The Donald… a polarising name. You get the feeling him purchasing the Turnberry in 2014 and slapping his name at the beginning doesn’t sit well with the locals. Even some members of staff say the Trump part with such disdain as if it ruins the name and heritage. Perhaps that’s down to the fact that Trump never actually wanted The Turnberry, he just wanted the golf course to add to his collection and could only get the course by acquiring the hotel. Nonetheless, when it comes to the acquisition of amazing properties he seems to know what he’s doing.
It’s an absolute horrendous drive from pretty much anywhere, if it isn’t wild B roads then it’s average speed cameras. When you do finally get over the brow of the final hill it isn’t just the breeze that hits you, the view is absolutely incredible.
Nestled away on the Southwest Scottish coast. When you’re there thought it seems ludicrous that the 803 Acres estate can be nestled. The nearest town, Ayr being 16 miles away and Glasgow, the nearest city 53 miles away certainly helps with the seclusion aspect.
As you come to the clubhouse the main hotel is revealed on your right. Grandeur in presence, it blows your preconceived ideas of wealth out of the water.
It would be of no surprise to hear either very positive or mediocre experiences. For me checking in was a mixed bag. It all starts before you even step foot in the hotel. The door staff are more than helpful whisking your luggage from your car to what will be your room.
With the weight of your baggage lifted you can start to unwind as you walk through the doors into the main lobby.
The upbeat members of staff are welcoming however, there needs to be more than 1 member of staff checking people in. On my first visit, it was extremely busy and I was surprised to be waiting a good 30 mins plus with no apology or anything to get fully checked in. At least it’s a nice seating area with fresh fruit water whilst you wait I suppose. On another stay, it was very quiet and I was checked in within a matter of moments.
P.S. It’s worth enquiring about upgrading your room when checking in, sometimes there are some very good prices.
Whether you’re waiting for your shuttle, other people to meet you or your other half to check you in, you’ll struggle to find a nicer environment to be waiting. Sitting there in the leather armchairs as the open fire roars away, don’t be surprised to find yourself arriving a little early just to be in said environment.
Set away from the main hotel you’ll find all the villas and apartments in their own little estate.
Taking a look at the Troon Villa, an entry-level room at The Turnberry I think one would be extremely disappointed and underwhelmed given the price and lack of pzaz. A quick search for a room next month comes in at £449!
The king-sized bed was like something out of an 80-year-olds house, I think they were going for the chic look but it just looks poor. Granted I didn’t sleep on it but again, £449 a night!
Onto the bathroom where the attempt to make give it a high end feel falls very short. It’s like they’ve had ideas of grandeur to match the main hotel and quality expected from the name, but didn’t want to spend the money to make it happen. Marble countertop and bath with the odd nice fitting and the rest is just bodged and looks awful.
One area Turnberry hasn’t skimped on, the toiletries. For the Harrods regulars, you’ll know the South American skincare and cosmetic brand Natura Bisse which come standard in all of Trump’s hotels.
The room itself is a fair size and would probably be handy if you found yourself there for a week or so. The drawback of a room that large is it dwarfs the TV which isn’t actually small (probably 50″).
Again with the “chic” desk, chic being code for a vulgar abomination. Though the furniture is poor, it is well equipped with plenty of power sockets, nice writing conditions and plenty of sockets be it power, internet, etc. Not ideal for putting a good 5-hour shift by any stretch of the imagination.
Deluxe Ocean View Room
Now, this is what you envision when someone mentions a Trump hotel. True luxury, elegance and class. Yes, this is a Deluxe Ocean View Room but it’s only 2 room categories above the villas and 1 up from the basic room in the main hotel. As you can see the decor is much nicer and this is the standard across all rooms in the main hotel.
The king sized bed looks rather regal and was heavenly to sleep in. A choice of 2 firm and 2 soft pillows with another 2 of each in the cupboard. Personally, I think the heavy duvet is apt given the location I don’t think you’ll have many hot nights and on a cold day it’s lovely. The bedside draws, like the bed, are solid hardwood and look stunning.
The 55″+ TV at the end of the bed is a nice touch but to be honest, I couldn’t tell you if it was 4K or not, never mind what channels there were. The 2 almost floor to ceiling windows flanking it meant the TV was never on, the views are incredible and without a shadow of a doubt worth paying for an upgrade if you booked a room without ocean views.
If you find your stay is in room 115 you’re in for a bit of a treat. The desk view is incredible and if you’re a writer/creative who can work at a desk it certainly gets the creative juices flowing. Alternatively, the pop-up mirror turns the desk into a great vanity unit with an abundance of beautiful natural light, weather dependant of course.
