Before you read you must know THIS IS NOT AN AD. I absolutely gush in this review because it literally was flawless in every way. I couldn’t recommend a stay enough.
It’s been a week now since we checked in for our Christmas stay at Fairmont St Andrews and Im still smiling ear to ear every time I think of it.
Since the birth of Charlotte, over 2 years ago, we decided that every second Christmas we would spend away from home. Not only because its nice to have someone else cook and clean up on the big day but its also nice to just let the kids play, uninterrupted, all day with their new toys.
This year we decided to head to Fairmont St Andrews, so here is the rundown on our family Christmas staycation:
Arrival- after what seemed like an age of a drive, broken up with spat of Lewis unwittingly belting out Christmas ballads (he had his earphones in!) and Charlotte throwing up, we arrived at the hotel. We didn’t realise you could drive to the door and unload your bags for them to be taken to your room on arrival so instead parked the car and lugged it all (that’s what we usually do so clearly this was a bit fancier than the likes of us are used to!). We went to the desk, door opened by concierge, and checked in within 5 minutes seamlessly. The guy who checked us in (can’t remember his name but he had glasses and an accent?) was so lovely, gave us great advice and also provided us with much needed mulled wine and mince pies (nice touch Fairmont!).
The lobby and reception area itself is quite lavish. You are greeted by a large, roaring fire and rich furnishings with sets a festive and warm atmosphere.
We had booked to see Santa within 20 minutes of check in so it was a quick dash to the room to drop the bags. The hallways were well maintained and the room itself was nice. We had opted for a family room- 2 double beds- and although we had asked for a travel cot it wasn’t there but it was no problem for the housekeeping team who had it up to the room and set up by the time we arrived back from seeing Santa, again excellent service (especially for a stressed Mum on Christmas eve). Nothing felt like it was a problem. The bathroom was stunning. I always feel smug if we land a room with a nice bathroom. I know that sound really rank and a bit weird but there’s nothing better than a wee bubble bath and well lit mirror for preening after a hard day with the kids. This bathroom did not let down. It had a real Gatsby style/ Art deco feel with grey marble, a free standing bath and large separate shower/ wet room style unit. The toiletries were good too, although not the best I’ve seen or used (we once got Elemis at a hotel Dubai!). I had pre ordered chocolate dipped strawberries for our arrival (because I’m fancy like that and actually didn’t realise I had added them on when I was booking- another needless expense, can you tell I’m really bad with money?).
Lets get to the main deal though, Santa. OH MY BLOODY GOD!!!!! ^^^^^ look at this guy. I think he actually is Santa. Where did you find this guy Fairmont?? I think he could be the best Santa I have ever seen, including the big man from Santa Clause the movie. The absolute joy on Lewis’ face as he sauntered down the hallway to the gingerbread house (Santas formal abode whilst in St Andrews). Being the ripe old age of 8, Lewis was teetering on the edge of belief. Well this has definitely bought us another year of magic. What made this even more special, Santa knew Lewis’ name before we even got within 5 steps of the house and greeted us with a warm and genuine smile. Charlotte, as you can see, was absolutely mesmerised and (unlike all our other Santa visits this year- dancing, parties etc) never even cried. The personalised Fairmont teddies were a lovely touch.
In terms of activities for kids, this place has it nailed. There was a craft room, arcade style games room complete with soft play, giant chess board (outdoors) and a great pool. All the restaurants also offered reasonable priced children menus with variety. The kids had an absolute blast.
The pool and spa was stunning. It was also dimly lit which was nice as I hadn’t bothered with a pre staycation diet and have been carrying an extra few tyres this season (clearly won’t be posting swim pics- monkey covers eyes emoji!). The showers has dispensers for shampoo, conditioner and body wash which was really helpful and they showers were really powerful. The changing rooms were clean, didn’t have soggy hairy floors and smelled nice. The pool area was clean, peaceful and well equip. There was the main pool, kids pool and a jacuzzi. There was also a steam/ sauna but unfortunately Steven and I didn’t really get a chance to enjoy that :(. I heard some people complain about having to book a slot but I preferred that because it wasn’t over crowed, the maintenance to keep it clean was clearly manageable and it was a good mix of family vibes but relaxing.
Food- because food is life!!!! We had booked for breakfast both mornings, a meal in the st Andrews Grill one night and the Italian the other night. All were excellent. Breakfast was on par with the likes of Cameron House (wish that place was still going, so sad!) with hot items, cereals, pancakes, omelette station and pastry area. Immense and the favourite part of my stay personally (pig face). The serving staff were also so attentive and offered hot drinks straight away. The hot chocolate with marshmallows in the breakfast lounge is da bomb!
We didn’t really eat lunch as we slept so late and had early dinners. however, Steven did order a BLT from the bar (food in there was a bit OTT pricey for a bar meal, even for a 5* hotel?!). It looked amazing though and Stevens smug face confirmed that it tasted just as nice. Huge portion.
Diner on the first night was amazing. We had the prawns to start, which were tasty. Followed by fillet steak with double cooked fries and soy and chill broccoli, which was so delicious. For desert I had sticky toffee pud which was quite nice but really heavy (possibly because I had gone wild on the started and main?). Our waiter, Max, was so professional and attentive. He took time out to show Lewis the telescope with views over the water and was brilliant with him. Dinner on the second night was the Italian. I had read some questionable reviews on this so was a bit nervous but I really shouldn’t have been. It was your standard pizza/ pasta set up but with nice touches. Great food, great staff and quick service. Brilliant.
One of the nicest things about this stay was that on Christmas morning, whilst we were at breakfast, housekeeping had been in and had taken away all our wrapping paper/ decanted boxes/ cardboard/ waste. I was absolutely ecstatic when I came back to that- totally never expected that at all (I actually forgot to leave a tip for housekeeping and feel so so bad because of that. Won’t forget next time!!!).
All in all, this was the best family short stay that we have had. The service was beyond expectations, the atmosphere/ decorations were magical and even the smallest details were on point. Really deserves its 5 star status. My only regret was that we didn’t get longer to explore as Im sure there was much more to explore at this world class resort.
Well done Fairmont, St Andrews and Scotland for possessing such a fine establishment catering for families. See you next year!!