First up confession time- your reviewer lived in this town once (1973-78).He visits often. He has family here, but he's not necessarily starry-eyed about it.
He saw this hotel's predecessor building bulldozed to make way for the current construct that hosted the 1999 British Open Golf championship won by European Ryder Cup hero, and fellow Scot, Paul Lawrie. You US golfing readers will recognise him as that "cable guy" that marmallised Brent Snedecker on his own turf in 2012.
The secret to enjoying this hotel is to come as a large group and try and get the third floor suites named after the famous Golfers who have won the British Open here (Armour, Hogan, Player, Watson). The Hogan seems to be the biggest but the principle of them all is the same- you get two large double bedrooms at each end with a large common area sandwiched between with wall to wall tv, guest washrooms, and facilities for hosting a pre-dinner session or two. Our most recent stay this month was in the Hogan, but we'd been in the Watson suite before as well. Before we went down to celebrate my father's birthday with dinner we had a great pre-dinner drinks session in the suite.
I'd guess the hotel hasn't been upgraded since it was built and you'll notice that in the lighting layouts and in some of the fitments but for the price of probably only £100 above a standard double here, its worth trying to get one of the suites.I suspect they'll have to do some major capital works by around 2016 at the latest if the British Open is to return there within the next 8-10 years.
The third floor suites have a special lift key that restricts access to residents only. So no drunken guests noisily rampaging outside your room at 3am if you want unbroken sleep.
I play golf but I seldom do so at Carnoustie. (a) the courses are a little too tough for my brittle and unpracticed game (b) they are too tough and (c) they're much too tough. Instead I tend to use the small but well equipped gym and the tidy swimming pool within the spa facilities. However this place should always be a must stop on any avid golfer's tour programme as they head up in the general direction of Mr. Trump's new course in Aberdeenshire.
One thing to remember, the hotel DOESN'T have priority access to the courses. The town's courses are municipally owned and are managed by the parochially bureaucratic Links Management Committee. Speak to the starter about booking tee times.
I've always found the service and food at the hotel of a high standard and this visit was no exception. You can find occasionally that the hotel can be busy as its a popular wedding and function venue and that might lengthen service times for meals a tad. Also, Stornoway Black Pudding may not be everyone's cup of tea as a starter but when its just what you fancy, it goes down a treat accompanied by a poached egg. I usually have the chicken for my main course and the restaurant prices are very reasonable and can usually be included in a deal package. At all times the food is well presented. The breakfast staff are just as attentive.
The walkway along the beach close to the hotel has been substantially improved and some of the high tides can be entertaining and maybe a bit close for comfort.So take your wellies and Goretex, but the view out across the Firth of Tay is superb.
Carnoustie's shops could be much better. The High Street is the only shopping thoroughfare, but the product offer is somewhat limited, Franco's-close to the East end and the Railway station is a cafe growing in reputation for a lunch or coffee venue. Nearby, the Station Hotel's restaurant serves some of the best steak pie I've come across.
People determined to browse and buy gifts though might be better jumping in the car and travelling around 3 miles westward on the A90 towards Dundee where there is a small shopping and leisure complex with ample parking, that would meet most needs. Dundee itself is ok for shopping and if you fancy it, St. Andrews is only about 35-40 minutes away over the Tay Bridge.
So a good place to get away to for a weekend get together, a function (large or small) or a base for a golfing holiday. Plenty of facilities, good food and some good deals on the suites can be had, if you bargain carefully and time your visit right.
We've certainly been back at the hotel several times now.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- One of Scotland's premium destinations for guests seeking luxury golfing and leisure facilities, the Carnoustie Golf Hotel has 91 en suite bedrooms providing enviable views over the infamous Championship Golf Course or the sea. Overlooking the 1st and 18th tee, guests can enjoy a wide selection of finely prepared Scottish cuisine to excite their taste buds in either the Dalhousie Restaurant, Calders Bar or on The Terrace, whilst enjoying the spectacular views. Carnoustie Golf Hotel is a unique golfing haven, offering some of the most stimulating golf in the world. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Carnoustie Hotel Course
- Carnoustie Golf Course Hotel Scotland