I’m not sure the wardrobe can be classed as a walk-in wardrobe, solely based on the fact that you walk into an entire room that contains nothing but wardrobes. I tell a lie, there’s a little stool to perch on for you to put your shoes on, again that comes with beautiful views out of the tall slender window.
Exquisite. One of the few words which relay my thoughts on the bathroom. From the artwork and dressing gown hanging on the wall to the vanity unit with matching floor tiles, there has been no expense spared. The freestanding bath draped in beautiful natural light is large enough for 2 and makes for a wonderful space to have a read with a glass of grand cuvée. If you’re in a rush, the stone enclosed shower which matches the floor tiles has a huge shower head with plenty of pressure.
Juniour Suite Ocean View
Should you be a little on the splashy side with cash, the Junior Suite Ocean View’s are exquisite.
Though you do pay a decent bit more than you do for a Deluxe Ocean View room, you still get the same King Sized bed. Perhaps it should be a superking? Regardless, it’s still a hell of a sleep.
Regarding practicalities such as lighting and sockets, you’ll find a plethora of charging points around the room all in convenient places. The lighting front is let down by the switches, there are loads of individually switched lights so it takes a good bit of switching to go dark, it would be nice to have fewer switches and for it to be in zones but hey.
You may have noticed that the ceiling height isn’t quite what it is in the Deluxe Ocean View Room, that’s because the above suite is located on the second floor whereas the Deluxe Ocean View Room was on the first floor. I think the tradeoff of extra views for slightly lower ceilings is worth it, each to their own though. If you find yourself gazing out of the window taking in the stunning coastal views, take a look down at the selection of glossy magazines or open up the top drawer make yourself a coffee, tea or write a letter on the rather cool stationery selection.
I’m led to believe the vanity unit is a godsend. With the built-in pop up mirror and hairdryer hidden inside along with another power socket for straighteners or curling wand, it appears to be extremely practical. Using it as a desk it’s easy to type away for several hours and still be in comfort.
A couple of articles in I discovered a flaw with the armchair and footrest. The chair itself I could spend many hours in as could many bookworms however it’s missing a little table to place your drink on. A tiny detail that has big consequences. Instead of being totally engrossed in what you’re reading, you have to get up every now and again to get your drink. Yes, this is me being finicky but it does matter.
Again with the bathroom, the same as the Deluxe Ocean View only bigger. One improvement I noticed is when you’ve fully pruned and it’s time to step out of the bath, you can reach across and grab a soft warm towel from the heated towel rails. Whilst on the towel situation, regardless of the room you book, there’s always a towel rail conveniently located on the side of the vanity unit right next to the shower door.
The Stevenson Lighthouse Suite
- in need of a 2 bedroom suite
- a fan of Ronda Armitage’ work
- obscenely wealthy
- or simply want isolation
you can book your stay in a lighthouse…
Just like with the main hotel, the 1.3-mile drive to get to the secluded lighthouse is astonishingly beautiful, regardless of the weather. Situated at the end of world-renowned The Ailsa’s 9th hole means every now and again you may see the odd golfer
As you walk through the front door, getting rid of your jackets on the coat rack the ridiculously large living room greets you. The warm muted colours do a great job of making the vast space feel cosy, that and the heating being on whilst it’s monsoon season outside means there really isn’t a better environment to binge-watch the latest box set on Netflix. Looking at the above picture you’re probably thinking the TV is a little on the smaller size to attempt to rattle off a full season of something, it’s about 80″ the room just dwarfs it.
Try this one on for size. Regardless of the weather take a mid-day stroll along the coast, setting off and returning to the Lighthouse suite. When you get back get seated at the desk which is kitted out with beautiful stationery and grab a complimentary postcard. Write one out to someone you know. Yes, very old fashioned but apt for the environment and vibes the suite and coastline give.
When evening time comes around the fully stocked drinks cabinet comes in handy should you want to snuggle up on the sofa with a glass in hand. The hefty solid wood dining table seats 4 very comfortably however you won’t be doing any cooking. The ground floor comprises of the entrance hall and living room, that’s it so no kitchen. For food, you call the concierge and put your food order in and it all gets delivered, cutlery and all.
Walking up the winding staircase, you get to the 2 bedrooms and I still can’t figure out which is supposed to be the main and which is supposed to be the guest room. On the right of the landing is the first room fitted with a luxurious super-king bed, huge curved 4K TV and views that are novel inspiring.
Should the views out of the window not be good enough, you can unlock the thick double doors and walk out onto the patio terrace. It isn’t private due to it looking onto the golf course but its a big space to make use of on a sunny day or a clear night when you can see the stars.
