a trio of courses topped by the Ailsa, revered for its instantly recognisable lighthouse and the finest stretch of oceanside holes on the Open rota. The Spa is everything you’d expect with a mouthwatering array of treatments and a pool looking out towards Ailsa Craig, while outdoor pursuits include 4×4 off-roading, falconry, riding, quad-biking and archery. Dining is an experience in itself too, whether in the elegant James Miller room, the signature ‘1906′ restaurant or one of several other eateries in the main hotel or down at the clubhouse, where you’ll also find Colin Montgomerie’s impressive Links Academy. When you add the five-star apartments and cottages in the ‘Lands of Turnberry’ to the mix, Turnberry really does have it all.