There can’t be many hotels in the world that can boast their own railway station, but Gleneagles can. Gleneagles Station is on the London to Inverness line, so it’s easy to combine a trip to the English capital with a taste of rural Scotland. And what a taste that will be: Gleneagles is the ultimate luxury destination for families who like to explore, experiment and enjoy quality time together.
We had two intercommunicating rooms with spacious bathrooms and a lounge area complete with working fireplace (the rooms must be particularly magical at Christmas). There were balconies too, overlooking the grounds, which we actually got to sit out on — it’s a myth that Scotland is always chilly! The kids, meanwhile, had gone quiet. They had dressed themselves in their mini robes and were tucking into the homemade cookies they’d discovered on their beds.
Families will need more than a weekend at the resort just to try out everything that it has to offer within its grounds. We spent two amazing days here and enjoyed a taste. We got to experience what it feels like to have a falcon sitting on your arm and to teach it to fly off and return. We learned how ferrets are used to chase out rabbits, and the girls worked with gundogs to find and retrieve.
Whilst the kids had a tennis lesson with the head coach, my husband took off on a mountain bike trail through the glens, whilst I had the spa’s signature Source body massage — bliss. The spa is one of the world’s best. Afterward, the girls hung out in The Zone playing table football, whilst we relaxed in one of the bars.
On top of this, there were several delicious meals — the breakfast was one of the best I’ve ever had — and many dips in the indoor and outdoor pools. We’d no time to try the Golf Academy or the three championship golf courses, one of which recently hosted the Ryder Cup. We also missed out on pitch ‘n putt; horse riding at the Equestrian Centre; fishing; off-road driving, which even kids can do; archery; wildlife photography; and Segways, let alone venturing outside the resort.
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Although many of the activities can be done as a family, should parents wish for some “me” time, there is a well-equipped and well-staffed playroom where children 2 and over can be left. The Zone accommodates older children with various table and computer games. During holiday periods, there is a programme of supervised, organised activities that take full advantage of everything the resort has to offer.
I know I mentioned breakie earlier, but if you conjure up everything you could possibly want in your dream breakfast, you’ll probably find it on the menu here: kippers, duck egg on potato scones, waffles with hazelnut sauce and Chantilly cream. It would take a month to taste everything on the menu.
Lunch and dinner are hard to beat too. We enjoyed the Mediterranean specialities at Deseo and classic British fair in the Dormy Clubhouse. We need to go back to try the two-Michelin-star Andrew Fairlie restaurant, and the famed afternoon tea.
Gleneagles is one of those bucket-list places for which it’s best to schedule in at least a week. Given the time, guests can try out everything the resort has to offer and explore the surrounding area: the castles and palaces dotted against the beautiful backdrop of the Scottish Highlands, and the cosmopolitan cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, both about an hour’s drive away. And then you need to test it out during summer and winter, Christmas and Easter …
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Editor’s Note: Anna received a media rate for her stay at Gleneagles. As always, our opinions are our own. Photos by Anna Tobin except where noted.
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