Steeped in History and Charm
In many ways, time seems to have stood still in St Andrews: the cobbled streets, the ancient tower of St Rule standing in the cathedral’s ghostly ruins, the castle with its subterranean passages and the crosses set in the streets to mark where Catholics and Protestants alike were martyred in the fire of their faith.
Unlike many medieval townships, St Andrews has not allowed itself to be burdened by history. While the town takes pride in its heritage, St Andrews, the university, pubs and golf clubs retain the nostalgic charm while keeping up-to-date with the times.
It’s said that you do not pass through St Andrews en route to anywhere; however, its isolation is what makes it a special destination. But make no mistake, there is plenty to do here — from the pubs, cafés and restaurants to shops, museums, theatres, cinema and aquarium, as well as numerous outdoor activities including the botanical gardens, beach and water sports, hiking and, of course, golf.
Thomas Hamilton built the Grand Hotel more than a century ago as an illustrious retreat with unparalleled views of the Old Course at St Andrews, West Sands Beach and the North Sea. It was the first building in Scotland to have a pneumatic elevator and hot and cold running water in every bathroom, setting the benchmark for the ultimate in luxurious hospitality.
During the Second World War, the Air Ministry of the United Kingdom requisitioned the hotel and transformed it into the training headquarters of the Royal Air Force. Shortly after the war, the University of St Andrews acquired the building and opened it as a hall of residence, and for 56 years, Hamilton Hall faithfully served the university’s student body.
Bringing this story up to date, Kohler Co. breathed new life into the property, returning the landmark to its original splendor.