Onto the bathroom where it is very much “Trump”. Thick heavy marble slabs and gold fittings which don’t come across well in photos but in person is very nice and luxurious. His and her sinks are situated in front of a large heated mirror should you get all steamy. Again, a full selection of toiletries from Natura Bisse can be replenished daily if you so require.
The bath with a view and what a view! On a winters day when the weather is “Scottish” a deep warm bath and a book with the occasional look out the left window at the choppy Firth of Clyde or on a summers evening watching the sunset. The window on the right in the dead of night without a cloud in the sky the northern lights provide one of natures beautiful shows over the ruins of Turnberry Castle. The bath its self is plenty big enough for 2, doesn’t take that long to fill, and with the rolled curved ends makes for a pleasant experience.
Finally, the walk-in shower rounds off the en suite and again, no scrimping here. Its probably large enough for 5 people and what I like is it’s fully sealed off with the door, meaning you take your towel in with you and once you’ve been in there for 5 mins or so, when you come to turn the shower off, all the heat stays in there whilst you get dry.
If you were to have turned left on the landing you’d be in the second bedroom which is quite a bit larger in length. Still, the same super comfy Super King, 4K Curved TV, etc only this time south-facing windows perfectly frame the magnificent coastline views as real-life landscape art.
Due to the extra length, a pair of armchairs and a coffee table set at the foot of the bed. Handy for when you watch the news in the morning whilst consuming a hot chocolate.
Much is also the same with the En Suite only the difference being a south and west view out of the left and right windows respectively. As you can see the showerhead isn’t what you’d expect, A shower room that size should have a huge ceiling-mounted showerhead, instead, a relatively small shower head for 1. It is a very classy look and functions well, just not what I’d expect for a shower room of that size.
Exiting the air-conditioned silent bedroom onto the terrace is a magnificent shock to the senses. On a winters day the sound of the waves crashing against the rocky coastline and the fresh breeze transport you to somewhere a million miles away from the room you have just stepped out of.
On a summers day, you could easily spend hours out there watching the world go by. Almost like being on a boat out at sea without any chance of being motion sick. There is a bit of outdoor furniture, it isn’t the cleanest but in fairness, it’s “in the elements” all year round.
Rumour has it, Trump didn’t actually want to buy the hotel, he wanted the golf course to add to his collection of some of the worlds best courses. The previous owners wouldn’t sell him just the courses so he bought the hotel as well. Naturally then, the clubhouse, the epicentre of what Trump deemed to be the most valuable asset is rather well kitted out.
The Duel in the Sun is Trump Turnberry’s clubhouse restaurant and it almost appears to be its own entity. Consider it a bar meal environment, albeit perhaps the nicest one you will go to. The reason I say it may be its own entity is due to the service or lack thereof. Ordering a simple 2 courses, main and dessert took close to 2 hours… The kicker being that there were only a hand full of tables being used.
My recommendation would have been to include a Sunday night stay in your booking or at the very least a late check out on a Sunday to experience the astonishing Sunday roast. For reason unbeknownst to me, they have removed it from the menu which is a real shame. The standard of food has fallen off a cliff recently. If it isn’t the wrong food, it’s cold, like I say, perhaps it’s a separate entity to the hotel.
If you’re keen for a round, the locker rooms, just like the hotel, are superb and are more akin to a luxury spa than a golf course. During a revamp however they lost a little of their charm in the removal of names. You see when Turnberry hosted The Open back in 2009 every player was assigned a locker and on said locker, their name was etched into a plaque. Those plaques stayed for quite some time so you could have Sergio Garcia’s locker or Ernie Els. I won’t go into the courses as that’ll be its own post, but YAAASSSSSS!!!!
Once all is said and done and you’ve finished up at the clubhouse you can have one of the porters drive you back up to the hotel or out to the lighthouse. Being shuttled around in Mercedes is a nice touch made better by the fact they’re complimentary.
Whether you’re one for a nightcap or an afternoon of drinking you’ll be well taken care of with a vast selection of drinks. Though it goes without saying the latter would require a decent wedge of cash especially when you consider some drams will set you back four figures…
Real talk, it really isn’t a cheap stay but I can honestly say it’s worth the money (Perhaps a special occasion). I think you’d struggle to find a better hotel in the UK, well I haven’t yet. It’s beautiful and staffed by people who have worked there some well over 20 years. Their attention to detail and willingness to sort ANYTHING is second to none. If you are thinking of a stay, stay well clear of the villas and make sure you’re in the main hotel. There is a spa you can access from the main hotel but I’ve yet to use it. Book a stay and prepare to have your socks blown off. Just avoid the Duel In The Sun restaurant.