I visited the Gleneagles hotel in Perthshire, Scotland, for a night. It cost about $470.
The attention to detail, luxurious setting, and breakfast buffet were the best parts of my stay.
I would visit again, but for longer.
I've lived a one-hour drive from Gleneagles — Scotland's most prestigious hotel — my whole life.
I finally visited for the first time this year.
Gleneagles is a byword for Scottish luxury.
The five-star luxury hotel opened in the town of Auchterarder, Perthshire, in 1924, and is celebrating its centenary.
I'd heard about Gleneagles from friends whose parents are weekend golfers, and international students at my university who had some experience of the world's best hotels.
Depending on booking dates, a room at Gleneagles can start at £325 per night (around $410) — but can go much higher during the busy summer golfing season or over the holidays.
I decided 2024 was the year I'd visit after Gleneagles was placed 32nd on the "World's 50 Best Hotels" list, the only Scottish property to be mentioned.
The property is opulent, but didn’t feel snobby or uncomfortable.
My job means I get to travel to luxury hotels around the world, and one thing always surprises me about hotels like Gleneagles — they're almost never snobby.
The hotel was an hour's drive from my home in Glasgow, and is a similar distance from Scotland's main airports. You can get the train from London direct to the Gleneagles train station, where staff will pick you up in a chauffeur-driven car.
I was surprised when I arrived to see most guests dressed in plain clothes and sportswear. It reminded me of Balmoral as shown in "The Crown," where the royal family wore casual outdoorsy clothes.
The service matched the friendly atmosphere.
Though the 100-year-old hotel is as opulent as they come, staff are warm and genuine, and aren't afraid to crack a joke or have a conversation with guests.
The interiors of the room were traditional.
When I stayed, the property offered a seasonal "Winter Escape" package. Extra experiences were baked into the price, making it better value for money.
I booked a room for one night for £375, around $470.
It was a spacious room in the 100-year-old main building of the property. I also got a buffet breakfast, a falconry experience, and a guided morning walk across the 850-acre Gleneagles estate.
The interiors were traditional with wooden furniture and velvet fabrics on the sofa and soft furnishings.
The room I booked was a "Manor Room." It wasn't a suite but it was spacious with twin beds, a velvet sofa, a vanity desk, and a corner armchair and table.
There was a focus on sustainability in the bathroom.
A focus on sustainability wasn't something I expected from a traditional property like Gleneagles – but I was pleasantly surprised.
The bathroom products are full-sized and a note in the bathroom said the ingredients they featured, like heather and silver birch, could be found on the estate.
You can take the full products home with you, for an extra charge.
The property had small Scottish touches.
Though the hotel is grand, it stayed true to its Scottish heritage with extras in the room like Scottish shortbread biscuits, and homemade tablet, a local sweet that's similar to fudge.
I was excited for the breakfast, friends had described to me as the best they've had.
At breakfast, a poem by Scottish poet Robert Service was printed onto the menu cover.
The property also had a whisky store with over 200 rare single malts.
The $120 dinner felt like good value for a five-star place.
Gleneagles is a city within itself, with little need to leave the property.
I went for dinner at The Strathearn, an elegant restaurant where a three-course meal was £100 per person, around $120.
This is more than I would usually spend on dinner, but would be perfect for a special occasion like an anniversary or birthday.
There was a pianist, and I was surprised to hear the "Harry Potter" theme tune being played.
For dinner I stuck with a classic.
For dinner, I started with scallops which rivaled the best I've had at The Witchery in Edinburgh.
For the main course, I opted for a traditional roast, with beef sirloin.
The meat was carved table side which added to the theatrics of the experience.
For dessert, I had a chocolate and mandarin layered dessert.
At this caliber of restaurant, I wasn't surprised that every course was consistently good.
There are multiple restaurants and bars.
There are numerous restaurants at Gleneagles, including Scotland's only two-Michelin-star restaurant, Andrew Fairlie.
There is also a cigar lounge, multiple bars, and a café. I went to the American Bar, an art-deco style cozy spot where cocktails average £25, around $31.
These cocktails are created using leftover ingredients from the other venues at Gleneagles. I tried the Blueberry, which is created using unsold blueberry muffins from the café.
Turndown service was my favorite thing about luxury hotels, and Gleneagles had some unique touches like sleep spray and funky slippers.
I visited a luxury resort in Switzerland last year, and the attention to detail during the turndown service was impeccable.
Gleneagles was even better.
I entered my room after dinner to find all my cosmetic cases neatly organized and laid out over hand towels.
The extra decorative cushions had been removed from the bed, and on the bedside table were two bottles of water, a drinking glass, and miniature sleep spray with lavender and chamomile.
I loved the extra touch of the plush slippers left by the side of the bed.
Gleneagles calls itself "The Glorious Playground," plenty to keep guests occupied.
Scotland is famous for its golf courses, as is Gleneagles.
I spoke to Iris Marhencke, the guest-relations manager, who said their busiest time is the golfing season in spring and summer.
The property also has outdoorsy activities like horse riding, clay-pigeon shooting and off-roading.
My package included a "Birds of Prey" experience where, falconry experts taught us how they care for the birds, and introduced us to some of them.
I also went on an estate-walking tour the morning I checked out.
The weather was wet and windy — normal for Scotland — making conditions a bit rough as we walked through muddy fields.
Some members of my walking group ended up turning back.
If I were to visit again, I would wait until the spring and summer months to be able to enjoy the 850-acres estate.
The breakfast was the most luxurious buffet I’ve seen.
I'm not generally a breakfast person.
But the Gleneagles buffet was too good to resist.
It had a "build your own bloody mary" station, and a "create your own caprese salad" station, with tiny sheers to cut basil leaves from a fresh plant.
There were some items that I [didn't try], like pickled herring.
Scotland is famed for smoked salmon, and there were several types to try.
There was also a separate children's buffet, with lower serving tables. Kids could pick up cereals, yogurts and fruit snacks themselves.
Though the property is traditional, they had alternatives like chicken sausages for those who don't eat pork, or vegetarian ones.
Like the majority of other guests, I don’t think it’ll be long before I return - even for a meal.
Walking from dinner to the bar at the hotel, I spoke to another guest who had driven in just for dinner — and I'd do the same.
It is a splurge to go to Gleneagles. Though I could see myself booking another stay for a special occasion, I'd be more eager to return for just for breakfast, or for a classic Sunday roast lunch.
Marhencke said that many people come back, and that 50% of guests were return customers.
I felt that a one-night stay wasn't enough, and guests traveling from far away should stay at least two to make the most of what's there.
I loved that, that though the hotel is romantic and grand, there were also families with small children and groups of friends enjoying the luxurious setting.
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