What is the story?
Take a historic golf hotel, add a makeover and you have Marine Troon, a derelict sandstone monolith near Ayr on Scotland’s southwest coast. After being taken over by Marine & Lawn Hotels and Resorts a year ago, this Victorian grand dame has received a maximalist makeover with maritime touches. Beyond its gates is the 18th fairway of Royal Troon’s Old Course, but there’s plenty to keep non-golfers entertained too, including a swimming pool, squash court and bar with a stunning cocktail menu.
What do we like?
The invigorating and limitless approach to decoration, to begin with. The Seal Bar’s floral ceiling wallpaper contrasts tastefully with navy cornices, pew-style pews, and upholstered armchairs in jewel tones. There are 89 rooms in all and those in the Navy have been given the same treatment, with seaweed-print wallpaper, seaweed-hued headboards and framed artwork of Royal Troon golf heroes by artist Luke Edward Lobby (Classic Rooms have a more subdued palette of creams and blues).
The Rabbit Restaurant is more elegant, with checkerboard flooring and art deco-style lighting. Food is overseen by Derek Johnstone, a former MasterChef: the professionals winner who gave the dishes an elevated gastropub vibe. The salmon comes from Loch Duart, the scallops and honey from Orkney and the cheddar from Mull. Main courses include spinach and mint ravioli and roasted Shetland pollock with capers and browned butter. I finished with the burnt cheesecake with baked rhubarb and enjoyed the zing of the tiny rosemary seeds.
If you’re staying with your four-legged friend, the same menu can be enjoyed in the dog-friendly Seal Bar, where the cocktail list includes the knockout Troon Old Fashioned, infused with maple syrup and bitters. angostura – or you can eat on the windswept terrace. The restaurant and bar fill up with locals on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as those are the only days non-members can play the royal course. My other guests included Belgian, American and Canadian guests on golf tours in Scotland.
In the spa, the pool could use a little love (a renovation is underway), though the free iced tea in the metallic-gray lobby is a nice touch.
The golden horseshoe of Troon Beach is a short walk from the hotel and never gets as crowded as other beaches in the area. The working port of Troon is home to the Wee Hurrie, the best chippy for miles around (try the burbot supper) and a West Coast institution. Burn it with a stroll around Culzean Castle, a 35-minute drive away, but it’s worth it for the views over Ailsa Craig under the Irn Bru-hued sunsets.
Gabriella Bennett was a guest at Marine Troon, which offers B&B double rooms from £159; mains from £14 (marineandlawn.com)
Suitable for children; accepting dogs; accessible; restaurant
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