We arrived at The Gleneagles Hotel during its year long 90th birthday celebrations at the tail end of an exceptionally warm and sunny Scottish autumn. The fine weather made September and October that bit busier at one of Scotland’s three Leading Hotels of the World.
Like all leading hotels there never seems to be a quiet time to visit. Coming off the back of hosting the Ryder Cup in 2014 it has been an unprecedented busy couple of years; firstly preparing for one of the world’s main golfing events and then gearing up to celebrate the hotel’s milestone birthday.
The mark of excellence for any popular hotel is that you never get the feeling that it is too busy. When we visited this inspirational complex we didn’t see any visible stretch marks or growing pains from the hotel expanding to cope with these two massive occasions. What we experienced was just the usual matter of fact five star service and quality.
After reaching the pinnacle of the hospitality industry – Gleneagles has an almost countless number of awards – it becomes a massive challenge to stay at the top. To maintain this position a hotel has to rely on every feature within the hotel. The hotel can bank on the incredible setting and amazing facilities but it is the 900 staff who really maintain Gleneagles preeminent position.
It is the small things that turn any good hotel into a great one. Remembering your name; welcoming you back if you have stayed at the hotel before or providing a mini size dressing gown and slippers (possibly the cutest thing you’ve ever seen) for your 7 month old. The devilishly good service is in the detail.
The staff are everywhere always with a pleasant, relaxed, professional and informal manner. As we journeyed from the reception, skirting the shopping mall, passing the spa, peering in to the Spanish restaurant and through to Braid House – the extension to the main hotel where we stayed – no member of staff missed an opportunity to welcome us to the hotel.
After way too many pictures of the mini dressing gown we took several of the beautiful bedroom. Each room in Braid House has a real fire place opposite a massive bed. In our room we had a wonderful sunken area in the floor that gave a large room an even greater spacious feel. Dark mahogany internal doors opened up to a beautifully light bathroom with twin sinks, bath, shower and toilet. Any guest has to be commended on remembering anything in the room as the view – especially from the corner bedrooms – can simply short-circuit the senses. We had a double aspect bedroom looking across the forecourt to the main hotel and east out over the hills into deepest Perthshire.
As well as staying the night at Gleneagles we sampled the food and wine. From the grand formality of The Strathearn to the bustling vibe of Deseo – where we ate – you can add the Michelin magnificence of Andrew Fairlie to the informal ambience of The Dormy Bar & Grill. All of their restaurants are open to Gleneagles guests and day visitors alike.
We tried some tapas for starters choosing a selection of delicious Spanish cold meats and some Padron peppers. The peppers were as juicy and succulent as any we’ve eaten in Spain (and we have eaten a lot). For our main meals we had sea bass and lamb cutlets. Both were locally sourced and cooked to perfection.
Unusually for a upmarket restaurant desert was an open buffet affair. Unusual but most welcome. It allowed us to try a few of the European influenced deserts with creme catalan and a few fruit tarts reminding us the heavy Spanish influence. We sampled three of the cheaper wines as recommended by our wonderfully theatrical sommelier and all were great.
With so much to do at Gleneagles from Segway tours to Gundog school it is impossible to review the whole complex. So its down to try and summarise this masterpiece of a hotel: there is no other hotel complex in the UK that offers such a wonderful blend of location, facilities and service. This is a unique place and there is no other place like it.
Practically Perfect PA received complimentary accommodation at Gleneagles. Our opinions are entirely our own. Advertised minimum rate per night is £305 (October 2015).